Download (direct link):
nepetalactone , ....
Paeoniflonn, a monoterpene glucoside, is a major
constituent found in the Chinese herb Paeonia lactiflora
(Ranunculaceae). The herb is antiinflammatory, sedative,
antipyretic and antispasmodic (Huang 1993].
These 15C compounds occur mainly as ingredients of essential oils or as “/-lactones. They are thought to have evolved as phytoalexins or antifeedants, compounds synthesized by plants as a response to fungal attack and herbivore grazing [Cronquist 1988; Bruneton 1995].
Gossypol from the cotton plant Gossypium herbaceum (Malvaceae) is a sesquiterpene dimer, consisting of two bonded napthalene-like structures.
Gossypol has been used in China as an antifertility agent in men. It is thought to act primarily on the testicular mitochondria, by inhibiting Ca+ uptake at
the presynaptic endings [Huang 1993]. Despite the high efficacy (> 99%) of gossypol its long term use as an infertility agent is limited by undesireable side effects which include irreversible infertility [Hamburger & Hostettmann 1991].
Oil derived from the German chamomille - Chamomilla recutita (Asteraceae) contains the blue coloured sesquiterpene chamazulene as well as the antiinflammatory compounds, bisabolol and bisabolol oxides.
These bitter compounds contain 3,000 different structures. Although they can be found in a few fungi and other Angiosperm families such as Apiaceae and Lauraceae, they are most characteristic of herbs of the Asteraceae family [Bruneton 1995]. They tend to concentrate in the leaves and flowers, often as mixtures of several related compounds (Harborne & Baxter 1993]. The suffix “olide" indicates the presence of a lactone group.
Several Asteraceous medicinal plants and their main sesquiterpene ingredient are listed below:
Achillea millefolia- achillin Inula helenium - alantolactone Artemisia annua - absinthin Cnicus benedictus- cnicin Arnica montana - helenalin Tanacetum parthenium - parthenolide
Antiinflammatory - helenalin
Antitumor - parthenolide, helenalin
[Rodriguez et al. 1976]. Stomachic - cnicin, absinthin
Antibiotic - alanolactone [Boatto et al 1994].
Migrane preventative - parthenolide
Allergic contact dermatitis
Numerous sesquiterpene lactone containing plants of the Asteraceae are known to cause contact dermatitis in humans. In a recent case a patient developed acute dermatitis of the right hand with severe blistering following a single application of Arnica tincture [Hormann & Korting 1995]. The presence of a a-methylene group in the chemical structure is thought to be a pre-requisite for production of dermatitis [Rodriguez et al. 1976).
These are the most bitter tasting of all terpenoid compounds, responsible for the acclaimed stomachic and tonic properties of herbs such as marrubiin in horehound
- Marrubium vulgare (Lamiaceae) and calumbin from calumba - Jatrorrhiza palmara (Berberidaceae).
Diterpenes tend to be most abundant in the Lamiaceae family, eg. Salvia officinalis or common sage which has antiviral diterpenes [Tada et al. 1994]. Some diterpenes have been found to have profound effects for a range of medical disorders. They include:
Pacific Yew - Taxus baccata (Taxaceae). Prescription drug for ovarian cancer and other tumors [Lenaz & De Furia 1993]. The antimitotic effect is thought to be related to the interaction of taxol with the tubulin-microtubule system [Hamburger & Hostettmann 19911.
Coleus forskohlii (Lamiaceae). Vasodilatory; antihypertensive; bronchodilatory; positive inotropic action on heart; decreases intraocular pressure; inhibits platelet aggregation [Hamburger & Hostettmann 1991; Bruneton 1995].
Andrographis paniculata (Acanthaceae). Antihepatoxic [Chander et al. 1995].
Triterpenoid compounds are derived from а Сзо precursor, squalene, which was first isolated from shark liver [Bruneton 1995]. They have similar configurations to steroids (found in plants and animals) whose C27 skeletons are also derived from squalene.
The triterpenoids are a large and diverse group made up of several sub-classes:
triterpenoid notations! system
Sterols such as stigmasterol and sitosterol are essential
components of cell membranes, and they are also used as JL / I
the starting material in the production of steroidal drugs. p ^
attached at C3 and an extra methyl or ethyl substituent in the side chain which is not present in animal sterols [Harborne & Baxter 1993].
Phytosterols are minor but beneficial components of the human diet since they may inhibit growth of tumors and help in regulation of blood cholesterol. Therapeutically they are important constituents of the following herbs:
Withania somniferum (Solanaceae), known as ashwaganda in Ayurvedic medicine, contains steroidal lactones called withanolides which exhibit antitumor and hepatoprotective activities.