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Featured Reviews in Natural Products Chemistry

A topical collection in Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This collection belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

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Editors


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Collection Editor

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Collection Editor
Instituto de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación en Biotecnologia Sanitaria at Miguel Hernández University, Elche, Spain
Interests: natural compounds; polyphenols; metabolic disorders; obesity; cancer; antimicrobial; skin; cosmetics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural compounds from animal, microbial, vegetal, or fungi origin represent countless sources of new compounds that can be used as novel drugs if their activity, bioavailability, and toxicity are adequate.

The literature contains plenty of examples covering most of the more relevant diseases that have been treated using a plethora of chemical structures and extraction methods for compounds of natural origin. Furthermore, many actual drugs are based on natural compounds, pointing out the importance of natural compounds in novel drug discovery.

This Topical Collection aims to compile reviews covering the most recent advances in the use of natural compounds in any scientific fields, with special emphasis on metabolic disorders, cancer, antimicrobials development, and cosmetics. Reviews covering extractive methods or “omic” techniques are also welcome.

Dr. Enrique Barrajón-Catalán
Prof. Dr. Vicente Micol
Dr. María Herranz-López
Collection Editors

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Keywords

  • natural products
  • polyphenols
  • carotenoids
  • metabolic disorders
  • antimicrobials
  • cancer
  • cosmetics  

Published Papers (13 papers)

2023

Jump to: 2022, 2021

30 pages, 4579 KiB  
Review
Quinones as Promising Compounds against Respiratory Viruses: A Review
by Ivan Chan-Zapata, Rocío Borges-Argáez and Guadalupe Ayora-Talavera
Molecules 2023, 28(4), 1981; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28041981 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2998
Abstract
Respiratory viruses represent a world public health problem, giving rise to annual seasonal epidemics and several pandemics caused by some of these viruses, including the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2, which continues to date. Some antiviral drugs have been licensed for [...] Read more.
Respiratory viruses represent a world public health problem, giving rise to annual seasonal epidemics and several pandemics caused by some of these viruses, including the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2, which continues to date. Some antiviral drugs have been licensed for the treatment of influenza, but they cause side effects and lead to resistant viral strains. Likewise, aerosolized ribavirin is the only drug approved for the therapy of infections by the respiratory syncytial virus, but it possesses various limitations. On the other hand, no specific drugs are licensed to treat other viral respiratory diseases. In this sense, natural products and their derivatives have appeared as promising alternatives in searching for new compounds with antiviral activity. Besides their chemical properties, quinones have demonstrated interesting biological activities, including activity against respiratory viruses. This review summarizes the activity against respiratory viruses and their molecular targets by the different types of quinones (both natural and synthetic). Thus, the present work offers a general overview of the importance of quinones as an option for the future pharmacological treatment of viral respiratory infections, subject to additional studies that support their effectiveness and safety. Full article
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2022

Jump to: 2023, 2021

50 pages, 2769 KiB  
Review
Mechanistic Insights into the Pharmacological Significance of Silymarin
by Karan Wadhwa, Rakesh Pahwa, Manish Kumar, Shobhit Kumar, Prabodh Chander Sharma, Govind Singh, Ravinder Verma, Vineet Mittal, Inderbir Singh, Deepak Kaushik and Philippe Jeandet
Molecules 2022, 27(16), 5327; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27165327 - 21 Aug 2022
Cited by 41 | Viewed by 7117
Abstract
Medicinal plants are considered the reservoir of diverse therapeutic agents and have been traditionally employed worldwide to heal various ailments for several decades. Silymarin is a plant-derived mixture of polyphenolic flavonoids originating from the fruits and akenes of Silybum marianum and contains three [...] Read more.
Medicinal plants are considered the reservoir of diverse therapeutic agents and have been traditionally employed worldwide to heal various ailments for several decades. Silymarin is a plant-derived mixture of polyphenolic flavonoids originating from the fruits and akenes of Silybum marianum and contains three flavonolignans, silibinins (silybins), silychristin and silydianin, along with taxifolin. Silybins are the major constituents in silymarin with almost 70–80% abundance and are accountable for most of the observed therapeutic activity. Silymarin has also been acknowledged from the ancient period and is utilized in European and Asian systems of traditional medicine for treating various liver disorders. The contemporary literature reveals that silymarin is employed significantly as a neuroprotective, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-viral, anti-hypertensive, immunomodulator, anti-inflammatory, photoprotective and detoxification agent by targeting various cellular and molecular pathways, including MAPK, mTOR, β-catenin and Akt, different receptors and growth factors, as well as inhibiting numerous enzymes and the gene expression of several apoptotic proteins and inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, the current review aims to recapitulate and update the existing knowledge regarding the pharmacological potential of silymarin as evidenced by vast cellular, animal, and clinical studies, with a particular emphasis on its mechanisms of action. Full article
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20 pages, 3747 KiB  
Review
Dittrichia graveolens (L.) Greuter, a Rapidly Spreading Invasive Plant: Chemistry and Bioactivity
by Maria Ponticelli, Ludovica Lela, Daniela Russo, Immacolata Faraone, Chiara Sinisgalli, Mayssa Ben Mustapha, Germana Esposito, Hichem Ben Jannet, Valeria Costantino and Luigi Milella
Molecules 2022, 27(3), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27030895 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3251
Abstract
Dittrichia graveolens L. Greuter belonging to the Asteraceae family, is an aromatic herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean region. This plant species has been extensively studied for its biological activities, including antioxidant, antitumor, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anticholinesterase, and antityrosinase, and for its peculiar [...] Read more.
Dittrichia graveolens L. Greuter belonging to the Asteraceae family, is an aromatic herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean region. This plant species has been extensively studied for its biological activities, including antioxidant, antitumor, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anticholinesterase, and antityrosinase, and for its peculiar metabolic profile. In particular, bioactivities are related to terpenes and flavonoids metabolites, such as borneol (40), tomentosin (189), inuviscolide (204). However, D. graveolens is also well known for causing health problems both in animals and humans. Moreover, the species is currently undergoing a dramatic northward expansion of its native range related to climate change, now including North Europe, California, and Australia. This review represents an updated overview of the 52 literature papers published in Scopus and PubMed dealing with expansion, chemistry (262 different compounds), pharmacological effects, and toxicology of D. graveolens up to October 2021. The review is intended to boost further studies to determine the molecular pathways involved in the observed activities, bioavailability, and clinical studies to explore new potential applications. Full article
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30 pages, 13459 KiB  
Review
The Biodiversity of the Genus Dictyota: Phytochemical and Pharmacological Natural Products Prospectives
by Mohammed I. Rushdi, Iman A. M. Abdel-Rahman, Eman Zekry Attia, Hani Saber, Abdullah A. Saber, Gerhard Bringmann and Usama Ramadan Abdelmohsen
Molecules 2022, 27(3), 672; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27030672 - 20 Jan 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5400
Abstract
Although a broad variety of classes of bioactive compounds have already been isolated from seaweeds of the genus Dictyota, most different species are still chemically and biologically unexplored. Dictyota species are well-known brown seaweeds belonging to the Dictyotaceae (Phaeophyta). The phytochemical composition [...] Read more.
Although a broad variety of classes of bioactive compounds have already been isolated from seaweeds of the genus Dictyota, most different species are still chemically and biologically unexplored. Dictyota species are well-known brown seaweeds belonging to the Dictyotaceae (Phaeophyta). The phytochemical composition within the genus Dictyota has recently received considerable interest, and a vast array of components, including diterpenes, sesquiterepenes, sterols, amino acids, as well as saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, have been characterized. The contribution of these valued metabolites to the biological potential, which includes anti-proliferative, anti-microbial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hyperpigmentation activities, of the genus Dictyota has also been explored. Therefore, this is the most comprehensive review, focusing on the published literature relevant to the chemically and pharmacologically diverse biopharmaceuticals isolated from different species of the genus Dictyota during the period from 1976 to now. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2023, 2022

64 pages, 24281 KiB  
Review
Abietane Diterpenes of the Genus Plectranthus sensu lato
by Mária Gáborová, Karel Šmejkal and Renata Kubínová
Molecules 2022, 27(1), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27010166 - 28 Dec 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2848
Abstract
Plectranthus (Lamiaceae), which—according to the latest systematic revision—includes three separate genera (Coleus, Plectranthus sensu stricto, and Equilabium), is a genus widely used in traditional medicine—mainly in the treatment of various ailments of the digestive tract, respiratory tract, and skin. [...] Read more.
Plectranthus (Lamiaceae), which—according to the latest systematic revision—includes three separate genera (Coleus, Plectranthus sensu stricto, and Equilabium), is a genus widely used in traditional medicine—mainly in the treatment of various ailments of the digestive tract, respiratory tract, and skin. Many species of Plectranthus s.l. have been shown to produce phenolic compounds and terpenes. Diterpenes, especially those of the abietane class, are the most studied group of secondary metabolites found in Plectranthus s.l., which is characterized by a significant structural diversity arising from the oxygenation and further rearrangement of the basic tricyclic abietane skeleton to a complete aromatization of the ring system. This review summarizes the known information on abietane diterpenes, showing their structures, sources, and biosynthesis. A classification of these compounds into nine groups, according to the arrangement of their ring C, is used. Royleanones, spirocoleons, and hydroquinones are the largest classes of abietane diterpenes, covering more than 70% of all the compounds reviewed. Full article
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27 pages, 5182 KiB  
Review
A Glossary for Chemical Approaches towards Unlocking the Trove of Metabolic Treasures in Actinomycetes
by Jianye Zhang, Heba Ali Hassan, Usama Ramadan Abdelmohsen and Eman Maher Zahran
Molecules 2022, 27(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27010142 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2966
Abstract
Actinobacterial natural products showed a critical basis for the discovery of new antibiotics as well as other lead secondary metabolites. Varied environmental and physiological signals touch the antibiotic machinery that faced a serious decline in the last decades. The reason was exposed by [...] Read more.
Actinobacterial natural products showed a critical basis for the discovery of new antibiotics as well as other lead secondary metabolites. Varied environmental and physiological signals touch the antibiotic machinery that faced a serious decline in the last decades. The reason was exposed by genomic sequencing data, which revealed that Actinomycetes harbor a large portion of silent biosynthetic gene clusters in their genomes that encrypt for secondary metabolites. These gene clusters are linked with a great reservoir of yet unknown molecules, and arranging them is considered a major challenge for biotechnology approaches. In the present paper, we discuss the recent strategies that have been taken to augment the yield of secondary metabolites via awakening these cryptic genes in Actinomycetes with emphasis on chemical signaling molecules used to induce the antibiotics biosynthesis. The rationale, types, applications and mechanisms are discussed in detail, to reveal the productive path for the unearthing of new metabolites, covering the literature until the end of 2020. Full article
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19 pages, 1115 KiB  
Review
Berberine as a Potential Anticancer Agent: A Comprehensive Review
by Abdur Rauf, Tareq Abu-Izneid, Anees Ahmed Khalil, Muhammad Imran, Zafar Ali Shah, Talha Bin Emran, Saikat Mitra, Zidan Khan, Fahad A. Alhumaydhi, Abdullah S. M. Aljohani, Ishaq Khan, Md. Mominur Rahman, Philippe Jeandet and Tanweer Aslam Gondal
Molecules 2021, 26(23), 7368; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26237368 - 4 Dec 2021
Cited by 114 | Viewed by 10854
Abstract
Berberine (BBR), a potential bioactive agent, has remarkable health benefits. A substantial amount of research has been conducted to date to establish the anticancer potential of BBR. The present review consolidates salient information concerning the promising anticancer activity of this compound. The therapeutic [...] Read more.
Berberine (BBR), a potential bioactive agent, has remarkable health benefits. A substantial amount of research has been conducted to date to establish the anticancer potential of BBR. The present review consolidates salient information concerning the promising anticancer activity of this compound. The therapeutic efficacy of BBR has been reported in several studies regarding colon, breast, pancreatic, liver, oral, bone, cutaneous, prostate, intestine, and thyroid cancers. BBR prevents cancer cell proliferation by inducing apoptosis and controlling the cell cycle as well as autophagy. BBR also hinders tumor cell invasion and metastasis by down-regulating metastasis-related proteins. Moreover, BBR is also beneficial in the early stages of cancer development by lowering epithelial–mesenchymal transition protein expression. Despite its significance as a potentially promising drug candidate, there are currently no pure berberine preparations approved to treat specific ailments. Hence, this review highlights our current comprehensive knowledge of sources, extraction methods, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic profiles of berberine, as well as the proposed mechanisms of action associated with its anticancer potential. The information presented here will help provide a baseline for researchers, scientists, and drug developers regarding the use of berberine as a promising candidate in treating different types of cancers. Full article
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31 pages, 1629 KiB  
Review
The Compositional Aspects of Edible Flowers as an Emerging Horticultural Product
by Eleomar de O. Pires, Jr., Francesco Di Gioia, Youssef Rouphael, Isabel C. F. R. Ferreira, Cristina Caleja, Lillian Barros and Spyridon A. Petropoulos
Molecules 2021, 26(22), 6940; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26226940 - 17 Nov 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 5377
Abstract
Edible flowers are becoming very popular, as consumers are seeking healthier and more attractive food products that can improve their diet aesthetics and diversify their dietary sources of micronutrients. The great variety of flowers that can be eaten is also associated with high [...] Read more.
Edible flowers are becoming very popular, as consumers are seeking healthier and more attractive food products that can improve their diet aesthetics and diversify their dietary sources of micronutrients. The great variety of flowers that can be eaten is also associated with high variability in chemical composition, especially in bioactive compounds content that may significantly contribute to human health. The advanced analytical techniques allowed us to reveal the chemical composition of edible flowers and identify new compounds and effects that were not known until recently. Considering the numerous species of edible flowers, the present review aims to categorize the various species depending on their chemical composition and also to present the main groups of compounds that are usually present in the species that are most commonly used for culinary purposes. Moreover, special attention is given to those species that contain potentially toxic or poisonous compounds as their integration in human diets should be carefully considered. In conclusion, the present review provides useful information regarding the chemical composition and the main groups of chemical compounds that are present in the flowers of the most common species. Full article
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48 pages, 9208 KiB  
Review
Natural Products from Medicinal Plants against Phytopathogenic Fusarium Species: Current Research Endeavours, Challenges and Prospects
by Hlabana A. Seepe, Winston Nxumalo and Stephen O. Amoo
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6539; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216539 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 4366
Abstract
Many Fusarium species are pathogenic, causing crop diseases during crop production and spoilage of agricultural products in both commercial and smallholder farming. Fusarium attack often results into food contamination, yield loss and increases in food insecurity and food prices. Synthetic fungicides have been [...] Read more.
Many Fusarium species are pathogenic, causing crop diseases during crop production and spoilage of agricultural products in both commercial and smallholder farming. Fusarium attack often results into food contamination, yield loss and increases in food insecurity and food prices. Synthetic fungicides have been used as a control strategy for the management of crop diseases caused by Fusarium pathogens. The negative effects associated with application of many synthetic pesticides has necessitated the need to search for alternative control strategies that are affordable and environmentally safe. Research on medicinal plants as control agents for Fusarium pathogens has received attention since plants are readily available and they contain wide variety of secondary metabolites that are biodegradable. The activities of solvent extracts, essential oils and compounds from medicinal plants have been tested against Fusarium phytopathogenic species. A summary of recent information on antifungal activity of plants against Fusarium species is valuable for the development of biopesticides. This paper reviews the antifungal research conducted on medicinal plants against Fusarium pathogens, over a 10-year period, from January 2012 to May 2021. We also highlight the challenges and opportunities of using natural products from medicinal plants in crop protection. Several databases (Science Direct and Web of Science) were used to obtain information on botanical products used to control Fusarium diseases on crops. Keywords search used included natural products, antifungal, Fusarium, crops diseases, phytopathogenic, natural compounds and essential oil. Full article
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15 pages, 3238 KiB  
Review
Huperzine A and Its Neuroprotective Molecular Signaling in Alzheimer’s Disease
by María Jesús Friedli and Nibaldo C. Inestrosa
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6531; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216531 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 41 | Viewed by 7895
Abstract
Huperzine A (HupA), an alkaloid found in the club moss Huperzia serrata, has been used for centuries in Chinese folk medicine to treat dementia. The effects of this alkaloid have been attributed to its ability to inhibit the cholinergic enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), [...] Read more.
Huperzine A (HupA), an alkaloid found in the club moss Huperzia serrata, has been used for centuries in Chinese folk medicine to treat dementia. The effects of this alkaloid have been attributed to its ability to inhibit the cholinergic enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), acting as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI). The biological functions of HupA have been studied both in vitro and in vivo, and its role in neuroprotection appears to be a good therapeutic candidate for Alzheimer´s disease (AD). Here, we summarize the neuroprotective effects of HupA on AD, with an emphasis on its interactions with different molecular signaling avenues, such as the Wnt signaling, the pre- and post-synaptic region mechanisms (synaptotagmin, neuroligins), the amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing, the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) accumulation, and mitochondrial protection. Our goal is to provide an integrated overview of the molecular mechanisms through which HupA affects AD. Full article
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28 pages, 1730 KiB  
Review
Novel Marine Secondary Metabolites Worthy of Development as Anticancer Agents: A Review
by Florence Nwakaego Mbaoji, Justus Amuche Nweze, Liyan Yang, Yangbin Huang, Shushi Huang, Akachukwu Marytheresa Onwuka, Ikechukwu Emmanuel Peter, Cynthia Chioma Mbaoji, Mingguo Jiang, Yunkai Zhang, Lixia Pan and Dengfeng Yang
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 5769; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26195769 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3255
Abstract
Secondary metabolites from marine sources have a wide range of biological activity. Marine natural products are promising candidates for lead pharmacological compounds to treat diseases that plague humans, including cancer. Cancer is a life-threatening disorder that has been difficult to overcome. It is [...] Read more.
Secondary metabolites from marine sources have a wide range of biological activity. Marine natural products are promising candidates for lead pharmacological compounds to treat diseases that plague humans, including cancer. Cancer is a life-threatening disorder that has been difficult to overcome. It is a long-term illness that affects both young and old people. In recent years, significant attempts have been made to identify new anticancer drugs, as the existing drugs have been useless due to resistance of the malignant cells. Natural products derived from marine sources have been tested for their anticancer activity using a variety of cancer cell lines derived from humans and other sources, some of which have already been approved for clinical use, while some others are still being tested. These compounds can assault cancer cells via a variety of mechanisms, but certain cancer cells are resistant to them. As a result, the goal of this review was to look into the anticancer potential of marine natural products or their derivatives that were isolated from January 2019 to March 2020, in cancer cell lines, with a focus on the class and type of isolated compounds, source and location of isolation, cancer cell line type, and potency (IC50 values) of the isolated compounds that could be a guide for drug development. Full article
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26 pages, 5245 KiB  
Review
Natural Products from Tongan Marine Organisms
by Taitusi Taufa, Ramesh Subramani, Peter T. Northcote and Robert A. Keyzers
Molecules 2021, 26(15), 4534; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26154534 - 27 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2944
Abstract
The islands of the South Pacific Ocean have been in the limelight for natural product biodiscovery, due to their unique and pristine tropical waters and environment. The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago in the central Indo-Pacific Ocean, consisting of 176 islands, 36 [...] Read more.
The islands of the South Pacific Ocean have been in the limelight for natural product biodiscovery, due to their unique and pristine tropical waters and environment. The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago in the central Indo-Pacific Ocean, consisting of 176 islands, 36 of which are inhabited, flourishing with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Many unique natural products with interesting bioactivities have been reported from Indo-Pacific marine sponges and other invertebrate phyla; however, there have not been any reviews published to date specifically regarding natural products from Tongan marine organisms. This review covers both known and new/novel Marine Natural Products (MNPs) and their biological activities reported from organisms collected within Tongan territorial waters up to December 2020, and includes 109 MNPs in total, the majority from the phylum Porifera. The significant biological activity of these metabolites was dominated by cytotoxicity and, by reviewing these natural products, it is apparent that the bulk of the new and interesting biologically active compounds were from organisms collected from one particular island, emphasizing the geographic variability in the chemistry between these organisms collected at different locations. Full article
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26 pages, 5276 KiB  
Review
Plant-Based Indole Alkaloids: A Comprehensive Overview from a Pharmacological Perspective
by Faisal Omar, Abu Montakim Tareq, Ali M. Alqahtani, Kuldeep Dhama, Mohammed Abu Sayeed, Talha Bin Emran and Jesus Simal-Gandara
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2297; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082297 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 70 | Viewed by 9102
Abstract
Plant-based indole alkaloids are very rich in pharmacological activities, and the indole nucleus is considered to contribute greatly to these activities. This review’s fundamental objective is to summarize the pharmacological potential of indole alkaloids that have been derived from plants and provide a [...] Read more.
Plant-based indole alkaloids are very rich in pharmacological activities, and the indole nucleus is considered to contribute greatly to these activities. This review’s fundamental objective is to summarize the pharmacological potential of indole alkaloids that have been derived from plants and provide a detailed evaluation of their established pharmacological activities, which may contribute to identifying new lead compounds. The study was performed by searching various scientific databases, including Springer, Elsevier, ACS Publications, Taylor and Francis, Thieme, Wiley Online Library, ProQuest, MDPI, and online scientific books. A total of 100 indole compounds were identified and reviewed. The most active compounds possessed a variety of pharmacological activities, including anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral, antimalarial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, analgesic, hypotensive, anticholinesterase, antiplatelet, antidiarrheal, spasmolytic, antileishmanial, lipid-lowering, antimycobacterial, and antidiabetic activities. Although some compounds have potent activity, some only have mild-to-moderate activity. The pharmacokinetic profiles of some of the identified compounds, such as brucine, mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, vindoline, and harmane, were also reviewed. Most of these compounds showed promising pharmacological activity. An in-depth pharmacological evaluation of these compounds should be performed to determine whether any of these indoles may serve as new leads. Full article
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