Background: The roots of Polygonum multiflorum (PM) are a well-known traditional Chinese
medicine, widely used to treat a variety of conditions in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan and other countries.
It is known that Polygoni Multiflori Radix Praeparata (PMRP) may enhance the efficacy and reduce the
toxicity of PM. However, reports of adverse reactions, such as hepatotoxicity, caused by PM or PMRP, have
continuously appeared around the world, which increased the known risks of the medication and gradually
gained the extensive attention of many researchers. The chemical constituents of PM that cause hepatotoxicity
have not been distinctly elucidated using the traditional phytochemical screening. Recently, with the rapid development
of metabolomics, there has been a growing need to explore the potential hepatotoxic components
and mechanisms of PM.
Methods: The metabolites and metabolomics of PM were searched by the Web of Science, PubMed, Google
scholar and some Chinese literature databases.
Results: A brief description of metabolites and metabolomics of PM is followed by a discussion on the metabolite-
induced toxicity in this review. More than 100 metabolites were tentatively identified and this will contribute
to further understanding of the potential hepatotoxic components of PM. Meanwhile, some toxic compounds
were identified and could be used as potential toxic markers of PM.
Conclusion: This review mainly outlines the metabolites and metabolomics of PM that have been identified in
recent years. This study could help to clarify the potential hepatotoxic components and metabolic mechanisms
of PM and provide a scientific reference for its safe clinical use in the future.