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Review

Tragia L. Genus: Ethnopharmacological Use, Phytochemical Composition and Biological Activity

1
Maestría en Química Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Loja 110108, Ecuador
2
Departamento de Química, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Loja 110108, Ecuador
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2021, 10(12), 2717; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122717
Received: 24 September 2021 / Revised: 9 November 2021 / Accepted: 7 December 2021 / Published: 10 December 2021

Abstract

:
Tragia L. is a genus of plants belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family with worldwide intertropical distribution, composed of more than 150 species. In this literature review, 26 species of the genus used as medicinal plants were found, mainly in East Africa and the Indian subcontinent, with a variety of uses among which antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and reproductive health are most common. Research has been done on a few of the species, mostly those of the Old World, with emphasis on four of them: Tragia involucrata Linn., Tragia spathulata Benth., Tragia benthamii Baker and Tragia plukenetii Radcl.-Sm., confirming several ethnomedicinal claims. Moreover, a variety of active phytochemicals have been isolated, mainly ethers, hydrocarbons, flavonoids and sterols. There is ample field for the evaluation of the activity of Tragia extracts and essential oils and the identification of their active compounds, particularly of the New World species, for which there is still very little research.

1. Introduction

Plants have been used as a source of medicinal substances for a long time, with a use that amply predates history and presumably even mankind [1,2,3], and the discovery of active species and their use has historically been characterized by a trial-and-error approach [4]. This empirical knowledge has been and is being alidated by systematic research and is used as a guideline to direct the search for better and new drugs, integrating ancestral knowledge and modern methods [5].
Among the plant families considered medicinal, Euphorbiaceae is well regarded. The ample geographical distribution of the family and the variety of stress conditions the plants grow in, which trigger the production of secondary metabolites [6], partially explain the abundance and variety of biologically active compounds found in the family and thus its medicinal activity [7,8].
This review endeavors to summarize the current knowledge about species of the Tragia genus, which belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family, concerning their medicinal properties, phytochemical basis, and in vitro and in vivo evidence and envisioning future research prospects.

2. Genus

The genus Tragia is one of the 317 genera in the Euphorbiaceae family. There are 161 accepted names belonging to 154 species in the Tragia genus, with “pantropical and warm temperate distribution” [9,10]. The etymology for the name of this genus comes from the Greek tragos, meaning goat. This name may stem either from the name of the German botanist Hieronymus Bock—Bock means “ram” or “he-goat” in German, or from the hairy appearance of the plant that would resemble a male goat [11].
Tragia species exhibit very ample morphological characters: they are perennial plants with herb, shrub, subshrub and twining vine growth habits, with lanceolate leaves presenting either entire or serrated margins. Plants belonging to this genus sting when touched due to the presence of leaf hairs with a needle-shaped crystal of calcium oxalate (raphide) in the terminal cells that is expelled on contact and punctures the skin, allowing irritants to enter and cause transient stinging [12,13], presumably a defense mechanism against herbivores [14]. Several common names for Tragias, such as noseburn (Tragia spp.), Indian stinging nettle (T. involucrata), fireman (T. volubilis) or stinging nettle creeper (T. durbanensis), are due to this stinging property. Figure 1 shows T. involucrata leaf hairs with raphides visible, taken in Kerala, India, and T. ramosa with clearly visible raphides, taken in Nevada, USA.
Species belonging to Euphorbiaceae in general and to Tragia in particular are still not fully settled [8], as new species are being discovered [15] and species are being reassigned to other genera [9,16], so the number of species in the genus is still subject to change.

3. Distribution and Localization

Species belonging to the Tragia genus are present in subtropical America, Eastern and Southern Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Northeastern Australia. Of the 154 species listed in the genus [17], 94 are found in Africa, 48 in America, 10 in Asia and 3 in Oceania, with some species such as T. arabica and T. plukenetii present both in Africa and Asia. The map in Figure 2 shows the intertropical distribution of Tragia species by country.

4. Methodology

Published works (articles and patents) were searched on scientific databases—Science Direct, Google Scholar and Scopus—for each species of the genus, using inverted commas for an exact match, e.g., “Tragia acalyphoides”. Relevant articles were selected after removing search terms unrelated to the area of interest such as corrosion, reforestation or hare diet. When abundant results were obtained, the search was refined with more specific terms, for example “Tragia involucrata medicinal” or “Tragia involucrata ethnopharmacology”. Duplicate articles were removed, and the remaining articles were reviewed with a focus on ethnopharmacological uses, phytochemical composition and biological activity, both in vitro and in vivo. When possible, the latest articles, no older than 10 years, have been cited. Preprints were not included.
The research interest in Tragia species in medical and health sciences has increased during the last twenty years. Figure 3 shows the number of publications that include the word Tragia in their text in the fields mentioned. Even though the subject is not a very popular one, a steady increase in appearances can be seen, with a marked increase between 2019 and 2020 and the first half of 2021.
Compared to the other genera in the Plukenieteae tribe, Tragia concentrates 67% of the research, compared to 12% for Cnesmone, 10% for Acidoton, 4% for Sphaerostylis and 1% each for Megistostigma, Pachystylidium, Platygyna and Tragiella [18].

5. Ethnopharmacological Usage

Of the more than 150 species of the genus, few appear in the scientific literature, and even fewer are mentioned from an ethnopharmacological perspective. Notwithstanding, Tragia species are a part of traditional medicinal systems of East Africa and the Indian subcontinent, such as Siddha and Ayurveda [19], with documented uses of T. involucrata appearing as early as the 1st century CE [20] and with only a handful of mentions of Tragia species in the New World pharmacopoeia, concerning mostly topical applications. There is concern over an excessive use of Tragia species, e.g., Tragia bicolor, which poses a conservation hazard [21,22].
Most of the interest in this genus has been focused on four species: Tragia involucrata, Tragia spathulata, Tragia plukenetii and Tragia benthamii [23], with the bulk of the research focused on T. involucrata. Nevertheless, several more species and their medicinal uses appear in literature. Table 1 summarizes the species with reported medicinal use along with their stated ethnopharmacological uses, when available. The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification by the World Health Organization (WHO) is used to classify the uses for each species [24]. Figure 4 shows the geographical distribution of the documented uses. The ethnomedical uses of Tragia spp are most abundant in the Indian subcontinent and East and Southern Africa.
According to the ATC classification, the most frequent ethnopharmacological uses of Tragia spp. in ethnopharmacology are: genitourinary system and sex hormones, with 19% of occurrences (15 of 77); nervous system, with 12%; and alimentary tract and metabolism, anti-infective for systemic use and antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents with 10% of occurrences each. The “various” classification presents 17% of occurrences, which include non-specified and vague uses, such as “toxic” or “medicinal”.
As for the morphological structures used per species, the most common are the leaves, 38%; followed by “not specified”, 33%; whole plant, 15%; roots, 13% and a single occurrence of endophytes (3%).

6. Biological Activity

Biological activity tests of Tragia, both in vitro and in vivo, are performed mostly with plant extracts and to a much lesser degree with essential oils: leaf, root or the whole plant, although ethnopharmacological uses mostly employ the plant via infusions, decoctions or ashes [23,35]. Different solvents and solvent mixtures have been used for the extracts, mainly methanol and ethanol. Due to the presence of Tragia in ethnomedical traditions in Africa and Asia, there is a team of research about the bioactivity of Old World Tragia extracts that have confirmed their activity and potency in some cases. Not all the health claims or traditional uses recorded have been validated through research. Again, the bulk of the research is centered on T. involucrata.

6.1. In Vitro Activity

Extracts of T. benthamii, T. brevipes, T. involucrata, T. pungens and T. spatulatha have been tested to ascertain their in vitro activity for a variety of uses. The in vitro research is summarized in Figure 5.
Cases in which the efficacy has been shown in vitro are listed in Table 2.
In vitro biological activity tests devote the most attention to leaves (36%), with whole plant and root used to a lesser extent, with both 14%. Extraction solvents are methanol (47%), DCM (5%), Ethyl acetate (10%), water (6%), chloroform (5%), petroleum ether (5%), ethanol (5%) and acetone (5%). This solvent usage supports the assumption that most active compounds are moderately polar and are thus extracted with polar solvents.
Testing centers on antibacterial (41%) and antifungal (18%) activity of the extracts, with antiproliferative (12%) and antidiabetic, antiurolithiatic, radioprotective, immunomodulatory and cytotoxic effects (6% each) behind. This is a different profile than what was found in the ethnomedicinal claims, which centers on the genitourinary system and sex hormones. This is justified because aphrodisiacs do not have the expected properties [92].

6.2. In Vivo Activity

Besides in vitro activity testing, research has been done in animal models, mostly mice and also chicks, with at least one clinical trial performed in humans. The Tragia extracts evaluated in vivo, summarized in Figure 6 and Table 3, are obtained from four species: T. benthamii, T. furialis, T. involucrata and T. plukenetii.
Most of the research (73%) centers on T. involucrata, with T. plukenetii (18%), T. benthamii (9%) and T. furialis (5%) behind. In vivo assay extracts were obtained from leaves (29%), whole plant (25%), root (21%) and aerial parts (8%). Solvents used are methanol (48%), ethanol (26%) and water (13%), which shows that most active compounds are polar and are thus extracted with polar solvents.
For both in vitro and in vivo testing, the most common effect is antibacterial and antimicrobial with 22% of the reviewed studies. This is higher than the 10% reported in the ethnopharmacological uses. Effects having to do with cancer prevention and treatment—antiproliferative, antitumor, cytotoxic immunomodulatory and radioprotective—add up to 17% of the reported effects, which makes it the second most frequent use. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity is equally reported in 10% of the tests.
The findings reported in literature validate several medicinal use cases for Tragia species and dismiss some claims, e.g., T. meyeriana as an antineoplastic [60].

7. Phytochemical Composition

Phytochemical studies allow for the identification, separation and isolation of compounds of interest [109]. Based on phytochemical screenings published in the literature, the main secondary metabolites found in Tragia species extracts are alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, and sterols [23,110].
Some compounds found in plants belonging to the Tragia genus, classified according to their chemical nature, are listed in Table 4. Where applicable, the biological activity of the identified compound has been mentioned.
Identification of the compounds relies heavily on spectroscopic and spectrometric methods [109], and chromatography retention times and comparison with the literature are also used for tentative identification.
Figure 7 shows the structure of some of the compounds identified in Tragia extracts and oils, mentioning their biological activity in bold when reported. As expected in plant extracts, there is a variety of secondary metabolites in the form of terpenoids and flavonoids. Ethers and non-terpenoid hydrocarbons are reported as having antibacterial activity, and they are not in any of the common groups of secondary metabolites. There is more information about the activity of the extracts and essential oils than about the activity of compounds on their own. The recent discovery of anti-inflammatory peptides in Tragia benthamii extracts [93] opens a new area of interest in the research of Tragia species.
A strength of the genus is its diversity and its pantropical distribution, which makes it readily available in most tropical countries. A weakness would be that, despite the interest shown concerning T. involucrata and other traditionally medicinal species, there appear to be no drugs derived from plants of these species, remaining in the realm of herbal remedies and plant extracts, entailing less medicinal interest than other genera of the Euphorbiaceae family, notably Euphorbia [8]. This can be attributed to the stage of research, with most work performed in vitro or in vivo and with a single clinical trial [52]. Hopefully the current research will advance into new drugs.

8. Conclusions

Species belonging to the Tragia genus are present in traditional medicine in several cultures and have multiple uses, among which antibacterial, anticancer and aphrodisiac are most frequent. There is scientific evidence that supports the use of these species in medicine, both at the extract level and at the active compound level, with in vivo tests in rats and mice, but there are no drugs derived from the species yet. The activity reported most frequently for Tragia extracts is antimicrobial and cancer-related, which suggests further research in those areas.
Less than 20% of the Tragia species are considered medicinal. This implies vast potential for screening and discovery of active compounds.
Most ethnopharmacological reports come from Asia and Africa, mainly East Africa and the Indian subcontinent. New world Tragia species have not been sufficiently studied and may prove to be a rich source of extracts and phytochemicals for drug research. Future directions for research include nanoparticles, the research into peptides extracted from Tragia species and the validation of medicines containing Tragia extracts against SARS-CoV-2.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, J.C.R.-B. and R.D.-C.; investigation, R.D.-C.; resources, J.C.R.-B.; writing, R.D.-C.; review and editing, J.C.R.-B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Funding

This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Natalia Bailón-Moscoso for her many valuable suggestions that improved this work. We are also grateful to the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL) for supporting this research and open access publication.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Figure 1. Tragia involucrata leaves, left. Tragia ramosa showing leaf and stem, covered by long, rough Scheme 3.0 license; right, Stan Shebs, GDFL license.
Figure 1. Tragia involucrata leaves, left. Tragia ramosa showing leaf and stem, covered by long, rough Scheme 3.0 license; right, Stan Shebs, GDFL license.
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Figure 2. Worldwide Tragia species distribution, by country.
Figure 2. Worldwide Tragia species distribution, by country.
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Figure 3. Publications containing the word Tragia since the year 2000 in Medical and Health sciences and in Chemical sciences. Data source: [18].
Figure 3. Publications containing the word Tragia since the year 2000 in Medical and Health sciences and in Chemical sciences. Data source: [18].
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Figure 4. Ethnomedicinal uses for Tragia spp. The circle diameter is proportional to the uses reported for each country.
Figure 4. Ethnomedicinal uses for Tragia spp. The circle diameter is proportional to the uses reported for each country.
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Figure 5. Summary of in vitro activity of Tragia species.
Figure 5. Summary of in vitro activity of Tragia species.
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Figure 6. Summary of in vivo activity of Tragia extracts.
Figure 6. Summary of in vivo activity of Tragia extracts.
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Figure 7. Compounds identified in Tragia extracts and oils.
Figure 7. Compounds identified in Tragia extracts and oils.
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Table 1. Tragia species and their ethnopharmacological use. Species are listed in alphabetical order and validated against [25].
Table 1. Tragia species and their ethnopharmacological use. Species are listed in alphabetical order and validated against [25].
SpeciesRegionPlant Organs UsedUse Form of UsageATC CategoryReferences
Tragia aliena Pax and K.Hoffm.BrazilNSMedicinal (not specified)NSV[26]
Tragia benthamii BakerNigeria, CameroonWhole plant
Leaves, roots
Whole plant
Abortifacient
Antimalarial
Filaricidal
Decoction
NS
G
P
P
[27]
[28]
[23]
Tragia bicolor Miq.India, Sri LankaNSMedicinalNSV[21]
Tragia brevipes Pax.Rwanda,
Kenya
LeavesAnticancer
Antigonorrhoeic
Aphrodisiac
Erectile dysfunction
Obesity
Uterotonic
Decoction
Chewing
Ash
L
G
G
G

A
G
[29]
[30]
[31]
[32]
[33]
[34]
[35]
[36]
Tragia cinerea (Pax) M.G.Gilbert and Radcl.-Sm.EthiopiaLeaves
NS
Antigonorrhoeic
Anti-inflammatory
Aphrodisiac
Powdered plant, drunk mixed with butter/honeyG
M
G
[37]
[38]
Tragia cordata Michx.America, EthiopiaRootsUrinary tract and external parasitesDecoction
Topical (powdered root)
G
D
[39]
Tragia dioica Sond.South AfricaLeavesFatigue
Tuberculosis
NSV
J
[40]
Tragia doryodes M.G. GilbertEthiopiaLeavesAnthraxDecoctionJ[41]
Tragia durbanensis Kuntze.South AfricaNSSkin rashesNSD[42]
Tragia furialis BojerTanzania, MadagascarRootsAbscess
Analgesic
Antimalarial
Aphrodisiac
Paralysis
Cold water maceration, drunkJ
N
P
G
N
[43]
[44]
[45]
Tragia geraniifolia Klotzsch ex Müll.Arg.ArgentinaRoots

NS
Emollient
Rubefacient
Diuretic
Antirheumatic
NSD
D
G
M
[46]
[47]
Tragia gracilis Griseb.CubaNSNot specifiedNSV[48]
Tragia hildebrandtii Müll.Arg.IndiaNSNot specifiedNSV[49]
Tragia hispida Willd.Sri LankaNSTooth decayNSA[50]
Tragia insuavis Prain.KenyaEndophytesAntibacterialNSJ[51]
Tragia involucrata L.Southern Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh)Whole plant,
Leaves,
Roots
Analgesic
Antidiabetic
Anti-inflammatory
Antimicrobial
Antinociceptive
Antioxidant
Antiparasitic
Antitumor
Diuretic
Hepatoprotective
Decoction
Juice
Poultice
N
A
M
J
N

D
L
G
N
[20,52]
[53]
[23]
[54]
[55]
[56]
[57]
[58]
Tragia meyeriana Müll.Arg.South AfricaNS
Leaves,
Stems
NS (barks, stems and corms mentioned)
Aphrodisiac
Antineoplastic
Immune booster
DecoctionG
L
L
[59]
[60]
[61]
Tragia mitis Hochst. ex A.Rich.EthiopiaRootAntidiarrhealCrushed, mixed with water and sugarA[62]
Tragia mixta M.G.GilbertDjiboutiLeavesAnalgesic
Stomach aches
Tonsilitis
Heated
Poultice
N
A
A
[63]
[64]
Tragia okanyua PaxNamibiaNS
Root
Dizziness
Snake bite
Cardiovascular problems
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
Powdered, drunk with waterN
V
B
G
[65]
[66]
Tragia plukenetii Radcl.-Sm.East Africa, IndiaLeavesAntihyperglycemic
Antitumor
DecoctionA
L
[23]
Tragia praetervisa Chakrab. & N.P.Balakr.India, Sri LankaNSNot specifiedNSV[49]
Tragia preussii PaxCentral African RepublicLeavesRheumatismNSM[67]
Tragia pungens (Forssk.) Müll.Arg.YemenWhole plantAllergy and skin diseases
Antirheumatic
Cytotoxic
Anti-impotence
PasteD
M
L
G
[68]
[69]
[70]
Tragia ramosa Torr.U.S.A., MexicoLeavesNot specifiedNSV[71]
Tragia rupestris Sond.South AfricaWhole plantMedicine (not specified)NSV
V
[72]
[73]
Tragia senegalensis Müll. ArgBeninLeavesAzoospermiaNSG[74]
Tragia sonderi PrainSwazilandRootHIV/AIDSDecoction
Topical
L[75]
Tragia spathulata Benth.West AfricaLeavesAntibacterialNSJ[23]
[76]
Tragia subsessilis PaxUgandaRootTuberculosisNSJ[77]
Tragia uberabana Müll. ArgBrazilNSMedicinal
Toxic
NSV
V
[78]
Tragia vogelii KeayBurkina FasoWhole plantAbortifacientDecoctionG[79]
Tragia volubilis L.Mexico, Antilles, BrazilLeaves, Stem,
Root
Diuretic
Medicinal
STDs
DecoctionG
V
G
[80]
[26]
[46,81]
Tragia yucatanensis Millsp.Belize, Guatemala, MexicoLeavesBurns
Rheumatism
TopicalD
M
[82]
NS: not specified. ATC categories are as follows. A: alimentary tract and metabolism, B: blood and blood-forming organs, C: cardiovascular system, D: dermatological, G: genitourinary system and sex hormones, H: systemic hormonal preparations, excluding sex hormones and insulins, J: anti-infective for systemic use, L: antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents, M: musculo-skeletal system, N: nervous system, P: antiparasitic products, insecticides and repellents; R: respiratory system, S: sensory organs; V: various [24], not present in the classification. STDs: sexually transmitted diseases.
Table 2. In vitro activity of Tragia extracts. Species are in alphabetical order.
Table 2. In vitro activity of Tragia extracts. Species are in alphabetical order.
SpeciesExtractPlant Organs UsedBiological ActivityBiological ModelEffectMethodologyReference
T. benthamiiMethanolWhole plantAntibacterial28 strains (sensitive and MDR) of
Pseudomonas aeruginosa,
Klebsiella pneumoniae,
Enterobacter aerogenes,
Escherichia coli,
Providencia stuartii
Effective against 11/28 strains (39.3%)256–1024 μg/mL
INT colorimetric assay
[83]
T. brevipesMethanol: water 9:1LeafAntibacterial Inhibition zones (mm)500 mg/mL extract—well diffusion assay[84]
Escherichia coli,+2
Salmonella spp., +10
Enterobacter aerogenes,+9
Bacillus cereus,+24
Serratia liquefaciens,+5
Proteus vulgaris+8
T. brevipesMethanol:DCM 1:1LeafAntiproliferativeDU145+IC50: 30 μg/mLExtract
MTT
[85]
HCC-
HELA-
T. involucrataChloroformRootAntidiabeticFertile eggs of white leghorn chicken+0.5, 1 mg/egg. Streptozotocin-induced diabetes[86]
T. involucrataEthyl acetateRootAntibacterial
Antifungal
Inhibition zones (mm)50–250 mg/mL.
Disc diffusion
[53]
Staphylococcus aureus+18
Bacillus subtilis+14
Bacillus brevis+5.7
Staphylococcus epidermidis+0.6
Escherichia coli+17
Shigella disenteriae+3.7
Pseudomonas aeruginosa+9.4
Vibrio cholera+4.7
Trichophyton rubrum+3.7
Malassezia furfur+13.5
T. involucrataMethanolLeafAntifungal Inhibition zoneAgar disc diffusion [87]
Rhizopus stolonifer,+16 ± 0.3 mm
Aspergillus niger,+15 ± 0.2 mm
Alternaria solani,+15 ± 0.6 mm
Mucor indicus,-
Chaetomium globosum,-
Tilletia indica+10 ± 0.5 mm
T. involucrataIsolated hydrocarbons and ethers-Antibacterial Inhibition zone mmAgar disc diffusion[88]
Burkholderia pseudomallei (TES21),+23
Burkholderia pseudomallei (KHW),+25
Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC15380)-
Klebsiella pneumoniae+20
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC27853),-
Vibrio damsela,+19
Salmonella typhi (ATCC51812)+28
T. involucrataMethanol
Ethyl acetate
Chloroform
Petroleum ether
LeafAntiproliferativeK562 cell lines
-
CHCl3
-
AcOEt
MTT[89]
T. involucrataWater +NPLeafAntiurolithiatic-+Struvite crystal growth inhibitory effect2% extract; AgNPs (200 μg mL−1)[90]
T. involucrataMethanolWhole plantRadioprotectiveCultured human peripheral lymphocytes+Pretreatment (10 μg mL−1)60Co gamma irradiation
Comet assay
[91]
T. meyeriana and other plant speciesBoiling waterWhole plantImmunomodulatoryIsolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells+S. aureus stimulation. Inflammatory cytokine secretion in THP-1 monocytes[61]
T. pungensMethanolNSAntibacterial
Cytotoxic
Staphylococcus aureus+(8–14 mm)Disk diffusion assay,
Neutral red uptake assay
[69]
Bacillus subtilis-
Micrococcus flavus-
Pseudomonas aeruginosa-
Candida maltosa-
FL cells+Cytotoxicity. IC50: 70 μg/mL
T. spatulathaEthanol
Methanol
Acetone
LeafAntibacterial
Antifungal
MIC (mg/mL)Agar well diffusion[76]
Staphylococcus aureus,+21
Proteus mirabilis,+21
Klebsiella pneumoniae,+25
Salmonella typhi,+25
Streptococcus pneumoniae,+25
Escherichia coli,-
Candida albicans,-
Aspergillus flavus,-
Fusarium solani-
MDR: multi-drug resistant. NP: nanoparticle. DCM: dichloromethane. NS: not specified; INT: p-Iodonitrotetrazolium chloride; MTT: 3-(4-5-dimethyl-2-thiazoly)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide; MIC; minimum inhibitory concentration; AcOEt: ethyl acetate; AgNP: silver nanoparticles; + active. - not active.
Table 3. In vivo activity of Tragia extracts.
Table 3. In vivo activity of Tragia extracts.
SpeciesExtractPlant Organs UsedAnimal ModelActivityResultsReference
T. benthamiiEthanolWhole plantSwiss albino miceAntimalarial−Very poor activity against P. berghei (NK-65) at 50 mg·kg−1 bw.[27]
T. benthamiiWaterNSChickAnti-inflammatory+Carrageenan-induced foot edema.
Maximal inhibition 84.3% at 300 mg/kg bw.
[93]
T. furialisEthanol–waterNSWhite albino miceAntimalarial+IC50: 639.3 mg·kg−1 bw against P. berghei.[43]
T. involucrata RootWistar ratsHepatoprotective+100–300 mg/kg bw.
Hepatoprotective against CCl4 induced toxicity and antioxidant activity; Attenuation of biomarker alteration (SGOT, SGPT, ALP. TP).
[57]
T. involucrataBenzene: Ethyl acetate 1:1RootCulex quinquefasciatusLarvicidal+0.1–0.4% w/v
Oviposition and phagodeterrence, larvicidal.
[94]
T. involucrataEthanolLeafAlbino rats (male)Nephroprotective+250 and 500 mg/kg bw. Decrease in serum urea and creatinine in acetaminophen-induced toxicity. [95]
T. involucrataHexane
Ethyl acetate
Aerial partsSwiss albino miceAntitumor+50–150 mg/kg bw.
Ehrlich’s Ascites Carcinoma.
DD antitumor activity and increased life span for both extracts.
[96]
T. involucrataHot waterNSWistar rats (male)Diuretic+1650, 2200 mg/kg bw.
Loop diuretic action.
[56]
T. involucrataHot water—freeze driedWhole plantClinical trialAntidiabetic240 mL decoction/day.
FPG decrease from 164.4 ± 20.4 to 130.9 ± 16.2 mg/dL.
[52]
T. involucrataMethanolLeafSwiss albino miceAnalgesic
Anxiolytic
Sedative
+200, 400 mg/kg bw.
Acetic acid writhing and formalin-induced paw licking; behavioral tests; pentobarbital-induced sleep time.
[97]
T. involucrataMethanolLeafWistar ratsAntibacterial+100, 200 mg/kg bw.
Wound healing in S. aureus infections.
[98]
T. involucrataMethanolLeafSwiss albino miceAntiepileptic+400, 800 mg/kg bw
MES, PTZ, PTX induced convulsions
DD.
[99]
T. involucrataMethanolNSSwiss albino miceRadioprotective+100 mg/kg bw.
DD survival increase
[100]
T. involucrataMethanolRootCharles-Foster rats
Swiss albino mice
Analgesic
Anti-inflammatory
+Carrageenan paw edema, cotton pellet granulomata, acetic acid writhing.[101]
T. involucrataMethanolRootWistar ratsAntibacterial+100, 200 mg/kg bw.
Wound healing in S. aureus infections
[102]
T. involucrataMethanolRootCharles−Foster rats
Swiss albino mice
CNS depressant+100–300 mg/kg bw.
Behavioral pattern, spontaneous motility, pentobarbitone-induced sleep, body temperature, aggressive behavior pattern and conditioned avoidance response (CAR).
[103]
T. involucrataMethanol
Chloroform
Whole plantAlbino ratsAnti-inflammatory+100, 300 mg/kg bw.
Both extracts.
Carrageenan paw oedema.
[54]
T. involucrataMethanol
Ethyl acetate
Whole plantSwiss albino miceAnalgesic+500 mg/kg bw.
Acetic acid model; tail flick model analgesic activity.
[55]
T. involucrataWaterLeafWistar rats
Swiss mice (male)
Anti-inflammatory+50–400 mg/kg bw
in carrageenan-induced hindpaw edema and cotton pellet granuloma models.
[104]
T. involucrataWater +NPLeafWistar rats (male)Antiurolithiatic+200 mg/kg bw.
CaOx stone formation inhibition in ethylene glycol-induced urolithiasis.
[90]
T. plukenetiiEthanolAerial partsWistar rats (male)Antihyperglycemic+At an oral dose of 150 and 300 mg/kg bw.
Oral glucose tolerance test in alloxan induced diabetic rats.
[105]
T. plukenetiiEthanolWhole plantWistar rats
Guinea pigs
Rabbits
Antipyretic
Diuretic
Antiasthmatic
Analgesic
Antispasmodic
+100 mg/kg bw.
+Antipyretic: Brewer’s yeast-induced hyperpyrexia method.
+Diuretic: in vivo Lipschitz test method.
+Antiasthmatic: Isolation of guinea pig ileum preparation; histamine-induced bronchoconstruction.
+Analgesic: acetic acid writhing response.
+Antispasmodic: studies on isolated rabbit jejunum.
[106]
T. plukenetiiEthanolWhole plantSwiss albino mice (male)Antitumor+100–300mg/kg bw.
Ehrlich ascites carcinoma survivability.
Antioxidant parameters increased DD.
[107]
T. plukenetiiMethanol
Benzene
Chloroform
LeafSwiss albino miceAnticonvulsant+100 mg/kg bw.
Methanol extract against PTZ-induced convulsions.
[108]
NS: not specified; −: no activity; +: activity present; DD: dose-dependent, bw: body weight; MES: maximal electroshock; PTZ: pentylenetetrazol; PTX: picrotoxin; FPG: fasting plasma glucose; SGOT: serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase; SGPT: serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase; ALP: alkaline phosphatase.
Table 4. Compounds isolated/identified in Tragia extracts and oils and their biological effect.
Table 4. Compounds isolated/identified in Tragia extracts and oils and their biological effect.
No.Compound IdentifiedIsolatedMethodology UsedSpeciesCollection areaPlant Organ UsedUseEffectReference
Acetal
11,1-diethoxy-2- methylpropaneX Ethanol extract
GC, MS
T. plukenetiiNSWhole plantNSNS[111]
Aldehydes
216-heptadecenalX Ethanol extract
GC, MS
T. plukenetiiNSWhole plantNSNS[111]
3HexanalX Hydrodistillation
GC/GC-MS
T. benthamiiIbadan, NigeriaLeavesNSNS[112]
Alkaloid
4(E)-4-(1-hydroxypropyl)-7,8-dimethyl-9-(prop-1-en-1-yl)-[1,3] dioxolo [4,5-g]quinolin-6(5H)-oneXXAcidified ethanol extract
GC, MS, LC
T. plukenetiiNSWhole plantNSNS[111]
Esters
54-oxo-4H-pyran-2,6-dicarboxylic acid bis-[6-methyl-heptyl] esterXXEthanol extract
IR
1H, 13C NMR, MS
T. involucrataSalem, IndiaRootsAntidiabeticBlood glucose reduction[86]
6Ethyl linoleateXXEthanol extract
GC, MS
T. plukenetiiNSWhole plantNSNS[111]
7Ethyl palmitateXXEthanol extract
GC, MS
T. plukenetiiNSWhole plantNSNS[111]
Ether
8Vinyl hexyl etherXXAqueous extract
GC, MS
T. involucrataTamil Nadu, IndiaLeafAntibacterial
Escherichia coli
Proteus vulgaris
Staphylococcus aureus
MBC 12.25 μg/mL[98,113]
Flavonoids
93-(2,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-6,7-dimethoxy-2,3-dihydrochromen-4-oneXXEthyl acetate extract
FTIR, MS, 1H NMR
T. involucrataOdisha, IndiaRootAntibacterial
Fungicidal
MIC 1.25-12.5 μg/mL[53]
10IridinXXEthyl acetate extract
FTIR, MS, 1H NMR
T. involucrataOdisha, IndiaRootToxic [53]
11QuercetinXXEthyl acetate extract
FTIR, MS, 1H NMR
T. involucrataOdisha, IndiaRootAntioxidant [53]
12RutinXXEthyl acetate extract
FTIR, MS, 1H NMR
T. involucrataOdisha, IndiaRootAntioxidant [53]
Heterocycle
132,5-dithia-3,6-diazabicyclo[2.2.1]heptaneXX95% aqueous ethanol extraction
1H, 13C NMR
T. benthamiiIbadan, NigeriaWhole plantNS [114]
Hydrocarbons
142,6-dimethylheptane XXAqueous extract
GC, MS
T. involucrataTamil Nadu, IndiaLeafAntibacterial
Proteus vulgaris
MBC 10 μg/mL[98]
152,4-dimethylhexaneXXAqueous extract
GC, MS
T. involucrataTamil Nadu, IndiaLeafAntibacterial
Staphylococcus aureus
MBC 12.25 μg/mL[98]
162-methylnonaneXXAqueous extract
GC, MS
T. involucrataTamil Nadu, IndiaLeafAntibacterial
Escherichia coli
Proteus vulgaris
Staphylococcus aureus
MIC 5.0 μg/mL[98]
17Shellsol
(2-methyldecane)
XXAqueous extract
GC, MS
T. involucrataTamil Nadu, IndiaLeafAntibacterial
Proteus vulgaris
Staphylococcus aureus
MBC 25.0 μg/mL[98]
183,5-di-tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisoleXX95% aqueous ethanol extraction
1H, 13C NMR
T. benthamiiIbadan, NigeriaWhole plantAntioxidant [114]
195-hydroxy-1-methylpiperdin-2-oneXXMethanol extract
IR, 1H, 13C RMN, LC
T. involucrataKerala, IndiaLeafAntihistamineMuscle relaxant, bronchodilating and anti-allergic effects[115]
Polyols
20ErythritolXX95% aqueous ethanol extraction
1H, 13C NMR
T. benthamiiIbadan, NigeriaWhole plantNSNS[114]
21GlycerolXX95% aqueous ethanol extraction
1H, 13C NMR
T. benthamiiIbadan, NigeriaWhole plantNSNS[114]
Terpenoids
2210,13-dimethoxy-17-(6-methylheptan-2-yl)-2,3,4,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17-tetradecahydro-1H-cyclopenta[α]phenanthrene.XXEthyl acetate extract
FTIR, MS, 1H NMR
T. involucrataOdisha, IndiaRootNSNS[53]
23StigmasterolX Aqueous extract
GC, MS
T. involucrata LeafNSNS[98]
24CaryophylleneX Hydrodistillation
GC/GC-MS
T. benthamiiIbadan, NigeriaLeavesAnti inflammatory [112]
25CitronellalXXEthanol extract
IR, 1H RMN, LC
T. ramosaMaharashtra, IndiaLeavesAntibacterial [71]
26ClerodaneXXEthanol extract
IR, 1H RMN, LC
T. ramosaMaharashtra, IndiaLeavesNSNS[71]
27GeranylacetoneX Hydrodistillation
GC/GC-MS
T. benthamiiIbadan, NigeriaLeavesNSNS[112]
28Neophytadiene (2-(4,8,12-Trimethyltridecyl) buta-1,3-diene)XXEthanol extract
GC, MS
T. plukenetiiNSWhole plantNSNS[111]
29PhytolXX95% aqueous ethanol extraction
1H, 13C NMR
T. benthamiiIbadan, NigeriaWhole plantNSNS[114]
30Squalene (all trans)XXEthanol extract
GC, MS
T. plukenetiiNSWhole plantNSNS[111]
31α-terpineneXXEthanol extract
IR, 1H RMN, LC
T. ramosaMaharashtra, IndiaLeavesAntiinflammatory,
Antimicrobial
NS[71]
GC: gas chromatography; MS: mass spectrometry; LC: liquid chromatography; IR: infrared spectroscopy; NMR: nuclear magnetic resonance; FTIR: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; Q-TOF: quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry; TLC: thin layer chromatography; NS: not specified.
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Duarte-Casar, R.; Romero-Benavides, J.C. Tragia L. Genus: Ethnopharmacological Use, Phytochemical Composition and Biological Activity. Plants 2021, 10, 2717. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122717

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Duarte-Casar R, Romero-Benavides JC. Tragia L. Genus: Ethnopharmacological Use, Phytochemical Composition and Biological Activity. Plants. 2021; 10(12):2717. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122717

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Duarte-Casar, Rodrigo, and Juan Carlos Romero-Benavides. 2021. "Tragia L. Genus: Ethnopharmacological Use, Phytochemical Composition and Biological Activity" Plants 10, no. 12: 2717. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122717

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