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ISSN 2278- 4136 ZDB-Number: 2668735-5 IC Journal No: 8192 Volume 1 Issue 6 Online Available at www.phytojournal.


Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry Phytochemistry of Medicinal Plants
Mamta Saxena*1, Jyoti Saxena1, Rajeev Nema2, Dharmendra Singh2 and Abhishek Gupta2 1. 2. Sarojini Naidu Government Girls Post Graduate (Autonomous) College, Shivaji Nagar, Bhopal - 462016 (M.P.), India. [E-mail:] Center for Microbiology & Bio-Technology Research and Training, Bhopal, India

Medicinal plants are a rich source of bioactive phytochemicals or bionutrients. Studies carried out during the past 2– 3 decades have shown that these phytochemicals have an important role in preventing chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease. The major classes of phytochemicals with disease-preventing functions are dietary fibre, antioxidants, anticancer, detoxifying agents, immunity-potentiating agents and neuropharmacological agents. Each class of these functional agents consists of a wide range of chemicals with differing potency. Some of these phytochemicals have more than one function. There is, however, much scope for further systematic research in screening Indian medicinal plants for these phytochemicals and assessing their potential in protecting against different types of diseases Keyword: Phytochemicals, Alkaloids, Terpenoids, Flavonoids, Saponins, Tannins and Phenolics.

1. Introduction Phytochemicals (from the Greek word phyto, meaning plant) are biologically active, naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants, which provide health benefits for humans further than those attributed to macronutrients and micronutrients[1]. They protect plants from disease and damage and contribute to the plant’s color, aroma and flavor. In general, the plant chemicals that protect plant cells from environmental hazards such as pollution, stress, drought, UV exposure and pathogenic attack are called as phytochemicals[2,3]. Recently, it is clearly known that they have roles in the protection of human health, when their dietary intake is significant. More than 4,000 phytochemicals have been cataloged[4] and are classified by protective function, physical characteristics and chemical characteristics[5] and About 150 phytochemicals have been studied in detail[4].
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In wide-ranging dietary phytochemicals are found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fungi, herbs and spices[3]. Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, whole wheat bread, tomatoes, grapes, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, beans, legumes, and soy foods are common sources[6]. Phytochemicals accumulate in different parts of the plants, such as in the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits or seeds7. Many phytochemicals, particularly the pigment molecules, are often concentrated in the outer layers of the various plant tissues. Levels vary from plant to plant depending upon the variety, processing, cooking and growing conditions[8]. Phytochemicals are also available in supplementary forms, but evidence is lacking that they provide the same health benefits as dietary phytochemicals[4]. These compounds are known as secondary plant metabolites and have biological properties
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There are more than thousand known and many unknown phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are not essential nutrients and are not required by the human body for sustaining life. The Journey of Medicinal Plant Research An assessment of the previous trends and impact of research into the phytochemistry on medicinal plants of the world is quite desirable before considering recent trends. Many of these benefits suggest a possible role for phytochemicals in the prevention and treatment of disease. Peletier & 1920. Vol. Fig. Emphasis shifted away from plant derived drugs with the tremendous development of synthetic pharmaceutical chemistry and microbial fermentation after 1945. After centuries of empirical use of herbal preparation. however. The purpose of the present review is to provide an overview of the extremely diverse phytochemicals presents in medicinal plants. modulation of detoxification enzymes. the efficacy of a good number of phytopharmaceutical preparations. 1 No. It is well-known that plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves. which were more powerful and easier to prescribe and administer11.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry such as antioxidant activity. In the mid-nineteenth century.phytojournal. Ecological awareness. stimulation of the immune system. With the development of chemical science and pharmacognosy physicians began to extract chemical products from medicinal plants. such as ginkgo. decrease of platelet aggregation and modulation of hormone metabolism and anticancer property. However. quinine was isolated from Cinchona by the French . strychnine.1: Phytochemistry of medicinal plants. antimicrobial effect. quinine etc. the value of medicinal plants is being rediscovered as some of them have proved to be Page | 169 www. a German chemist. Because of this property. Plant metabolites were mainly investigated from a phytochemical and chemotaxonomic viewpoint during this period. With the active principles in medicinal plants identified and isolated. interest in drugs of plant and probably animal origin has grown steadily[10]. 6 2013 2. A few examples of the products extracted from medicinal plants are . garlic or valerian and increased interest of major pharmaceutical companies in higher medicinal plants as sources for new lead structures has been the main reasons for this renewal of interest. the first isolation of active principles alkaloids such as morphine. Utilization of medicinal plants has almost doubled in Western Europe during that period. Over the last decade. because of the numerous side effects of these drugs. many researchers have been performed to reveal the beneficial health effects of phytochemicals. but have important properties to prevent or to fight some common diseases. in the early 19th century marked a new era in the use of medicinal plants and the beginning of modern medicinal plants research. but recent researches demonstrate that many phytochemicals can also protect human against diseases[9]. Phytomedicine almost went into extinction during the first half of the 21st century due to the use of the ‘more powerful and potent synthetic drug’. Hoffmann obtained Aspirin from the bark of the willow. plant-based prescriptions began to be substituted more and more with pure substances.

hemicellulose. inhibitors of tumourogenesis Polyphenolic compounds. reduce the risk of fungal infection Oxygen free radical quenching. and macular degeneration[4]. an individual compound may have more than one biological function serving as both an antioxidant and antibacterial agent13. Biological Activities of Phytochemicals The phytochemicals present in plants are responsible for preventing disease and promoting health have been studied extensively to establish their efficacy and to understand the underlying mechanism of their action. phenols. delay in nutrient absorption. retinoids. normalizing blood pressure and clotting. establishment of their biological potency both by in vitro and in vivo studies in experimental animals and through epidemiological and clinical-case control studies in man. cyanates. indoles. They appear to neutralize free radicals. cancer chemoprevention Vol. Anticancer Detoxifying Agents Reductive acids. phytosterols Alkaloids. Phytochemicals have also been promoted for the prevention and treatment of diabetes. reducing the synthesis or absorption of cholesterol. biogenic amines flavor Other Neuropharmacological agents. alkaloids. genistein prevents the formation of new capillaries that are needed for tumor growth and metastasis[5]. lignins Terpenoids. mucilages. terpenoids. carotenoids. high blood pressure. Bioactive and Diseasepreventing phytochemicals present in plant are shown in Table 1. aromatic isothiocyanates. tocopherols.) Antibacterial Antifungal Antioxidants & Main groups of compounds Cellulose. inducers of drug binding of carcinogens. Flavonoids polyphenols.phytojournal. Study findings suggest that phytochemicals may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by preventing the oxidation of lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Such studies have included identification and isolation of the chemical components. flavones. flavonoids. inhibited development of lung cancer. Table 1. and activate enzymes that detoxify carcinogens. tocopherols. Bioactive Phytochemicals In Medicinal Plants. phenolics Biological function Water holding capacity.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry as effective as synthetic medicines with fewer or no side effects and contraindications. It has been proved that although the effects of natural remedies may seem slower. Classification NSA (Non-starch polysaccharides.13]. volatile compounds. For example. inhibit enzymes that activate carcinogens. Phytochemicals may detoxify substances that cause cancer. carotenoids. anti. inhibition of lipid peroxidation Inhibitors of tumor. gums. and improving arterial elasticity[3. curcumine. binding toxins and bile acids Inhibitors of micro-organisms. 3. pectins. the results are sometimes better on the long run especially in chronic diseases[12].oxidants. The physiologic properties of relatively few phytochemicals are well understood and more many research has focused on their possible role in preventing or treating cancer and heart disease[3]. 1 No. While phytochemicals are classified by function. Page | 170 . 6 2013 www. anti-metastatic activity Inhibitors of procarcinogen activation. ascorbic acid Carotenoids. according to data summarized by Meagher and Thomson.

Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 4. Phenolic compounds are a large and complex group of chemical constituents found in plants[15]. and are characterized by hydroxylated aromatic rings[17].2: Pie chart representing the major groups of plant Phytochemicals. amino acids. tumour cells. Flavonoids are the largest group of plant phenols and the most studied[16]. because of the wide variety of them. Phenolics Phenolic phytochemicals are the largest category of phytochemicals and the most widely distributed in the plant kingdom. 1 No. flavonoids. plant steroids. 5. Phenolic acids The term “phenolic acids”. They are plant secondary metabolites. Other 10% Terpenoi ds & Steroids 27% Alkaloids 18% Phenolics 45% Fig. Hydroxycinnamic acid compounds are produced as simple esters with glucose or hydroxy carboxylic acids. Primary constituents include the common sugars. (Figure 2).com Page | 171 . designates phenols that possess one carboxylic acid functional group. and they have an important role as defence compounds. such as cardiovascular diseases. chlorophyll’s etc. Phenolic polymers. lignans. purines and pyrimidines of nucleic acids. emphasizing both the direct intake through food consumption and the indirect bioavailability deriving by gastric. proteins. typically have higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) than normal cells so that they are particularly sensitive to oxidative stress[18]. and polyphenols. including leukaemia cells. Classification of Phytochemicals The exact classification of phytochemicals could have not been performed so far. These compounds have been studied mainly for their properties against oxidative damage leading to various degenerative diseases. Plant phenolic compounds are different in molecular structure. Literature survey indicate that phenolics are the most numerous and structurally diverse plant phytocontituents. Naturally occurring phenolic acids contain two distinctive carbon frameworks: the hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic structures (Figure3).phytojournal. Phenol (C6H5OH) is considered the simplest class of this group of natural compounds. intestinal and hepatic metabolism[19]. The three most important groups of dietary phenolics are flavonoids. terpenes. Secondary constituents are the remaining plant chemicals such as alkaloids. Phenolic are hydroxyl group (-OH) containing Vol. are compounds of high molecular weight that are divided into two classes: hydrolyzable and condensed tannins. In resent year Phytochemicals are classified as primary or secondary constituents. Indeed. depending on their role in plant metabolism. phenolics. inflammation and cancer. phenolic acids. commonly known as tannins. 6 2013 www. flavonoids and glucosides[14]. class of chemical compounds where the (-OH) bonded directly to an aromatic hydrocarbon group. Phenolic acids form a diverse group that includes the widely distributed hydroxybenzoic and hydroxycinnamic acids. curcumines. 6. in general. phenolics exhibit several properties beneficial to humans and its antioxidant properties are important in determining their role as protecting agents against free radical-mediated disease processes. saponins. Many papers and reviews describe studies on bioavailability of phenolic acids.

Flavonoids are ubiquitous Page | 172 www. antiinflammatory. 8.C1-C6 .C3-C6)n In addition Phenolic acid compounds and functions have been the subject of a great number of agricultural. fruits and beverages like tea. 9 10 13 14 15 18 30 N C6-C3 C6-C4 C6. 7 8 C6-C1 C6-C2 4. Flavonoids Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds that are ubiquitous in nature. biological. alcohols. for instance. and their use has persisted up to now. 1 No. Phenolic acid compounds and functions have been the subject of a great number of agricultural. 5. chemical and medical studies. reduces blood cholesterol and lipid levels and antimicrobial activity against some strains of bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus are some of biological activities of phenolic acids[21]. 7.C3-C6 (C6. 6 2013 natural compounds such as sterols.C2-C6 C6. cytotoxic and antitumor. biological.C3)2 (C6. the importance of antioxidant activities of phenolic compounds and their potential usage in processed foods as a natural antioxidant compounds has reached a new level and some evidence suggests that the biological actions of these compounds are related to their antioxidant activity[20]. 6. coffee and fruit drinks[24]. antioxidant22.C3-C6 ) 2 (C6. 9. glucosides and hydroxyfatty acids.N. phenolic acids may arise in food plants as glycosides or esters with other Vol. More than 4. and antidepressant activities[23]. 6. 5.000 flavonoids have been recognised. 1. Increases bile secretion. antispasmodic. Moreover. 10. The flavonoids appear to have played a major role in successful medical treatments of ancient times. In recent years.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry Table 2: The Major Classes of Phenolic Compounds in Plants S. Coumarins Naphthoquinones Xanthones Stilbenes Flavonoids Lignans Bioflavonoids Condensed tannins 2. antiulcer. Varied biological activities of phenolic acids were reported. Phenolics acid possesses diverse biological activities. 11. 3. Number of carbon atom 6 Basic skeleton C6 Class Simple phenols Benzoquinones Phenolic acids Acetophenones Tyrosine derivatives Hydroxycinnamic acid.1 Activity of Phenolic Acids Phenolic compounds are famous group of secondary metabolites with wide pharmacological activities. chemical and medical studies. Phenolic compounds in many plants are polymerized into larger molecules such as the proanthocyanidins (PA. condensed tannins) and lignins. many of which occur in vegetables.

The capacity of flavonoids to act as antioxidants Vol. may be characterized as monoglycosidic. galactose or [26] arabinose . Small amount of aglycones (i. The position of the benzenoid substituent divides the flavonoids into two classes: flavone (2-position) and isoflavone (3position). etc.e. 1 No.phytojournal. flavonoids without attached sugar) are frequently present and occasionally represent a considerably important proportion of the total flavonoid compounds in the Page | 173 . Structures of the important naturally occurring phenolic acids. diglycosidic. Gallic acid [4] and Hydroxycinnamic aid are Cinnamic acid [5]. anti- inflammatory as well as antitumor activities but the best-described property of almost every group of flavonoids is their capacity to act as powerful antioxidants which can protect the human body from free radicals and reactive oxygen species. glucorhamnose. 6. glucosides and methylated derivatives. More than 4000 flavonoids have been described so far within the parts of plants normally consumed by humans and approximately 650 flavones and 1030 flavanols are known[25]. Sinapic acid [7] and Caffeic acid [8]. 6 2013 www. The glycosidic linkage is normally located at position 3 or 7 and the carbohydrate unit can be L-rhamnose.. The six-membered ring condensed with the benzene ring is either -pyrone (flavones and flavonols ) or its dihydroderivative (flavanones and flavan-3-ols ). Fig. represents major flavonoids’ structures. Vailinilic acid [3]. within any one class.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry among vascular plants and occur as aglycones. Dglucose. Most flavonoids occur naturally associated with sugar in conjugated form and. cytotoxicity. 3. COOH COOH OH COOH COOH OCH OH HO 3 OH OH [1 ] COOH [2 ] COOH [3 ] COOH [4 ] COOH OCH OH 3 OH OH H 3 CO OH OCH 3 [5 ] [6 ] [7 ] [8 ] Hydroxybenzoic acid are Benzoic acid [1]. Figure 4. Salicylic acid [2].1 Activity of Flavonoids Flavonoids have gained recent attention because of their broad biological and pharmacological activities in these order Flavonoids have been reported to exert multiple biological property including antimicrobial. Ferulic acid [6].

such as carbohydrates. oestrogenic activity.35. catechin-. anti-allergic activity. www.c h r o m e n -3 -o l F la v a n -3 -o ls O + 3-Hydroxy-2-phenyl chromenylium OH Anthocyanidine or Flavylium salt Fig. vascular activity and cytotoxic antitumor activity[27]. and condensed tannins[34. etc[31.32. nucleic acids and minerals. and do not contain a glycosidically linked catechin unit. pectin. lipids and DNA[28] . etc. alkaloids.4.33]. The position of hydroxyl groups and other features in the chemical structure of flavonoids are important for their antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities. enzyme inhibition.30]. (1) Gallotannins are all those tannins in which galloyl units or their meta-depsidic derivatives are bound to diverse polyol-. antimicrobial activity. (2) Ellagitannins are those tannins in which at least two galloyl units are C–C coupled to each other. 6 2013 groups: Gallotannins. On the basis of their structural characteristics it is therefore possible to divide the tannins into four major Vol. ellagitannins. Chemical structures of some representative flavonoids. or triterpenoid units. It might be said that the tannins are a heterogeneous group of high molecular weight polyphenolic compounds with the capacity to form reversible and irreversible complexes with proteins (mainly). complex tannins. O O O OH O O O 2 -p h enyl-ch ro m en -4 -o n e F lav o n e s 3-H ydro xy-2 -p h enyl-ch ro m en4-o n e F lav an ol 2 -ph en yl-ch ro m en -4 -o ne F lav an o n e O O O OH O O OH 3 -H y d ro x y -2 -p h e n y l ch ro m en -4 -o n e F la v a n o n o l 3 -p h e n y l-c h ro m e n -4 -o n e Is o fla v o n e 2 -p h e n y l. Flavonoids constitute a wide range of substances that play important role in protecting biological systems against the harmful effects of oxidative processes on macromolecules. 1 No. containing anti-inflammatory activity.phytojournal. antioxidant activity. On the other hand flavonoids such as luteolin and cathechins.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry depends upon their molecular structure. are better antioxidants than the nutrients antioxidants such as vitamin C. polysaccharides (cellulose. Page | 174 .). proteins. Tannin From a chemical point of view it is difficult to define tannins since the term encompasses some very diverse oligomers and polymers[29. vitamin E and β-carotene. Flavonoids have been stated to possess many useful properties.36] (Figure 5). 7.

sorghum. as antioxidants in the fruit juice. plants. Tannins are used in the dyestuff industry as caustics for cationic dyes (tannin dyes). legume trees like Acacia spp. In the food industry tannins are used to clarify wine. especially due to the increased incidence of deadly illnesses such as AIDS and various cancers+42].e. in grasses i.. Alkaloids Alkaloids are natural product that contains heterocyclic nitrogen atoms. and also in the production of inks (iron gallate ink).5. Alkaloids are naturally synthesis by a large numbers of organisms.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry (3) Complex tannins are tannins in which a catechin unit is bound glycosidically to a gallotannin or an ellagitannin unit. Some of the fires natural products to be Vol. chocolate. Sesbania spp.phytojournal. 1 No.44]. The search for new lead compounds for the development of novel pharmaceuticals has become increasingly important. persimmon. Other industrial uses of tannins include textile dyes. tea. etc[37]. including animals. (4) Condensed tannins are all oligomeric and polymeric proanthocyanidins formed by linkage of C-4 of one catechin with C-8 or C-6 of the next monomeric catechin. and as coagulants in rubber Production41. 8. The name of alkaloids derives from the “alkaline” and it was used to describe any nitrogen-containing base[45]. especially as the biological action of tannin-containing plant extracts has been well documented[43. and wine industries. beer. as diuretics. Recently the tannins have attracted scientific interest.. 7. and fruit juices. 6 2013 www.1 Activity of Tannins In medicine. corn. Classification of tannins. antioxidant and haemostatic pharmaceuticals[40]. antiseptic. against stomach and duodenal tumours[39]. and as antiinflammatory. legume forages. blueberry. Tannins are found commonly in fruits such as Page | 175 . especially in Asian (Japanese and Chinese) natural healing. the tannin-containing plant extracts are used as astringents. are basic in character. bacteria and fungi. beer. Several health benefits have been recognized for the intake of tannins and some epidemiological associations with the decreased frequency of chronic diseases have been established[38]. against diarrhoea. Tannin Gallotannin Ellagitannin Complex tannin Condense tannin Fig.

it was found that they were nitrogen containing bases which formed salts with acid.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry isolated from medicinal plants were alkaloids when they first obtained from the plants materials in the early years of 19th century. The names of individual members are. codeine. Quinoline Alkaloids: These have the basic heterocyclic ring system quinoline .It has been used for centuries for treatment of malaria. Isoquinoline alkaloids: They contain heterocyclic rig system isoquinoline. 6 2013 www. Almost all the alkaloids have a bitter taste. 1 No.g Hygrine found in Erythroxylum coca leaves. the nomenclature of alkaloids has not been systematized. Pyrrolidine-pyridine alkaloids: the heterocyclic ring system present in there alkaloids is Pyrrolidinepyridine. The alkaloid quinine for example is one of the bitterest tasting substances known and is significantly bitter (1x10-5) at a molar concentration[47]. However. generally derived from the name of the plant in which they occur. morphine. Pyridine-piperidine alkaloids:This family of alkaloids contains a pyridine ring system join to a piperidine ring system the simplest member is Anabasine alkaloid isolated from poisonous Asiatic plant anabasis aphyllan. E.the various classes of alkaloids according to the heterocyclic ring system they contain are listed below. papaverine.E.g Myosmine. piperine and isopelletierine.Synthetic drugs such as primaquinine have largely replace quinine as an anti-malarial. For historicxal reasons as also because of their structural complexities.E.g Opium alkaloids like Page | 176 .phytojournal. E. therfour.g Coniine. Pyridine alkaloids: they have piperidine (hexahydropyridine) ring system. the best approach to the problem is to group them into families. or from their characteristic physiological activity. Alkaloids are so numerous and involve such a variety of molecular structure that their rational classification is difficult. O O N CH3 CH3 N H CH3 N H CH3 Hygrine [1] Coniine [2] Isopelletierine [3] CH 3 CO N N H N NH H 3C H C 3 H 6 NH 2 N N N H 3C N Nicotine [4] Mysomine [5] CH2 CH CH3CO HC CH2 N CH CH CH2 Anabasine [6] Primaquinine [7] HO HO O N HO CH3 Vol. Nicotine alkaloid found in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plant. and heroine. Pyrrolidine alkaloids: they contain pyrrolidine ( tetrahydropyrrole) ring system. Hence they were known as the vegetable alkalis or alkaloids and these alkaloids are used as the local anesthetic and stimulant as cocaine+46]. E.g Quinine occurs in the bark of cinchona tree. depending on the type of heterocyclic ring system present in the molecule[48].

1 Hemiterpenoids: Consist of a single isoprene unit. Most of the terpenoids have multi cyclic structures that differ from one another by their functional groups and basic carbon skeletons. Eucalyptol. Geranyl pyrophosphate. and therefore considered as the largest group of natural products[51]. 6. oil of flowers. Activity of Alkaloids Alkaloids are significant for the protecting and survival of plant because they ensure their survival against micro-organisms (antibacterial and antifungal activities). mainly in plants as constituents of essential oils. found in Eucalyptus oil. Terpenes Vol. 9. vinblastine). spices. Page | 177 www.phytojournal. These types of natural lipids can be found in every class of living things.4 Diterpenes: It composed for four isoprene units. 1 No. Artemisinin. antimalarial activity (quinine). They derive from geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. spareien). such as Eudesmol. Terpenoids The terpenoids are a class of natural products which have been derived from five-carbon isoprene units. 9. Retinol.e linear (acyclic) or contain rings e. Lanosterol and squalene found in wheat germ. Camphor and Pinene. 9. There are some examples of diterpenes such as cembrene. The useof alkaloids containing plants as dyes. CH2=C(CH3)-CH=CH2.1. Their building block is the hydrocarbon isoprene.3 Sesquiterpenes: Sesquiterpenes have three isoprene units e. Monoterpenes may be of two types i. 6 2013 are widespread in nature. These are just a few example illustrating the great economic importanceof this group of plant constituents[50]. andanticancer actions (dimeric indoles. morphine are used as the analgesic and quinine as the antimalarial drug[46]. Citral. and phytol are the biologically important compounds while using diterpenes as the base. retinal. taxadiene and cafestol. or as cyclic compounds.g. insects and herbivores (feeding deterrens) and also against other plants by means of allelopathically active chemicals[49].g. drugs or poisons can be traced back almost to the beginning of civilization. Structures of the important naturally occurring alkaloids. Monoterpenoids have two isoprene units. such as the flavour of fruits and the fragrance of flowers like linalool[52]. . 9. Many of the terpenoids are commercially interesting because of their use as flavours and fragrances in foods and cosmetics examples menthol and sclareol or because they are important for the quality of agricultural products. Terpene hydrocarbons therefore have molecular formula (C5H8) n and they are classified according to the number of isoprene units[53]. vincristine.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry Quinine [8] Morphine [9] Fig. 9.2 Monoterpenoids: Biochemical modifications of monoterpenes such as oxidation or rearrangement produce the related monoterpenoids.5 Triterpenes: It consists of six isoprene units e. kahweol. antiarrhythmic effect (quinidine. but oxygen-containing derivatives of isoprene such as isovaleric acid and prenol is classify as hemiterpenoids. The only hemiterpene is the Isoprene itself. Limonene. Alkaloids have many pharmacological activities including antihypertensive effects ( many indole alkaloids).g. and olives. Bisabolol and Fernesol. Some alkaloids have stimulant property as caffeine and nicotine. 9.

O CHO α-Pinene [1] Limonine [2] Citral [3] Camphor [4] Abietic acid [5] CH 2 OH CHO Vitamin A [6] Retinene [7] OH OH Eudesmol [8] Farnesol [9] HO Lanosterol [10] Squalene [11] β-Carotene [12] Lycopene [13] Fig.phytojournal. and bicyclic like alpha. monocyclic like Page | 178 .Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 9. 7: Structures of the important terpenes of each class.and betacarotenes. 1 No. 6 2013 www. Vol.6 Tetraterpenoids: It contains eight isoprene units which may be acyclic like lycopene.

only a few have addressed their function in plant cells. spirostan and furostan derivatives (Figure 8A. saponins asa group include compounds that are glycosylated steroids. Many saponins are known to be antimicrobial.1 Activity of Saponins The physiological role of saponins in plants is not yet fully understood. rhamnose. xylose.g.g. perilla alcohol). but not least.g. 10. galactose. terpenes play an important role as signal compounds and growth regulators (phytohormones) of plants. The carbohydrate part consists of one or more sugar moieties containing glucose.B. Saponin Saponins are a group of secondary metabolites found widely distributed in the plant kingdom They form a stable foam in aqueous solutions such as soap. respectively).7 Activity of Terpenes Among plant secondary metabolites terpenoids are a structurally most diverse group.8: Basic structure of steroid (A & B) and triterpenoid saponin (C) 10. antimalarial (e. Chemically. Many plants produce volatile terpenes in order to attract specific insects for pollination or otherwise to expel certain animals using these plants as food. Two main types of steroid aglycones are known. and steroid alkaloids.phytojournal. and their multiple effects in animal cells and on fungi and bacteria. are called bidesmoside saponins[58]. to inhibit Page | 179 www. and those that have a minimum of two sugars. Fig.56]. or glucuronic acid glycosidically linked to a sapogenin (aglycone). 6 2013 plants. terpenoids can have medicinal properties such as anticarcinogenic (e. 1 No. or as signals in indirect defense responses which involves herbivores and their natural enemies[54]. as shown by preliminary investigations. glycyrrhizin) activity and the sesquiterpenoid antimalarial drug artimisinin and the diterpenoid anticancer drug taxol. hence the name “saponin”. one attached to the C-3 and one at C-22.[53. hepaticidal. antimicrobial or diuretic (e. Less volatile but strongly bitter-tasting or toxic terpenes also protect some plants from being eaten by animals (antifeedants)[55]. The main triterpene aglycone is a derivative of oleanane (Figure 8C)[57]. anti-ulcer. they function as phytoalexins in plant direct defense.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 9. While there is a number of a publication describing their identification in Vol. artemisinin). In addition. Last. triterpenoids. . Saponins that have one sugar molecule attached at the C-3 position are called monodesmoside saponins.

ed. 271: 274-275. Young G. 2000. to be antioxidants. Massachusetts: Blackwell Science Inc. Appetite 1998.. Saponin mixtures present in plants and plant products possess diverse biological effects when present in the animal body. 33. Akunyili DN. 3358. G Morrison and L Hark. With the advances in synthetic methodology and the development of more sophisticated isolation and analytical techniques. In Medical Nutrition and Disease. This is largely due to the occurrence of a vast number of phytochemicals with similar chemical structures. With the present information are reported in this review. Nutrition in the Adult Years. Characteristics and Occurrence of Phenolic Phytochemicals. Mathai K. 10th ed. many more of these phytochemicals should be identified. and to act as antifungal and antiviral[60. Escott-Stump.Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry mould. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. to impair the digestion of protein and the uptake of vitamins and minerals in the ontent/ETO_5_3X_Phytochemicals. Nutrition. it is difficult to establish clear functionality and structure–activity relationships regarding the effects of phytochemicals in biological systems activity. Strategy for discovering drugs from previously unexploited natural products. Vitamin and Mineral Therapy. Wardel J. Costa MA. 2003: 12 (1): 9-22 Hamburger M. Narasinga Rao. 67-87.phytojournal. 31: 205-228. immunostimulant. Available at http://www. 1 No. Journal of 2. Hasler CM. 24: 213-218. 2000. ed. 1999. King A. 129: 756S-757S. Saponins may be considered a part of plants’ defence systems. and to protect plants from insect attack. Zia ZQ. Vol. Phytochemistry. Extensive research has been carried out into the membrane-permeabilising. New York. Moreover. 8. 13. Harvey A. vol. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Shobna Bajpai maroo. L. chronic diseases and a variety of cancers. 12. nature must still have many more in store. 4-5.61. Chapter Four: Toward Engineering the Metabolic Pathways of Cancer-Preventing Lignans in Cereal Grains and Other Crops. Hahn NI. Conclusion Nature is a unique source of structures of high phytochemical diversity. 14.cancer. Phytochemicals in Human Health Protection. In Krause’s Food. Moorachian ME. Bioactive phytochemicals in Indian foods and their potential in health promotion and disease prevention. Gibson EL.. AGM/SC of the Nigerian Society of Pharmacognosy. Thomson C. for kind support. 4. 6. an intensive search for new lead compounds for the development of novel pharmacological therapeutics is extremely important. hypocholesterolaemic and anticarcinogenic properties of saponins and they have also been found to significantly affect growth. References Page | 180 . Bioactivity in Plants: The Link between Phytochemistry and Medicine. 1999. Acknowledgement The authors express gratitude Dr.62]. Nutrition. and Diet Therapy. 7. In the context of the worldwide spread different diseases such as AIDS. JT Romeo. Phytochemicals. Davin LB. many of them possessing interesting biological activities and medicinal properties. Phytochemicals: Why and How? Tastings. 2003. 1999. given the number of phytochemicals isolated so far. Meagher E. Blumberg JB. Lewis NG. Symposium on Phytochemicals: Biochemistry and Physiology. Bhopal. 5. 2nd ed. The role of regulation of medicinal plants and phytomedicine in socio-economic development. 30: 3864-3874. Is Phytoestrogens Nature’s Cure for What Ails Us? A Look at the Research. Nutritional Knowledge and Beliefs in Mothers and Children. 9. Watts CJ. Drug Discovery Today. 5: 294-300. and to the complexity of physiological reactions. to cause hypoglycaemia. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. 1991. Hostettmann K. Mahan and S. Abuja. 1-7. 6 2013 www. June 2000. Journal of Nutrition 1999. 11. In Recent Advances in Phytochemistry. 10. and Plant Defense. 2000. and as such have been included in a large group of protective molecules found in plants named phytoanticipins or phytoprotectants[59]. 3. These structurally diverse compounds have also been observed to kill protozoans and molluscs. Malden. 12. Principal Sarojini Naidu Government Girls (Post Graduate Autonomous) College and CMBT Laboratory. feed intake and reproduction in animals. 11. American Cancer Society. 13.

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