Background: Nitidine is a bioactive plant benzophenanthridine alkaloid isolated from the root of Zanthoxylum
nitidum. Since its discovery in 1959, literature revealed marked anticancer, neuroprotective, antimalarial,
anti-HIV, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antifungal activities. However, its clinical status is not defined yet.
Methods: Various scientific search engines were used for the available literature All the peer-reviewed journals were
considered in this review. MOE (molecular operating environment) ligand-based pharmacophores features of nitidine
were also studied to determine the various targeted sites in the molecule.
Results: The search revealed an outstanding therapeutic potential in terms of various pharmacological effects of the
molecule. MOE (Molecular Operating Environment) ligand-based pharmacophores features of nitidine showed that it
has got multiple bioactive functional sites that implicate its sensitivity towards several receptors protein and therefore
could be a useful lead compound. Despite having an outstanding therapeutic potential, it is not subjected to clinical
trial yet, probably, due to host toxicity and being a quaternary salt, charged at all body pH values, and therefore,
absorption through the gastro-intestinal-tract could be an issue.
Conclusion: The issues can be resolved while applying latest pharmaceutical technologies, synthesizing its derivatives
and subsequent clinical studies and thus could lead to the discovery of new clinically effective molecule(s).