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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 636194, 16 pages
Review Article

A Review of the Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Activities of Raphani Semen

1Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
2State Key Laboratory of Chinese Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology, 518057 Shenzhen, China
3Food Safety and Technology Research Centre, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Received 3 February 2013; Revised 9 May 2013; Accepted 23 May 2013

Academic Editor: Muhammad Nabeel Ghayur

Copyright © 2013 Tung-Ting Sham et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The dried ripe seed of Raphanus sativus L., commonly known as radish seed (or Raphani Semen), is used as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat constipation, chronic tracheitis, and hypertension. The major active compounds in Raphani Semen are alkaloids, glucosinolates, brassinosteroids, and flavonoids. Fatty acids are its main nutritional contents. Raphani Semen has been demonstrated to have beneficial effects on hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, constipation, and cough. So far, there is no report about the adverse/toxic effects of this herb on humans. However, Raphani Semen processed by roasting was reported to exhibit some adverse effects on mice. Additionally, erucic acid, the main fatty acid in Raphani Semen, was shown to enhance the toxicity of doxorubicin. Thus, Raphani Semen has a potential risk of causing toxicity and drug interaction. In summary, Raphani Semen is a valuable TCM herb with multiple pharmacological effects. More studies on Raphani Semen could help better understand its pharmacological mechanisms so as to provide clear scientific evidence to explain its traditional uses, to identify its therapeutic potential on other diseases, and to understand its possible harmful effects.