Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 May 2024) | Viewed by 12632

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Guest Editor
Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, DoE Department of Excellence 2018-2022, University of Siena, via Aldo Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy
Interests: drug discovery; natural products; bioactive molecules; functional foods; nutraceuticals; in vitro biological tests; carriers for bioactive molecules; bioactivity
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants will soon be publishing the fourth volume of the Special Issue on the “Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants”. Plant extracts are extremely complex pools of phytochemicals and, together with their metabolites, are useful for a multitude of applications in different fields. Natural products from plants, either as pure compounds or as standardized extracts, provide unlimited opportunities for the development of new drug leads, in the food market and in the cosmetic industry.

The use of plant extracts in all these areas depends on their bioactivity and, therefore, their composition, a factor which is closely related to the extraction method used. Extraction is in fact the most important step in plant extract preparations, and the use of different extraction techniques determines the bioactive compounds present in the product. Since bioactive compounds occurring in plant material consist of multicomponent mixtures, their separation and identification are fundamental processes in the structural analysis of extracts. Finally, the analysis of plant extracts and/or purified bioactive compounds, involving the application of common phytochemical and in vitro biological screening assays, is essential for the correlation of structure with the function of extracts in order to identify their bioactivity for targeted applications.

Thus, considering the great interest in plant extracts, this third volume of Special Issue will continue to cover several aspects of their structural and functional analysis. In doing so, we will correlate extraction techniques with the chemical composition of extracts and their bioactivity in order to elucidate the characteristics of plant-derived compounds that might be used as active substances in a wide variety of areas.

Dr. Stefania Lamponi
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • plant extracts
  • phytochemicals
  • natural food additives
  • bioactive compounds
  • in vitro biological screening

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 2608 KiB  
Article
In Vivo Study of Moringa oleifera Seed Extracts as Potential Sources of Neuroprotection against Rotenone-Induced Neurotoxicity
by Chand Raza, Sehrish Mohsin, Mehwish Faheem, Uzma Hanif, Hamad Z. Alkhathlan, Mohammed Rafi Shaik, Hasib Aamir Riaz, Rabia Anjum, Husna Jurrat and Merajuddin Khan
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1479; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111479 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 621
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a leading neurodegenerative disorder affecting 1–3 percent of the elderly population. Oxidative stress is the primary factor for the neurodegeneration of Substantia Nigra (SN). The current study aims to assess the seed extracts of Moringa oleifera (MO) on rotenone-mediated [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a leading neurodegenerative disorder affecting 1–3 percent of the elderly population. Oxidative stress is the primary factor for the neurodegeneration of Substantia Nigra (SN). The current study aims to assess the seed extracts of Moringa oleifera (MO) on rotenone-mediated motor function impairments in a PD mouse model. For this purpose, two different seed extracts of MO were prepared, including aqueous MO (AqMO) and ethanolic MO (EthMO). Male Swiss albino mice were grouped into five groups. Mice received 2.5 mg/kg rotenone for 21 consecutive days, and control mice received the vehicle. Extract-treated mice received 200 mg/kg AqMO and EthMO separately, orally and daily for 28 days. Sinemet-treated mice received 20 mg/kg, oral dose, as a positive group. The motor function performance was evaluated using standard neurobehavioral tests. The antioxidant potentials of MO seed extracts were estimated by lipid peroxidation (LPO), reduced glutathione (GSH), glutathione-s-transferase (GST) and catalase (CAT) activities in mice brain homogenates. The PD mice brain SN sections were investigated for neurodegeneration. MO seed extract-treated mice showed a significant reduction in motor dysfunction compared to rotenone-treated mice as assessed through the open field, beam walk, pole climb-down, tail suspension, stride length and stepping tests. Increased antioxidant capacities of the PD mice brains of MO extract-administered groups were observed compared to the control. A histological study showed reduced signs of neurodegeneration, vacuolation around multipolar cells and cytoplasmic shrinkage in MO extract-treated mice SN brain sections. Collectively, MO seed extracts protected the animals from locomotor deficits induced by rotenone, possibly through antioxidant means, and seem to have potential applications in neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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13 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
Salvadoran Celastraceae Species as a Source of Antikinetoplastid Quinonemethide Triterpenoids
by Marvin J. Núñez, Morena L. Martínez, Ulises G. Castillo, Karla Carolina Flores, Jenny Menjívar, Atteneri López-Arencibia, Carlos J. Bethencourt-Estrella, Ignacio A. Jiménez, José E. Piñero, Jacob Lorenzo-Morales and Isabel L. Bazzocchi
Plants 2024, 13(3), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13030360 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 985
Abstract
Chagas disease and leishmaniasis are among the most widespread neglected tropical diseases, and their current therapies have limited efficacy and several toxic side effects. The present study reports the chemical and antikinetoplastid profiles of extracts from five Salvadoran Celastraceae species against the Trypanosoma [...] Read more.
Chagas disease and leishmaniasis are among the most widespread neglected tropical diseases, and their current therapies have limited efficacy and several toxic side effects. The present study reports the chemical and antikinetoplastid profiles of extracts from five Salvadoran Celastraceae species against the Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes stage and Leishmania amazonensis and Leishmania donovani promastigote forms. The phytochemical profile evinced the presence of flavonoids, tannins, sterols, and triterpenes as the main components in all plant species, whereas quinonemethide triterpenoids (QMTs) were restricted to the root bark of the studied species. Antikinetoplastid evaluation highlights the root bark extracts from Zinowewia integerrima, Maytenus segoviarum, and Quetzalia ilicina as the most promising ones, exhibiting higher potency against T. cruzi (IC50 0.71–1.58 µg/mL) and L. amazonensis (IC50 0.38–2.05 µg/mL) than the reference drugs, benznidazole (IC50 1.81 µg/mL) and miltefosine (IC50 2.64 µg/mL), respectively. This potent activity was connected with an excellent selectivity index on the murine macrophage J774A.1 cell line. These findings reinforce the potential of QMTs as antikinetoplastid agents for the development of innovative phytopharmaceuticals and the plant species under study as a source of these promising lead compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
17 pages, 3176 KiB  
Article
Innovative Approach to Enhance Bioavailability of Birch Bark Extracts: Novel Method of Oleogel Development Contrasted with Other Dispersed Systems
by Laura Andze, Sanita Vitolina, Rudolfs Berzins, Janis Rizikovs, Daniela Godina, Arturs Teresko, Solveiga Grinberga, Eduards Sevostjanovs, Helena Cirule, Edgars Liepinsh and Aigars Paze
Plants 2024, 13(1), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13010145 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1477
Abstract
Birch outer bark extract (BBE), containing pentacyclic triterpenes such as betulin, lupeol, and betulinic acid, is a widely recognized natural product renowned for its diverse pharmacological effects. However, its limited water solubility restricts its bioavailability. Therefore, the main objective is to enhance the [...] Read more.
Birch outer bark extract (BBE), containing pentacyclic triterpenes such as betulin, lupeol, and betulinic acid, is a widely recognized natural product renowned for its diverse pharmacological effects. However, its limited water solubility restricts its bioavailability. Therefore, the main objective is to enhance the bioavailability of BBE for pharmaceutical use. In this study, we aimed to develop a dispersion system utilizing a unique oleogel-producing method through the recrystallization of BBE from an ethanol solution in the oil phase. We generated an oleogel that demonstrates a notable 42–80-fold improvement in betulin and lupeol peroral bioavailability from BBE in Wistar rats, respectively. A physical paste-like BBE hydrogel developed with antisolvent precipitation showed a 16–56-fold increase in the bioavailability of betulin and lupeol from BBE in rat blood plasma, respectively. We also observed that the repeated administration of the BBE oleogel did not exhibit any toxicity at the tested dose (38.5 mg/kg betulin, 5.2 mg/kg lupeol, 1.5 mg/kg betulinic acid daily for 7 days). Betulin and betulinic acid were not detected in rat heart, liver, kidney, or brain tissues after the peroral administration of the oleogel daily for 7 days. Lupeol was found in rat heart, liver, and kidney tissues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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18 pages, 2848 KiB  
Article
Phytochemical Profiles and In Vitro Immunomodulatory Activities of Extracts Obtained from Limonium gmelinii Using Different Extraction Methods
by Dariya Kassymova, Galiya Zhusupova, Vyacheslav Ogay, Aizhan Zhussupova, Kumar Katragunta, Bharathi Avula and Ikhlas A. Khan
Plants 2023, 12(23), 4019; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12234019 - 29 Nov 2023
Viewed by 939
Abstract
Limonium (L.) gmelinii is a valuable pharmacopoeial Kazakhstani plant. Several studies have reported on the various biological activities of the plant. The purpose of our research was to study and compare the extraction yields, immunomodulatory activities, and chemical compositions of extracts from the [...] Read more.
Limonium (L.) gmelinii is a valuable pharmacopoeial Kazakhstani plant. Several studies have reported on the various biological activities of the plant. The purpose of our research was to study and compare the extraction yields, immunomodulatory activities, and chemical compositions of extracts from the above-ground parts of L. gmelinii obtained via conventional extraction (CE; Extract 1) and ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE; Extract 2). The extracts were characterized by a considerable number of polyphenols and flavonoids: 378.1 ± 4.5 and 382.2 ± 3.3 GAE mg/g, and 90.22 ± 2.8 and 94.61 ± 1.9 QE mg/g in Extract 1 and Extract 2, respectively. Extract 2 had a slightly higher extraction yield (33.5 ± 2.4%) than Extract 1 (30.2 ± 1.6%). Liquid Chromatography–Diode-Array Detection–Electrospray Ionization–Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (LC-QToF-MS) revealed the presence of 54 biologically active compounds in both extracts. It was shown that the studied extracts stimulate the secretion of TNF-α and IL-6 by intact mouse peritoneal macrophages and splenic lymphocytes, whilst they have an inhibitory effect on the secretion of these cytokines by activated immune cells. Both extracts demonstrated similar patterns of stimulation and inhibition in a splenocyte proliferation assay. Altogether, the L. gmelinii extracts obtained via CE and UAE might be suggested as effective immunomodulatory agents. The application of UAE for this purpose seems to be more efficient with a view of obtaining of a highly potent extract in a much shorter time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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15 pages, 2781 KiB  
Article
Chemical Composition and Skin-Whitening Activities of Siegesbeckia glabrescens Makino Flower Absolute in Melanocytes
by Da Kyoung Lee, Kyung Jong Won, Do Yoon Kim, Yoon Yi Kim and Hwan Myung Lee
Plants 2023, 12(23), 3930; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12233930 - 22 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Siegesbeckia glabrescens Makino (SGM) has been traditionally used to treat many disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, and acute hepatitis. However, the biological activities of SGM in skin remain unclear. The present study explored the effects of SGM flower absolute (SGMFAb) on skin-whitening-linked biological [...] Read more.
Siegesbeckia glabrescens Makino (SGM) has been traditionally used to treat many disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, and acute hepatitis. However, the biological activities of SGM in skin remain unclear. The present study explored the effects of SGM flower absolute (SGMFAb) on skin-whitening-linked biological activities in B16BL6 cells. SGMFAb was extracted using hexane, and its composition was analyzed through gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis. The biological effects of SGMFAb on B16BL6 melanoma cells were detected via WST and BrdU incorporation assays, ELISA, and immunoblotting. SGMFAb contained 14 compounds. In addition, SGMFAb was noncytotoxic, attenuated the serum-induced proliferation of, and inhibited melanin synthesis and tyrosinase activity in α-MSH-exposed B16BL6 cells. SGMFAb also reduced the expressions of MITF (microphthalmia-associated transcription factor), tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein (TRP)-1, and TRP-2 in α-MSH-exposed B16BL6 cells. Moreover, SGMFAb downregulated the activation of p38 MAPK, ERK1/2, and JNK in α-MSH-stimulated B16BL6 cells. In addition, SGMFAb reduced the expressions of three melanosome-transport-participating proteins (myosin Va, melanophilin, and Rab27a) in α-MSH-stimulated B16BL6 cells. These results indicate that SGMFAb positively influences skin whitening activities by inhibiting melanogenesis and melanosome-transport-related events in B16BL6 cells, and suggest that SGMFAb is a promising material for developing functional skin whitening agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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15 pages, 782 KiB  
Article
Extractives from Artemisia afra with Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Fungal Properties
by Tumelo L. Molokoane, Douglas Kemboi, Xavier Siwe-Noundou, Ibukun M. Famuyide, Lyndy J. McGaw and Vuyelwa J. Tembu
Plants 2023, 12(19), 3369; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12193369 - 25 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1490
Abstract
Secondary metabolites were isolated using chromatographic techniques after being extracted sequentially from the roots of Artemisia afra using organic solvents such as ethanol, ethyl acetate, dichloromethane, and n-hexane. The isolated compounds were evaluated for anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and cytotoxicity activities. Spectroscopic techniques, including Nuclear [...] Read more.
Secondary metabolites were isolated using chromatographic techniques after being extracted sequentially from the roots of Artemisia afra using organic solvents such as ethanol, ethyl acetate, dichloromethane, and n-hexane. The isolated compounds were evaluated for anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and cytotoxicity activities. Spectroscopic techniques, including Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS), were used to elucidate the structures of the isolated compounds. The phytochemical investigation of A. afra led to the isolation of eight (AH) compounds which were identified as 3β-taraxerol (A), 3β-taraxerol acetate (B), dodecyl-p-coumarate (C), ferulic acid (D), scopoletin (E), sitosterol-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (F), 3,5-di-O-feruloylquinic acid (G) and Isofraxidin-7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (H) based on spectroscopic data. Compounds A, B, C, F, G, and H are known but were isolated for the first time from the roots of A. afra. The isolated compounds and extracts from A. afra exhibited good anti-fungal and anti-bacterial activity with dichloromethane and ethyl acetate crude extracts (0.078 mg/mL) and compound E (62.5 µg/mL) showed good activities against Escherichia coli. Compounds C and F also showed good activity against Enterococcus faecalis with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 62.5 and 31.25 µg/mL, respectively. Extracts and compounds (AH) exhibited anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and showed no toxicity when tested on Vero monkey kidney (Vero) cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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16 pages, 3832 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study on the Phytochemical Characterization and Biological Activities of Azolla caroliniana and Azolla filiculoides: In Vitro Study
by Salwa M. Abdel Rahman, Maher A. Kamel, Mennatallah A. Ali, Badriyah S. Alotaibi, Ohud Muslat Aharthy, Mustafa Shukry and Hala Mohamed Abd El-Bary
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3229; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183229 - 11 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2054
Abstract
Azolla is a floating fern known for its various biological activities. Azolla caroliniana and Azolla filiculoides are multifunctional plants that exhibit biological activity in multiple ways, making them beneficial for various applications. This study aimed to compare the phytochemical composition and antimicrobial, antioxidant, [...] Read more.
Azolla is a floating fern known for its various biological activities. Azolla caroliniana and Azolla filiculoides are multifunctional plants that exhibit biological activity in multiple ways, making them beneficial for various applications. This study aimed to compare the phytochemical composition and antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxicity activities of two Azolla species, namely Azolla caroliniana and Azolla filiculoides. GC-MS analysis revealed distinct patterns of phytochemical composition in the two species. The methanol extracts of A. caroliniana and A. filiculoides exhibited moderate antimicrobial activity against Geotrichum candidum, Enterococcus faecalis, and Klebsiella pneumonia. Furthermore, both extracts demonstrated potential antioxidant activity, as evidenced by a dose-dependent increase in a ferric-reducing activity power (FRAP) assay. Additionally, the extracts showed promising anti-inflammatory activities, including inhibition of protein denaturation, heat-induced red blood cell (RBC) hemolysis, and nitric oxide (NO) production by macrophages. Moreover, the methanolic extracts of A. caroliniana displayed higher cytotoxicity against HepG2 cells than those of A. filiculoides in a dose-dependent manner. These findings suggest that the methanolic extracts of A. caroliniana and A. filiculoides contain distinct compounds and exhibit potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxic activities against HepG2 cells. In conclusion, our data indicate that the methanolic extracts of A. caroliniana and A. filiculoides have differential phytochemical compositions and possess potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and HepG2 cytotoxic activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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12 pages, 3375 KiB  
Article
Effect of Betulin Colloidal Particles on Proliferation and Cytokine Secretion of Human Skin Fibroblasts
by Una Riekstina, Sanita Vitolina, Karina Goluba, Kaspars Jekabsons, Ruta Muceniece, Rudolfs Berzins, Janis Rizhikovs, Daniela Godina, Arturs Teresko and Aigars Paze
Plants 2023, 12(17), 3088; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12173088 - 28 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 868
Abstract
The aim of the study was to obtain untreated and treated betulin colloidal particles and assess their effect on the viability, morphology, proliferation and cytokine secretion of human dermal fibroblasts. To improve bioavailability, betulin treatment was performed by an antisolvent precipitation technique. The [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to obtain untreated and treated betulin colloidal particles and assess their effect on the viability, morphology, proliferation and cytokine secretion of human dermal fibroblasts. To improve bioavailability, betulin treatment was performed by an antisolvent precipitation technique. The average particle size after treatment in the aqueous dispersion decreased from 552.9 ± 11.3 to 278.2 ± 1.6 nm. Treated betulin colloidal particles showed no cytotoxicity up to a concentration of 400 µg·mL−1 in the colorimetric tetrazolium salt viability test (CCK-8). Moreover, the cell morphology was not changed in the presence of betulin colloidal particles at a concentration range from 0.78 to 400 µg·mL−1. The obtained results also show that betulin particles induce the secretion of the proinflammatory and angiogenesis-stimulating cytokine IL-8. However, further studies would be required to clarify the mechanism of IL-8 secretion induction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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12 pages, 2241 KiB  
Article
Iron Chelation Property, Antioxidant Activity, and Hepatoprotective Effect of 6-Gingerol-Rich Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Extract in Iron-Loaded Huh7 Cells
by Hataichanok Chuljerm, Narisara Paradee, Dabudsawin Katekaew, Panaphat Nantachai, Kornvipa Settakorn, Somdet Srichairatanakool and Pimpisid Koonyosying
Plants 2023, 12(16), 2936; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12162936 - 14 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1244
Abstract
Iron is essential for numerous biological processes; however, an iron imbalance can contribute to a number of diseases. An excess of iron can accumulate in the body and subsequently induce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to oxidative tissue damage and [...] Read more.
Iron is essential for numerous biological processes; however, an iron imbalance can contribute to a number of diseases. An excess of iron can accumulate in the body and subsequently induce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to oxidative tissue damage and organ dysfunction. The liver, a major iron storage site, is vulnerable to this iron-induced oxidative damage; however, this issue can be overcome by the chelation of excess iron. This study aimed to investigate the effect of 6-gingerol-rich ginger (Zingiber officinale) extract on iron chelation, antioxidation, and hepatoprotective function in protecting against iron-induced oxidative liver cell injury. In experiments, 6-gingerol was confirmed to be a main bioactive component of the ginger extract and possessed free radical scavenging activity, decreasing ABTS•+ and DPPH radical levels, and inhibiting AAPH-induced red blood cell hemolysis. Interestingly, the extract significantly reduced the levels of labile cellular iron (LCI), intracellular ROS, and lipid peroxidation products (TBARS) in iron-loaded human hepatoma (Huh7) cells. In conclusion, this work highlights the iron chelation property of 6-gingerol-rich ginger extract and its antioxidant activity, which could potentially protect the liver from iron-induced oxidative tissue damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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Review

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26 pages, 3944 KiB  
Review
Unlocking Therapeutic Potential: Comprehensive Extraction, Profiling, and Pharmacological Evaluation of Bioactive Compounds from Eclipta alba (L.) Hassk. for Dermatological Applications
by Hla Myo, Desy Liana and Anuchit Phanumartwiwath
Plants 2024, 13(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13010033 - 21 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1256
Abstract
Herbal medicine has been studied as an alternate approach to modern medicine as it is more cost-effective and accessible via natural sources. Eclipta alba (E. alba, L.) Hassk. is a weed plant abundantly distributed throughout different regions of the world and [...] Read more.
Herbal medicine has been studied as an alternate approach to modern medicine as it is more cost-effective and accessible via natural sources. Eclipta alba (E. alba, L.) Hassk. is a weed plant abundantly distributed throughout different regions of the world and contains abundant bioactive compounds used for various skin conditions. In this review, we aimed to gather information from the literature about the extraction, separation, and identification of these bioactive compounds and their potential in skin diseases. Relevant studies published before August 2023 were identified and selected from electronic databases, including Scopus, SciFinder, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, and Wiley Library, using the following keywords: Eclipta alba, Eclipta prostrata, phytochemicals, extraction, separation, isolation, identification, characterization, pharmacological activity, and skin conditions. Up-to-date extraction, separation, and identification methods of bioactive compounds from E. alba and their skin-related pharmacological activities are discussed in this review. As there are limitations regarding extraction, separation, and identification methods, and in-depth mechanistic and human studies of the skin-related pharmacological activities of bioactive compounds, these gaps are areas for future research to expand our understanding and broaden the potential applications of this medicinal weed plant, including the development of cosmeceutical and skincare products, anti-inflammatory agents, and formulations for dermatological treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants IV)
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