Pharmaceutisch Weekblad

, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 281–286 | Cite as

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids, flavonoids and volatile compounds in the genus Eupatorium

Eupatorium cannabinum L., an ancient drug with new perspectives
  • H. Hendriks
  • Th M. Malingré
  • E. T. Elema
Review Articles


Within the scope of a study of antitumour compounds in higher plants a survey is given concerning the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, flavonoids and volatile compounds inEupatorium species. Preliminary results of a phytochemical study of these compounds inE. cannabinum are also presented.

From the results of a GC-MS analysis of an alkaloid extract from aerial parts ofE. cannabinum the conclusion can be drawn, that the composition of pyrrolizidine alkaloids is more complicated than reported in literature. This is caused by the fact that different stereoisomers exist. The presence of at least two alkaloids with a molecular weight of 283 (supinine or isomers) and four alkaloids with a molecular weight of 299 (echinatine or isomers) could be shown. In subterranean plant material also other pyrrolizidine alkaloids are present. A great number of flavonoids, also as glycosides, have been shown inEupatorium species, often in low quantities. Rutin, present in manyEupatorium species, could not be detected in subterranean parts ofE. cannabinum.

Relatively little attention has been paid to the analysis of volatile compounds (essential oils) ofEupatorium species. Thymol derivatives are often reported to be present inEupatorium species. Thirty-five compounds could be detected by means of a GC-MS analysis in the essential oil ofE. cannabinum about which no literature data were available.


Molecular Weight Internal Medicine Plant Material Flavonoid Alkaloid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Royal Dutch Association for Advancement of Pharmacy 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Hendriks
    • 1
  • Th M. Malingré
    • 1
  • E. T. Elema
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for PharmacognosyState University GroningenAW GroningenThe Netherlands

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