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Concept: Helichrysum


Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don fil. (family Asteraceae) has been used for its medicinal properties for a long time and, even nowadays, continues to play an important role in the traditional medicine of Mediterranean countries. Based on this traditional knowledge, its different pharmacological activities have been the focus of active research.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Ayurveda, Data, Alternative medicine, Asteraceae, Helichrysum italicum, Helichrysum


Helichrysum species are used extensively for stress-related ailments and as dressings for wounds normally encountered in circumcision rites, bruises, cuts and sores. It has been reported that Helichysum species are used to relief abdominal pain, heart burn, cough, cold, wounds, female sterility, menstrual pain.

Concepts: Abdominal pain, Mammal, Helichrysum


The species of Helichrysum sect. Stoechadina (Asteraceae) are well-known for their secondary metabolite content and the characteristic aromatic bouquets. In the wild, populations exhibit a wide phenotypic plasticity which makes critical the circumscription of species and infraspecific ranks. Previous investigations on Helichrysum italicum complex focused on a possible phytochemical typification based on hydrodistilled essential oils. Aims of this paper are three-fold: (i) characterizing the volatile profiles of different populations, testing (ii) how these profiles vary across populations and (iii) how the phytochemical diversity may contribute in solving taxonomic problems. Nine selected Helichrysum populations, included within the H. italicum complex, Helichrysum litoreum and Helichrysum stoechas, were investigated. H. stoechas was chosen as outgroup for validating the method. After collection in the wild, plants were cultivated in standard growing conditions for over one year. Annual leafy shoots were screened in the post-blooming period for the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by means of headspace solid phase microextraction coupled with gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC/MS). The VOC composition analysis revealed the production of overall 386 different compounds, with terpenes being the most represented compound class. Statistical data processing allowed the identification of the indicator compounds that differentiate the single populations, revealing the influence of the geographical provenance area in determining the volatile profiles. These results suggested the potential use of VOCs as valuable diacritical characters in discriminating the Helichrysum populations. In addition, the cross-validation analysis hinted the potentiality of this volatolomic study in the discrimination of the Helichrysum species and subspecies, highlighting a general congruence with the current taxonomic treatment of the genus. The consistency between this phytochemical approach and the traditional morphometrical analysis in studying the Helichrysum populations supports the validity of the VOC profile in solving taxonomic problems.

Concepts: Species, Volatile organic compound, Taxonomic rank, Organic compounds, Subspecies, Volatile, Helichrysum italicum, Helichrysum


Microsatellites were developed for the widespread Helichrysum odoratissimum (Asteraceae) to estimate gene flow across diploid populations and to test if gene flow occurs among other closely related lineages within this genus.

Concepts: Genetics, Biology, Organism, Species, Microsatellite, Helichrysum


The chemical composition and antioxidant properties of the essential oil and EtOH extract of immortelle (Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G.Don subsp. italicum, Asteraceae) collected in Montenegro were evaluated. The essential oil was characterized by GC/MS analysis, and the content of total phenolics and flavonoids in the EtOH extract was determined using the FolinCiocalteu reagent. The free-radical-scavenging capacity (RSC) of both the essential oil and the EtOH extract was assessed with the 2,2-diphenyl-1-pycrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method. Moreover, the inhibition of hydroxyl radical ((.) OH) generation by the EtOH extract of immortelle was evaluated for the first time here. Neryl acetate (28.2%) and γ-curcumene (18.8%) were the main compounds in the essential oil, followed by neryl propionate (9.1%) and ar-curcumene (8.3%). The chemical composition of the oils of the examined and additional 16 selected Helichrysum italicum taxa described in literature were compared using principal component (PCA) and cluster (CA) analyses. The results of the statistical analyses implied the occurrence of at least four different main and three subchemotypes of essential oils. Considering the antioxidant properties, the EtOH extract of immortelle exhibited similar potential as propyl gallate and quercetin, while the essential oil exhibited relatively weak DPPH(.) -scavenging capacity.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Ethanol, Essential oil, Oil, Oils, Propyl gallate, Helichrysum italicum, Helichrysum


A methanol extract of everlasting flowers of Helichrysum arenarium L. Moench (Asteraceae) was found to inhibit the increase in blood glucose elevation in sucrose-loaded mice at 500 mg/kg p.o. The methanol extract also inhibited the enzymatic activity against dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-IV, IC50 = 41.2 μg/ml), but did not show intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitory activities. From the extract, three new dimeric dihydrochalcone glycosides, arenariumosides V-VII (2-4), were isolated, and the stereostructures were elucidated based on their spectroscopic properties and chemical evidence. Of the constituents, several flavonoid constituents, including 2-4, were isolated, and these isolated constituents were investigated for their DPP-IV inhibitory effects. Among them, chalconaringenin 2'-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (16, IC50 = 23.1 μM) and aureusidin 6-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (35, 24.3 μM) showed relatively strong inhibitory activities.

Concepts: Enzyme, Blood sugar, Activity, Glycosylation, Alcohol dehydrogenase, Asteraceae, Helichrysum, Helichrysum arenarium


Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don is a flowering plant of the family Asteraceae. It is rich in oil that is used for different medicinal purposes and in fragrance industry. Volatile profile of four populations of H. italicum, collected from natural habitat in Dalmatia (Croatia), was analysed by capillary GC-MS. Sample from BraČ Island had α-trans-bergamotene (10.2%) and β-acoradiene (10.1%) as the majors, whereas sample collected on Biokovo Mt. was rich in neryl acetate (8.1%). β-Acoradiene was also the main constituent of sample collected near Tijarica, whereas rosifoliol (8.5%) was the most abundant constituent in sample collected near Makarska. Presented results show the influence of environmental conditions on chemical differentiation of the volatiles of H. italicum from Croatia.

Concepts: Habitat, Flowering plant, Flower, Volatile, Asteraceae, Helichrysum italicum, Dalmatia, Helichrysum


Helichrysum italicum is widely used in traditional medicine, in cosmetic, in food and pharmaceutical field. In spite of this, very little is known about the chemical composition of its polar extracts. Therefore this study was addressed to the determination of the metabolite profile of the methanol extract of H. italicum flowers, by using LC-ESI(IT)MSMS. This approach oriented the isolation of 14 compounds, whose structures were unambiguously elucidated by NMR as belonging to flavonoid, phenylpropanoid and acylbenzofuran classes. In addition, one novel drimane sesquiterpene was identified. The quantitative determination of the main compounds occurring in the methanol extract of H. italicum flowers was carried out and their content was compared with that of three selected commercial food supplements based on H. italicum, by using LC-ESI(QqQ)MS. In conclusion the wide occurrence, in high amounts, of quinic acid derivatives in all the analyzed samples was highlighted, showing these compounds as chemical markers of the species for standardization procedures.

Concepts: Medicine, Chemical compound, Identification, Extract, Quinic acid, Helichrysum italicum, Helichrysum


Helichrysum italicum (Asteraceae) is a small shrub endemic to the Mediterranean Basin, growing in fragmented and diverse habitats. The species has attracted attention due to its secondary metabolite content, but little effort has as yet been dedicated to assessing the genetic and metabolite diversity present in these populations. Here, we describe the diversity of 50 H. italicum populations collected from a range of habitats in Sardinia.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Biology, Mediterranean Sea, Italy, Sardinia, Shrubland, Helichrysum italicum, Helichrysum


The genus Gnaphalium, a herb distributed worldwide, comprises approximately 200 species of the Compositae (Asteraceae) family that belongs to the tribe Gnaphalieae. Some species are traditionally used as wild vegetables and in folk medicine. This review focuses on the phytochemical investigations and biological studies of plants from the genus Gnaphalium over the past few decades. More than 125 chemical constituents have been isolated from the genus Gnaphalium, including flavonoids, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes, phytosterols, anthraquinones, caffeoylquinic acid derivatives, and other compounds. The extracts of this genus, as well as compounds isolated from it, have been demonstrated to possess multiple pharmacological activities such as antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal, anti-complement, antitussive and expectorant, insect antifeedant, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antihypouricemic properties. The present review compiles the information available on this genus because of its relevance to food and ethnopharmacology and the potential therapeutic uses of these species.

Concepts: Medicine, Nutrition, Biology, Organism, Species, Antioxidant, Terpene, Helichrysum