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Special Issue "Biological Activities of Medicinal Plants"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 April 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Laura De Martino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132, 84084 Fisciano, Salerno, Italy
Interests: essential oils; natural product; biological activity; GC–MS characterization; antioxidant activity; polyphenols determination; phytotoxic activity; secondary metabolites
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Medicinal plants have been used for many years for therapy and prevention of various human diseases because they have always shown many different biological acitvities (e.g., antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer). An advantage of their use is that they provide patients with single natural specific compounds (for example, alkaloids, glycosides, saponines, polyphenols, flavonoids), have smoother action, and are better tolerated than synthetic drugs; moreover, they present fewer cumulation problems and can therefore be utilized for a long time. For these reasons, interest in medicinal plants and in their active compounds is currently increasing. The focus of this Special Issue is on current renewed interest concerning medicinal plants, and it is aimed at compiling an exhaustive summary of the potential biological activities of medicinal plants and/or their specific isolated compounds and their current and potential future applications.

Dr. Laura De Martino
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • medicinal plants
  • secondary metabolites
  • natural compounds
  • biological activities
  • bioactive compounds

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Modulatory Effect of Chelidonium majus Extract and Its Alkaloids on LPS-Stimulated Cytokine Secretion in Human Neutrophils
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25040842 (registering DOI) - 14 Feb 2020
Abstract
Due to certain differences in terms of molecular structure, isoquinoline alkaloids from Chelidonium majus engage in various biological activities. Apart from their well-documented antimicrobial potential, some phenanthridine and protoberberine derivatives as well as C. majus extract present with anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects. In [...] Read more.
Due to certain differences in terms of molecular structure, isoquinoline alkaloids from Chelidonium majus engage in various biological activities. Apart from their well-documented antimicrobial potential, some phenanthridine and protoberberine derivatives as well as C. majus extract present with anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects. In this study, the LC–MS/MS method was used to determine alkaloids, phenolic acids, carboxylic acids, and hydroxybenzoic acids. We investigated five individually tested alkaloids (coptisine, berberine, chelidonine, chelerythrine, and sanguinarine) as well as C. majus root extract for their effect on the secretion of IL-1β, IL-8, and TNF-α in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (neutrophils). Berberine, chelidonine, and chelerythrine significantly decreased the secretion of TNF-α in a concentration-dependent manner. Sanguinarine was found to be the most potent inhibitor of IL-1β secretion. However, the overproduction of IL-8 and TNF-α and a high cytotoxicity for these compounds were observed. Coptisine was highly cytotoxic and slightly decreased the secretion of the studied cytokines. The extract (1.25–12.5 μg/mL) increased cytokine secretion in a concentration-dependent manner, but an increase in cytotoxicity was also noted. The alkaloids were active at very low concentrations (0.625–2.5 μM), but their potential cytotoxic effects, except for chelidonine and chelerythrine, should not be ignored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activities of Medicinal Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Phytochemical Characterization and In Vitro Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of Combretum Collinum Fresen Leaves Extracts from Benin
Molecules 2020, 25(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25020288 - 10 Jan 2020
Abstract
Leaves from Combretum collinum Fresen (Combretaceae) are commonly used for the treatment of inflammatory conditions, wound healing and bacterial infections in traditional West African medicine. This research focuses on the characterization of the phenolic profile and lipophilic compounds of leaves extracts of C. [...] Read more.
Leaves from Combretum collinum Fresen (Combretaceae) are commonly used for the treatment of inflammatory conditions, wound healing and bacterial infections in traditional West African medicine. This research focuses on the characterization of the phenolic profile and lipophilic compounds of leaves extracts of C. collinum. Studies of the in vitro anti-inflammatory activity were performed in TNFα stimulated HaCaT cells and antibacterial activity was evaluated with agar well diffusion and microdilution assays. Antioxidant activity was determined by DPPH and ABTS assays and compared to standards. The phytochemical studies confirmed myricetin-3-O-rhamnoside and myricetin-3-O-glucoside as major components of the leaves extracts, each contributing significantly to the antioxidant activity of the hydrophilic extracts. GC-MS analysis identified 19 substances that were confirmed by comparison with spectral library data and authentic standards. Combretum collinum aqueous leaves extract decreased pro-inflammatory mediators in TNFα stimulated HaCaT cells. Further investigations showed that myricetin-3-O-rhamnoside has an anti-inflammatory effect on IL-8 secretion. In the antimicrobial screening, the largest inhibition zones were found against S. epidermidis, MRSA and S. aureus. MIC values resulted in 275.0 µg/mL for S. epidermidis and 385.5 µg/mL for MRSA. The in vitro anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant activity supports topical use of C. collinum leaves extracts in traditional West African medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activities of Medicinal Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Bioactive Plant Compounds in Coffee Charcoal (Coffeae carbo) Extract Inhibit Cytokine Release from Activated Human THP-1 Macrophages
Molecules 2019, 24(23), 4263; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24234263 - 22 Nov 2019
Abstract
The herbal preparation coffee charcoal is produced by over-roasting and milling green dried Coffea arabica L. seeds, and has a long-standing tradition in the treatment of inflammatory and gastrointestinal disorders. Its therapeutic properties are commonly attributed to adsorptive and astringent effects. This insufficiently [...] Read more.
The herbal preparation coffee charcoal is produced by over-roasting and milling green dried Coffea arabica L. seeds, and has a long-standing tradition in the treatment of inflammatory and gastrointestinal disorders. Its therapeutic properties are commonly attributed to adsorptive and astringent effects. This insufficiently explains its mode of action, especially when used in the treatment of inflammatory diseases in lower dosages. Our investigations aimed to identify bioactive secondary plant metabolites affecting cytokine-signaling. Thus, a phytochemical analysis of coffee charcoal extract was conducted using HPLC and LC/MS. Trigonelline, neochlorogenic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeine, cryptochlorogenic acid, feruloylquinic acid isomers, and a caffeoylquinolacton were identified in the extract. Subsequently, the effects of coffee charcoal extract, chlorogenic acid isomers, their metabolite caffeic acid, caffeine, and trigonelline on cytokine (TNF, IL-6, MCP-1) release from LPS-challenged human THP-1 macrophages were examined to evaluate anti-inflammatory activity. Coffee charcoal showed concentration-dependent mild-to-medium inhibitory effects. The chlorogenic acid isomers and caffeic acid inhibited the TNF release, with cryptochlorogenic acid exerting the most distinct effects, as well as decreasing the release of IL-6 and MCP-1. In addition, scanning electron microscopic images provided an impression of the particle constitution, indicating a larger particle size and less structured surface of coffee charcoal in comparison to activated charcoal. In conclusion, our findings underline that beyond adsorptive effects, coffee charcoal exhibits pharmacological properties, which derive from a spectrum of secondary plant metabolites and support the therapeutic use in inflammatory diseases. Chlorogenic acids, particularly cryptochlorogenic acid, appear as pivotal bioactive compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activities of Medicinal Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of the Essential Oil from Pistacia lentiscus Var. chia on the Lateral Line System and the Gene Expression Profile of Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Molecules 2019, 24(21), 3919; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24213919 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mastic essential oil exhibits anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties. With the growing interest of the use of mastic oil in the food and pharmaceutical industry, systematic in vivo studies are needed to address controlled usage and safety issues. In the present work we [...] Read more.
Mastic essential oil exhibits anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties. With the growing interest of the use of mastic oil in the food and pharmaceutical industry, systematic in vivo studies are needed to address controlled usage and safety issues. In the present work we evaluated the safety of mastic oil using as a model the zebrafish lateral line system. In addition, we studied the gene expression profile of zebrafish fed with mastic oil-supplemented diet using microarray analysis. Our results showed that the hair cells of lateral line neuromasts are functional upon exposure of zebrafish larvae up to 20 ppm of mastic essential oil, while treatment with higher concentrations, 100 and 200 ppm, resulted in increased larvae mortality. Dietary supplementation of zebrafish with mastic essential oil led to differential expression of interferon response-related genes as well as the immune responsive gene 1 (irg1) that links cellular metabolism with immune defense. Notably, mucin 5.2, a constituent of the mucus hydrogel that protects the host against invading pathogens, was up-regulated. Our in vivo work provides information concerning the safety of mastic essential oil use and suggests dietary effects on gene expression related with the physical and immunochemical properties of the gastrointestinal system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activities of Medicinal Plants)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Antiestrogenic activity of Guajadial fraction, from Guava Leaves (Psidium guajava L.)
Authors: Jaqueline Bazioli
Affiliation: Institute of Chemistry, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CP 6154, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil
Abstract: The research of natural products has allowed the discovery of biologically relevant compounds inspired by plant secondary metabolites, which contributes to the development of many chemotherapeutic drugs used in cancer treatment. Around 75% of anticancer drugs are derived from natural products, showing the great potential of such products in new drug research and development for the treatment of this set of diseases. Psidium guajava leaves present a diverse phytochemical composition including flavonoids, phenolics, meroterpenoids and triterpenes as the major bioactive constituents. In particular, guajadial, a caryophyllene-based meroterpenoid, has been studied for its potential anticancer effects in tumor cells and in experimental models with laboratory animals. However, little information has been reported about the role and mechanism of action of guajadial in tumor inhibition. This study evaluated the antiproliferative activity and anti-estrogenic action of an active fraction obtained from the Psidium guajava L. containing guajadial as principal active compound. Fraction containing guajadial were obtained by chromatographic techniques and showed promising antiproliferative activity in vitro with selectivity for human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MCF-7 BUS (TGI = 5,59 and 2.27 mg/mL, respectively). Also, evaluation of anti-estrogenic activity in vivo was realized demonstrating that Guajadial fraction was able to block the proliferative effect of estradiol on the uterus rats pre-pubescent. These results suggest a correlation between the antiproliferative and the anti-estrogenic activity of Guajadial, which possibly acts in tumor inhibition through estrogen receptors due to its structural similarity.

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