5. New Medical Applications of Plant Secondary Metabolites

  1. Michael Wink Professor
  1. Jörg Heilmann

Published Online: 23 FEB 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444318876.ch5

Annual Plant Reviews Volume 39: Functions and Biotechnology of Plant Secondary Metabolites, Second edition

Annual Plant Reviews Volume 39: Functions and Biotechnology of Plant Secondary Metabolites, Second edition

How to Cite

Heilmann, J. (2010) New Medical Applications of Plant Secondary Metabolites, in Annual Plant Reviews Volume 39: Functions and Biotechnology of Plant Secondary Metabolites, Second edition (ed M. Wink), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444318876.ch5

Editor Information

  1. Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Div. Biology, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Author Information

  1. University of Regensburg, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Pharmaceutical Biology, 93040 Regensburg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 FEB 2010
  2. Published Print: 2 APR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405185288

Online ISBN: 9781444318876

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Keywords:

  • polyphenols;
  • chemoprevention;
  • anticancer;
  • taxanes;
  • camptothecins;
  • combretastatin A-4;
  • betulinic acid;
  • antiviral;
  • artemisinin;
  • curcumin;
  • xanthohumol;
  • boswellic acids;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • antidepressant;
  • Hypericum perforatum;
  • ginkgo

Summary

In the last years, only a limited number of structurally new plant secondary metabolites have entered the scene to attract high medical interest. In contrast, the development of new techniques in the fields of biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology, e.g. new assay techniques, which are also applicable in the field of natural products chemistry, allowed the finding of several new insights into the molecular mode of action and the pharmacological characterization of known plant secondary metabolites. Accordingly, the pharmacological or clinical characterization of several known plant-derived compounds like the taxanes, artemisinin derivatives or boswellic acids was significantly broadened. Furthermore, new and important medical applications or pharmacological mechanisms of known compounds were found like the antiviral activity of betulinic acid derivatives or the inhibition of tubulin polymerization by combretastatin A-4. Recently, a strong interest has evolved in natural products exhibiting chemopreventive activity. Consequently, the role of several plant polyphenols, like curcumin and xanthohumol, as protective and pharmacologically active, dietary constituents has become an increasingly important area of research. Besides the investigation of single compounds, there is still a growing interest in the application of standardized extracts, complex phytochemical mixtures with a well-defined content of the bioactive constituents. Therefore, new insights concerning the application of extracts from Ginkgo biloba and Hypericum perforatum are also discussed.