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Bioactive Phytochemicals from Mercurialis spp. Used in Traditional Spanish Medicine

Department of Vegetal Biology, Ecology and Earth Science, Faculty of Sciences, University of Extremadura, 06071 Badajoz, Spain
Department of Forest Production and Biodiversity, Institute of Research Agrarian Center La Orden—Valdesequera, Scientific and Technological Research Center of Extremadura (CICYTEX) A5 Km 372, 06187 Guadajira, Badajoz, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2019, 8(7), 193;
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 27 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Derived Chemicals: A Source of Inspiration for New Drugs)
PDF [1696 KB, uploaded 3 July 2019]


Plants from the genus Mercurialis have a long history of use as herbal remedies in traditional Spanish medicine. The growing interest in the conservation of knowledge related to biodiversity has encouraged us to review the bioactive phytochemicals from the four most widespread Mercurialis species in the Iberian Peninsula (M. annua L., M. ambigua L., M. perennis L., and M. tomentosa L.). First, the medicinal uses of these four species throughout Spain were compiled, and then a bibliographical search on their chemical composition was conducted in an attempt to justify their reported traditional uses. We found that most of the medicinal uses of Mercurialis spp. are supported by scientific evidence. This includes its antidiabetic and antihypertensive properties attributable to the flavonoid rutin and narcissin, respectively; its benefits in the treatment of skin dark spots, attributable to mequinol; and its anti-inflammatory activity, attributable to scopoletin, kaempferol, squalene, and cycloartenol. This review contributes to the validation of the medicinal uses of Mercurialis spp. in Spain and provides some new avenues for further investigations on the biological activity of this interesting medicinal plant. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioactive phytochemicals; Mercurialis spp.; traditional Spanish medicine bioactive phytochemicals; Mercurialis spp.; traditional Spanish medicine

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Blanco-Salas, J.; Vazquez, F.M.; Hortigón-Vinagre, M.P.; Ruiz-Tellez, T. Bioactive Phytochemicals from Mercurialis spp. Used in Traditional Spanish Medicine. Plants 2019, 8, 193.

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