A review of pears (Pyrus spp.), ancient functional food for modern times

Sung Yong Hong, Ephraim Lansky, Sam Sog Kang, Mihi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Pears have been world-widely used as a sweet and nutritious food and a folk medicine for more than two millennia. Methods: We conducted a review from ancient literatures to current reports to extract evidence-based functions of pears. Results: We found that pears have many active compounds, e.g., flavonoids, triterpenoids, and phenolic acids including arbutin, chlorogenic acid, malaxinic acid, etc. Most of researchers agree that the beneficial compounds are concentrated in the peels. From various in vitro, in vivo, and human studies, the medicinal functions of pears can be summarized as anti-diabetic,-obese, −hyperlipidemic, −inflammatory, −mutagenic, and -carcinogenic effects, detoxification of xenobiotics, respiratory and cardio-protective effects, and skin whitening effects. Therefore, pears seem to be even effective for prevention from Covid-19 or PM2.5 among high susceptible people with multiple underlying diseases. Conclusion: For the current or post Covid-19 era, pears have potential for functional food or medicine for both of communicable and non-communicable disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number219
JournalBMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We appreciate help of Dr. Sang-Woo Ahn at Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine for the English archives of Korean pears in DongUiBoGam and of our excellent students, Suah Kim and Daeun Lee at College of Pharmacy, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea, and Ji Myung Kim, Jieun Lee, Jacqueline Park, and Jiwan Park, at School of Pharmacy, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, USA, for paper screening.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Arbutin
  • Detoxification
  • fiber
  • Flavonoids
  • Medicinal function
  • Pears

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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