Most Rubus species (family Rosaceae) represent a so far poorly explored source
of plant products with a high potential of pharmacological/nutraceutical value (antioxidant,
anti-microbial, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, etc.) due to the content of
phenolic compounds and flavonoids.
Rubus ulmifolius Schott is a perennial shrub widely distributed at forest borders and uncultivated
fields. Leaves and young shoots are used in folk medicine for several interesting properties
such as anti-inflammatory, anti-odontalgic, antimicrobial and gastrointestinal spasmolytic
properties. Fruits (fresh or derivate products) contribute to a healthy diet for their effects
in preventing metabolic syndrome at different levels such as cardiovascular disease and
type II diabetes.
Here we report an overview of R. ulmifolius and an update of the most recent findings about
its phytochemical composition and properties. Standardization of herbal preparations of R.
ulmifolius as well as further studies to assess the complex chemical composition of R. ulmifolius
bioactive compounds (metabolic profiling) are needed. In the future, novel in vitro approaches
(i.e. plant cell, tissue cultures, etc.) together with metabolic engineering approaches
might be explored as possible alternatives to cultivated or wild plants for a deeper
exploitation of the whole biochemical potential of this plant species.