Background: Leaves of Spinacia oleracea have been widely used as vegetarian foods.
Some studies on the chemical composition of spinach have shown that it contains a high content of micronutrients
(vitamins and minerals), and has an important economic value with some agronomic advantages.
S. oleracea in traditional medicine is reported to cure more than one health problem.
Objective: This review focuses on the ethnopharmacological uses and pharmacological and phytochemical
studies of Spinacia oleracea.
Methods: Information on S. oleracea was obtained via electronic search of scientific databases such as
Scopus, PubMed, Google Scholar, Scirus, Science Direct, Scielo, Web of Science, Medline, Springerlink,
BioMed Central (BMC), and SciFinder for publications on this plant. In addition, books on medicinal
herbs were also consulted.
Results: Approximately 100 chemical compounds were isolated and characterized from S. oleracea.
The major active components of the plant are flavones, flavanols, methylenedioxyflavonol glucuronides,
glucuronides, and carotenoids, which were extensively investigated. This review revealed potential
pharmacological properties of these isolated compounds such as anti-obesity, anti-α-amylase, bileacid
binding capacity, anti-mutagenic, anti-oxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, cognitive and mood
effect, hypoglycemic, and anti-hypertriglyceridemia.
Conclusion: S. oleracea is an important edible plant also used for ethnomedical therapy of obesity, inflammation
of lungs, lumbago, flatulence, and treatment of urinary calculi. Pharmacological and phytochemical
studies of this plant including bioactives, which have been adequately studied, support its
uses in traditional medicine. Additionally, prospects and future trends of this plant are proposed.