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In Asteraceae, although the energy store is generally in the form of inulin rather than starch, they produce iso/chlorogenic acid, sesquiterpene lactones, pentacyclic triterpene alcohols, various alkaloids, acetylenes (cyclic, aromatic, with vinyl end groups), tannins and have terpenoid essential oils which never contain iridoids.[1]

Asteraceae produce secondary metabolites, such as flavonoids and terpenoids, some of which can inhibit protozoan parasites such as Plasmodium, Trypanosoma, Leishmania and parasitic intestinal worms, and thus have potential in medicine.[2]

Achillea millefolium[edit | edit source]

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) on top of Janče hill (800 m), Slovenia. Credit: Petar Milošević.{{free media}}

Achillea millefolium', commonly known as yarrow (or common yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe and North America.[3] It has been introduced as a feed for livestock in New Zealand[4] and Australia, where it is a common weed of both wet and dry areas, such as roadsides, meadows, fields and coastal places.[4]

Yarrow can be used for dying wool as it contains apigenin and luteolin. Depending on the mordant the color may be green to yellow.[5]

A. millefolium was used as in traditional medicine, possibly due to its astringent effects.[3] Yarrow and its North American varieties were traditionally used by many Native American nations.[6] The Navajo historically considered it a "life medicine" and chewed the plant for toothaches and used its infusions for earaches. The Miwok in California used the plant as an analgesic and head cold remedy.[6] Native American nations used the plant for healing cuts and abrasions, for relief of ear-aches, and throat infections, and for an eye-wash.[7] Common yarrow was used by Plains indigenous peoples to reduce pain or fever and aid sleep.[6]

In the early 20th century, some Ojibwe people used a decoction of yarrow leaves on hot stones and inhaled it to treat headaches,[8] or applied decoctions of the root onto skin for its stimulating effect.[9]

The dark blue essential oil of yarrow contains chemicals called proazulenes.[10]

Chamazulene and δ-Cadinol are chemical compounds found in A. millefolium. The chromophore of azulene was discovered in yarrow and wormwood and named in 1863 by Septimus Piesse.

Yarrow contains isovaleric acid, salicylic acid, asparagine, sterols, and flavonoids.[11]

Ambrosia acanthicarpa[edit | edit source]

Ambrosia acanthicarpa is shown at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California, USA. Credit: Anthony Valois and the National Park Service.{{Free media}}

Ambrosia acanthicarpa is common across much of the western United States and in the Prairie Provinces of Canada.[12][13]

Ambrosia ambrosioides[edit | edit source]

Ambrosia ambrosioides is shown at Pima Wash Trail, South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona. Credit: Miwasatoshi.{{Free media}}

Ambrosia ambrosioides is found in the deserts of northern Mexico (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora), Arizona, and California (Ventura County, California + San Diego County, California).[14][15][16][17]

Flowering occurs mainly in February through April.

Ambrosia arborescens[edit | edit source]

A large weed known as Marco in the highlands of Peru is shown. Credit: Dick Culbert from Gibsons, B.C., Canada.{{Free media}}

A. arborescens is used as a medicinal plant with analgesic, antiinflammatory and antiseptic properties.[18]

Ambrosia artemisiifolia[edit | edit source]

Ambrosia artemisiifolia is a native of North America, in bare or disturbed areas, such as roadsides, stockyards and stream banks, occasionally pastures. Credit: Harry Rose from South West Rocks, Australia.{{Free media}}

Its bloom period is July to October in North America.[19] Its pollen is wind-dispersed, and can be a strong allergen to people with Allergic rhinitis (hay fever).[20][21]

Three sesquiterpene lactones isolated from the aerial parts of Ambrosia artemisiifolia were identified as psilostachyin A, psilostachyin B and psilostachyin C. All of them have some molluscicidal activity against the small tropical freshwater snail Oncomelania hupensis.[22]

Ambrosia confertiflora[edit | edit source]

Flowering branches of Ambrosia confertiflora (Weakleaf Bur Ragweed) are shown. Credit: Richard Spellenberg.{{free media}}

Ambrosia confertiflora is native to much of northern Mexico (from Sonora to Tamaulipas) and the southwestern United States from California east as far as Kansas, Oklahoma, and central Texas.[23]

Ambrosia cordifolia[edit | edit source]

Ambrosia cordifolia, called the Tucson bur ragweed,[24] is native to northern Mexico (Sonora, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Baja California Sur) and the State of Arizona in the United States.[25][26][27]

The reference to the Arizona city of Tucson in the common name refers to the species' first discovery by Cyrus G. Pringle in the mountains near Tucson in 1884.[28]

Ambrosia deltoidea[edit | edit source]

The plant is native to the Sonoran Desert region of North America, where it can be found in Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora in Mexico, with its distribution extending north into Arizona in the United States.[29][30][31]

Ambrosia dumosa[edit | edit source]

Photo shows Ambrosia dumosa (white bur-sage) at the Springs Preserve garden in Las Vegas, Nevada Credit: Stan Shebs.{{free media}}

Ambrosia dumosa is a common constituent of the creosote-bush scrub community throughout the Mojave desert of California, Nevada, and Utah and the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northwestern Mexico (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Chihuahua).[32][33][34][35]

Ambrosia eriocentra[edit | edit source]

Woolly bursage is shown on a portion of periodically exposed, dry river bed
(Red Rock Canyon in the Spring Mountains of southern Nevada, elevation about 1300 m). Credit: Stan Shebs.{{free media}}

The plant is native to the Mojave Desert in the southwestern United States, within southern California, southern Nevada, northwestern Arizona, and southwestern Utah.[36]

It grows in the Mojave's plains and mountain ridges up to 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) in elevation.[37][38]

Ambrosia ilicifolia[edit | edit source]

Ambrosia ilicifolia is known by the common names hollyleaf burr ragweed and hollyleaf bursage.[39]

It is native to the deserts and mountains of western Arizona, and the adjacent Sonoran Desert areas of southeastern California, Sonora and Baja California. It grows in dry washes, scrub, and other local habitats.[40][41]

Ambrosia monogyra[edit | edit source]

The plant is native to the southwestern United States (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), and northern Mexico (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Sonora).[42][43]

Ambrosia psilostachya[edit | edit source]

Ambrosia psilostachya is widespread across much of North America. Credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek.{{free media}}

Ambrosia psilostachya contains a group of phytochemicals called psilostachyins.[44]

The plant is widespread across much of North America (United States, Canada, and northern Mexico).[45]

Ambrosia salsola[edit | edit source]

Hymenoclea salsola (cheesebush) is shown near Thousand Palms Oasis in Coachella Valley, California. Credit: Stan Shebs.{{Free media}}

Ambrosia salsola is native to the southwestern United States (Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah) and northwestern Mexico (Sonora, Baja California, Baja California Sur), where it is a common plant of the local deserts, where it thrives on sandy soil, alkaline environments, and disturbed sites.[46][47]

Ambrosia trifida[edit | edit source]

Ambrosia trifida, the giant ragweed, is a species of flowering plant native to North America. Credit: Le.Loup.Gris.{{Free media}}

The Cherokee used it as a remedy for insect stings, urticaria (hives), fever, and pneumonia, and the Iroquois used it to treat diarrhea.[48]

Arnica cordifolia[edit | edit source]

Arnica cordifolia is from Wenatchee Mountains, Washington USA. Credit: Walter Siegmund.{{free media}}

The dried leaves can be made into a poultice or tincture to treat strains and bruises.[49]

Arnica montana[edit | edit source]

Arnica is a genus of perennial, herbaceous plants in the sunflower family Asteraceae.

The species Arnica montana, native to Europe, has long been used medicinally, but the effectiveness of this use has not been substantiated.[50]

Arnica montana contains the toxin helenalin, which can be poisonous if large amounts of the plant are eaten, and contact with the plant can also cause skin irritation.[51]

Artemisia abrotanum[edit | edit source]

Image shows a garden plot of Artemisia abrotanum. Credit: Kurt Stüber.{{free media}}

In the traditional medicine of East and North Bosnia and Herzegovina, aerial parts of Artemisia abrotanum are used in jaundice therapy.[52]

Artemisia absinthium[edit | edit source]

Artemisia absinthium leaves and flowers are used in homeopathy as a remedy. Credit: H. Zell.{{free media}}

Wormwood herb contains bitter substances from the group of sesquiterpene lactones; absinthin, at 0.20 to 0.28%, is the main component of these bitter substances. Essential oils make up 0.2 to 0.8% and contain (-) - thujone, (+) - isothujone, thujyl alcohol and its esters, chamazulene and other mono- and sesquiterpenes.[53][54] A chemotype does not produce β-thujone but does contain terpenoids not seen elsewhere.[55]

It is used for dyspepsia, as a bitter to counteract poor appetite, for various infectious diseases, Crohn's disease, and IgA nephropathy.[56][57][58][59]

Artemisia afra[edit | edit source]

Artemisia afra, the African wormwood, is a common species of the genus Artemisia in Africa. Credit: H Brisse.{{free media}}

Artemisia pallens[edit | edit source]

Davana essential oil is shown. Credit: Itineranttrader.{{free media}}
Image shows leaves and flowers of Artemisia pallens. Credit: Yercaud-elango.{{free media}}

Davana oil, from the Artemisia pallens, is used as a perfume ingredient.

Davanone, davan ether, davana furan and linaloo are the major constituents of davana oil, while methyl cinnamate, ethyl cinnamate, bicyclogermacrene, 2-hydroxyisodavanone, farnesol, geranyl acetate, sesquiterpene lactones, and germacranolides also occur.[60] The amount of davanone and linalool decreased while those of (Z)− and (E)−methyl cinnamate, (E)−ethyl cinnamate, bicyclogermacrene, davana ether, 2-hydroxyisodavanone, and farnesol increased from flower heads emergence stage to the initiation of seed set stage. Five compounds, (Z)− and (E)−methyl cinnamates, (Z)− and (E)−ethyl cinnamates, and geranyl acetate, were identified for the first time in davana oil.[61]

Oral administration of high doses aqueous/methanolic extract from the aerial parts of the plants was observed to reduce blood glucose levels in glucose−fed hyperglycemic and alloxan-treated rabbits and rats.[62]

Calendula officinalis[edit | edit source]

Calendula officinalis, the pot marigold, common marigold, ruddles or Scotch marigold,[63] is a flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae.

The petals and pollen of Calendula officinalis contain triterpenoid esters and the carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin (antioxidants and the source of the yellow-orange coloration). The leaves and stems contain other carotenoids, mostly lutein (80%), zeaxanthin (5%), and beta-carotene. Plant extracts are also widely used by cosmetics, presumably due to presence of compounds such as saponins, resins, and essential oils.[64]

The flowers of Calendula officinalis contain flavonol glycosides, triterpene oligoglycosides, oleanane-type triterpene glycosides, saponins, and a sesquiterpene glucoside.[65][66] Calendula flowers are a rich source of lutein, containing 29.8 mg/100g.[67]

Plant pharmacological studies have suggested that Calendula extracts may have anti-viral, anti-genotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro.[68] In an in vitro assay, the methanol extract of C. officinalis exhibited antibacterial activity and both the methanol and the ethanol extracts showed antifungal activities.[69]

Chamaemelum nobile[edit | edit source]

Chamomile essential oil contains sesquiterpenes, terpene lactones (including the blue compound, chamazulene), acetylene derivatives, and polyphenols, which contribute to the fragrance and may be extracted individually.[70]

Cichorium intybus[edit | edit source]

Common chicory (Cichorium intybus)[71] is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae (daisy) family, usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and food additive. In the 21st century, inulin]], an extract from chicory root, has been used in food manufacturing as a sweetener and source of dietary fiber.[72]

The root contains up to 20% inulin, a polysaccharide similar to starch. Inulin is mainly found in the plant family Asteraceae as a storage carbohydrate (for example Jerusalem artichoke, dahlia, yacon, etc.). It is used as a sweetener in the food industry with a sweetening power 10% that of sucrose[73] and is sometimes added to yogurts as a 'prebiotic'.[74]

Fresh chicory root may contain between 13 and 23% inulin, by total weight.[75]

The bitter substances are primarily the two sesquiterpene lactones, lactucin and lactucopicrin. Other ingredients are aesculetin, aesculin, cichoriin, umbelliferone, scopoletin, 6,7-dihydrocoumarin, and further sesquiterpene lactones and their glycosides.[76]

Cynara cardunculus[edit | edit source]

Matricaria recutita[edit | edit source]

More than 120 chemical constituents have been identified in chamomile flower as secondary metabolites, with most of them found in the blue essential oil of the flowers.[77] Chemical constituents of its essential oil include: the terpenes bisabolol,[78] farnesene, and chamazulene; the flavonoids apigenin, quercetin, patuletin, and luteolin; and coumarin.[78]

Silybum marianum[edit | edit source]

Def. a "mixture of flavonolignans extracted from the blessed milk thistle (Silybum marianum), used as a source of silibinin"[79] is called a silymarin.

Silibinin (International Nonproprietary Name (INN)), also known as silybin (both from Silybum, the generic name of the plant from which it is extracted), is the major active constituent of silymarin, a standardized extract of the Silybum marianum (milk thistle) seeds, containing a mixture of flavonolignans consisting of silibinin, isosilibinin, silychristin, silidianin, and others. Silibinin itself is a mixture of two diastereomers, silybin A and silybin B, in approximately equimolar ratio.[80] The mixture exhibits a number of pharmacological effects, particularly in the fatty liver, non-alcoholic fatty liver, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and there is great clinical evidence for the use of silibinin as a supportive element in alcoholic and Child–Pugh grade 'A', liver cirrhosis.[81] However, despite its several beneficial effects on the liver, silibinin and all the other compounds found in silymarin, especially silychristin seem to act as potent disruptors of the thyroid system by blocking the Monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8) transporter.[82] The long term intake of silymarin can lead to some form of thyroid disease and if taken during pregnancy, silymarin can cause the development of the Allan–Herndon–Dudley syndrome.[82] Although this information is unfortunately still not being taken into consideration by all regulatory bodies, several studies now consider silymarin and especially silychristin to be important inhibitors of the MCT8 transporter and a potential disruptor of the thyroid hormone functions.[82]

Silipide (trade name Siliphos, not to be confused with the water treatment compound of the same name, a glass-like polyphosphate containing sodium, calcium magnesium and silicate, formulated for the treatment of water problems), a complex of silymarin and phosphatidylcholine (lecithin), is about 10 times more bioavailable than silymarin.[83] An earlier study had concluded Siliphos to have 4.6 fold higher bioavailability.[84] It has been also reported that silymarin inclusion complex with β-cyclodextrin is much more soluble than silymarin itself.[85] There have also been prepared glycosides of silybin, which show better water solubility and even stronger hepatoprotective effect.[86]

Silymarin, like other flavonoid]]s, has been shown to inhibit P-glycoprotein-mediated cellular efflux.[87] It has been reported that silymarin inhibits cytochrome P450 enzymes and an interaction with drugs primarily cleared by P450s cannot be excluded.[88]

All of the flavonolignan compounds found in the silymarin mixture seem to block the uptake of thyroid hormones into the cells by selectively blocking the Monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8) transmembrane transporter.[82] The author of this study noted that especially silychristin, one of the compounds of the silymarin mixture seems to be perhaps the most powerful and selective inhibitor for the (MCT8) transporter.[82] Due to the essential role played by the thyroid hormone in human metabolism in general it is believed that the intake of silymarin can lead to thyroid disease (disruptions of the thyroid system).[82] Because the thyroid hormones and the MCT8 as well are known to play a critical role during early and fetal development, the administration of silymarin during pregnancy is especially thought to be dangerous, potentially leading to the Allan–Herndon–Dudley syndrome, a brain development disorder that causes both moderate to severe intellectual disability and problems with speech and movement.[89]

A phase I clinical trial in humans with prostate cancer designed to study the effects of high dose silibinin found 13 grams daily to be well tolerated in patients with advanced prostate cancer with asymptomatic liver toxicity (hyperbilirubinemia and elevation of alanine aminotransferase) being the most commonly seen adverse event.[90]

Silymarin is also devoid of embryotoxic potential in animal models.[91] [92]

For approved drug preparations and parenteral applications in the treatment of Amanita mushroom poisoning, the water-soluble silibinin-C-2',3-dihyrogensuccinate disodium salt is used and in 2011, it also received Orphan Medicinal Product Designation for the prevention of recurrent hepatitis C in liver transplant recipients by the European Commission.[93]

Silibinin is under investigation to see whether it may have a role in cancer treatment (e.g. due to its inhibition of STAT3 signalling).[94]

Silibinin has a number of potential mechanisms that could benefit the skin: chemoprotective effects from environmental toxins, anti-inflammatory effects, protection from UV induced photocarcinogenesis, protection from sunburn, protection from Ultraviolet (UVB)-induced epidermal hyperplasia, and DNA repair for UV induced DNA damage (double strand breaks).[95] Studies on mice demonstrate a significant protection on chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) induced depressive-like behavior on mice[96] and increased cognition in aged rats as a result of consuming silymarin.[97]

Due to its immunomodulatory,[98] iron chelating and antioxidant properties, this herb has the potential to be used in beta-thalassemia patients who receive regular blood transfusions and suffer from iron overload.[99]

Silymarin can be produced in callus and cells suspensions of Silybum marianum and substituted pyrazinecarboxamides can be used as abiotic elicitors of flavolignan production.[100]

The biosynthesis of silibinin A and silibinin B is composed of two major parts, taxifolin and coniferyl alcohol.[101][102] Coniferyl alcohol is synthesized in milk thistle seed coat, starting with the transformation of phenylalanine into cinnamic acid mediated by phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL).[103]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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