Medicinal Asteraceae

Rivero et al. studied the cytotoxic effects tatridin A, tamirin, reynosin, and ineu-patorolide A on the myeloid leukemia cell lines HL-60 and U937, and made the interesting observation that ineupatorolide A, isolated from Allagopappus viscosis-simus, induced apoptosis accompanied by both the activation of caspase-3 and the fragmentation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 and an early release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria (103). The evidence for the existence of proapoptotic sesquiterpene lactones in the family Asteraceae is therefore strong, and it seems likely that further study in this field might result in the discovery of antineoplastic agents of clinical value.

An exciting area of potential for proapoptotic agents would be the medicinal flora of the Asia-Pacific region, which encompasses about 250 species of medicinal Asteraceae awaiting pharmacological exploration.

Ineupatorolide A

Elephantopus mollis Kunth. (Elephantopus cernuus Vell, Elephantopus martii Graham, Elephantopus scaber L, Elephantopus sericeus Graham, Elephantopus serratus Blco.), or elephantopus, elephant's foot, soft elephant's foot, jangli tambaku (Fiji), papago vaca, papago halom tano (Guam), or lata hina (Tonga), is an erect herb that grows to a height of 1 m. The plant is native to Central America but has invaded the tropical belt. The stems are pilose, slender, somewhat corymbose, and grayish to bluish-green. The leaves are simple, spiral, grouped in rosette near the roots and cauline along the stem. The blade is pilose, elliptic-oblong or up to 15 cm long, serrate, and lobed. The influorescences are globose heads of minute white or pinkish flowers that are 4 mm long (Fig. 107).

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