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Concept: Lamiaceae


Lipophilic flavonoids found in the Lamiaceae exhibit unusual 6- and 8-hydroxylations whose enzymatic basis is unknown. We show that crude protein extracts from peltate trichomes of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) cultivars readily hydroxylate position 6 of 7-O-methylated apigenin, but not apigenin itself. The responsible protein was identified as a P450 monooxygenase from the CYP82 family, a family not previously reported to be involved in flavonoid metabolism. This enzyme prefers flavones but also accepts flavanones in vitro, and requires a 5-hydroxyl in addition to a 7-methoxyl residue on the substrate. A peppermint (Mentha x piperita) homolog displayed identical substrate requirements, suggesting that early 7-O-methylation of flavones might be common in the Lamiaceae. This hypothesis is further substantiated by the pioneering discovery of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent flavone demethylase activity in basil, which explains the accumulation of 7-O-demethylated flavone nevadensin.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Enzyme, Flavonoid, Lamiaceae, Basil, Ocimum basilicum, Flavones


The use of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaves and their constituents as a source of dietary antioxidants and flavoring agents is continuously growing. Carnosol and carnosic acid, two major components of rosemary extracts, have shown activity for cancer prevention and therapy.

Concepts: Lamiaceae, Medicinal plants, Rosemary, Rosmarinus


A number of herbal products with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antimycotic properties are available for dermatological usage. The successful treatment of 13 sheep affected by ringworm due to Trichophyton mentagrophytes with a mixture consisting of essential oils (EOs) of Thymus serpillum 2%, Origanum vulgare 5% and Rosmarinus officinalis 5% in sweet almond (Prunus dulcis) oil. The effectiveness of EOs and of the major components of the mixture (thymol, carvacrol, 1,8 cineole, α-pinene, p-cymene, γ-terpinene) against the fungal clinical isolate was evaluated by a microdilution test. Thirteen animals were topically administered with the mixture twice daily for 15 days. The other sheep were administered with a conventional treatment (seven animals) or left untreated (two animals). Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were 0.1% for T. serpillum, 0.5% for O. vulgare, 2.5% for I. verum and 5% for both R. officinalis and C. limon. Thymol and carvacrol showed MICs of 0.125% and 0.0625%. A clinical and aetiological cure was obtained at the end of each treatment regimen in only the treated animals. Specific antimycotic drugs licenced for food-producing sheep are not available within the European Community. The mixture tested here appeared to be a versatile tool for limiting fungal growth.

Concepts: Medicine, Lamiaceae, Medicinal plants, Essential oil, Almond, Oregano, Origanum, Marjoram


The objectives of this work were to evaluate the phytomass yield, essential oil (EO) content and EO yield of Mentha spicata L. var. rubra, M. spicata L. var. viridis and Calamintha nepeta Savi in Piedmont (Italy), and to study how postharvest management (hydrodistillation of EO from fresh, dehumidified or oven-dried herbs) can affect the EO content and profile of the three species.

Concepts: Lamiaceae, Essential oil, Oil, Herbs, Mentha, Essential oils, Mentha spicata, Mentha aquatica


The goal of this study was to monitor the anti-proliferative activity of Rosmarinus officinalis and Salvia officinalis extracts against cancer cells and to correlate this activity with their phytochemical profiles using liquid chromatography/diode array detection/electrospray ion trap tandem mass spectrometry (LC/DAD/ESI-MS(n)). For the quantitative estimation of triterpenic acids in the crude extracts an NMR based methodology was used and compared with the HPLC measurements, both applied for the first time, for the case of betulinic acid. Both extracts exerted cytotoxic activity through dose-dependent impairment of viability and mitochondrial activity of rat insulinoma m5F (RINm5F) cells. Decrease of RINm5F viability was mediated by nitric oxide (NO)-induced apoptosis. Importantly, these extracts potentiated NO and TNF-α release from macrophages therefore enhancing their cytocidal action. The rosemary extract developed more pronounced antioxidant, cytotoxic and immunomodifying activities, probably due to the presence of betulinic acid and a higher concentration of carnosic acid in its phytochemical profile.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, PH, Lamiaceae, Medicinal plants, Tandem mass spectrometry, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance, Betulinic acid, Rosemary


Vanadium concentrations in soil can be increased through anthropogenic inputs and can be harmful to plants. A Petri dish experiment was conducted to assess the effect of vanadium toxicity on the germination and survival of the garden lettuce, Lactuca sativa. A second study was conducted in a greenhouse to investigate the influence of species selection and nutrient concentration on the toxicity of vanadium pentoxide to plants. L. sativa and four non-crop native plant species, two grasses (Elymus virginicus and Panicum virgatum) and two broad-leaved species (Lycopus americanus and Prunella vulgaris) were selected. Artificial soil was used in both experiments, and a geometric progression of five vanadium concentrations plus controls was selected for the soil treatments. Results of the Petri dish experiment showed that seedling survival is a less sensitive end point than above-ground dry weight (DW) as measured in the greenhouse experiment. Nutrient level (100, 10, and 1 kg/ha) was found to strongly influence vanadium toxicity in the greenhouse study. At 100 kg/ha, plant tolerance to vanadium was greatest, as indicated by higher no-observed, lowest-observed, and percentage effect concentration values. Results showed that forbs (L. americanus and P. vulgaris) tended to be more sensitive than both the crop (L. sativa) and grasses (E. virginicus and P. virgatum) at high concentrations of vanadium. Soil concentrations resulting in a 25 % decrease in shoot DW were generally less than the Canadian soil quality guideline for vanadium, suggesting that 130 mg/kg may not be protective of the Canadian native plant species used in this study.

Concepts: Plant, Annual plant, Lamiaceae, Lettuce, Lactuca


ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Zataria multiflora Boiss. (ZM) is a thyme-like plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family that grows wild only in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This plant with the vernacular name of Avishan-e-Shirazi (Shirazi thyme) in Iran is a valuable medicinal and condimental plant. It has several traditional uses as an antiseptic, carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, anesthetic, anti-spasmodic and analgesic. AIM OF THE STUDY: This paper reviews the ethnopharmacology, pharmacology, toxicology, modern pharmaceutical uses and phytochemistry of Zataria multiflora, and highlights the gaps in our knowledge deserving further research. METHODS: All relevant databases were searched for the terms “Zataria”, “Zataria multiflora”, “Shirazi thyme” and “Iranian thyme” without limitation up to 24th October 2012. Information on Zataria multiflora was collected via electronic search using Pubmed, Scopus, Web of Science and SID (for articles in Persian language), and local books on ethnopharmacology. RESULTS: ZM has played an important role in Iranian traditional medicine. In light of the modern pharmacological and clinical investigations, ZM is a valuable medicinal and condimental plant that has anti-microbial, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic and anti-nociceptive properties. The oil of ZM contains high percentages of oxygenated monoterpenes, in particular thymol and carvacrol, and exhibits excellent anti-microbial properties. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, antimicrobial property appears to be the most interesting studied biological effect of ZM. The lack of a comprehensive phytochemical analysis of ZM is an important limitation that can be noted regarding most of the previous studies.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Lamiaceae, Iran, Persian language, Afghanistan, Pharmacognosy, Thymol


Ethnopharmacological relevance: This study aimed to document traditional uses of medicinal plants in the Marmaris district of south-west Anatolia and to compare this information with our current knowledge of plant medicine in Turkey and the Mediterranean countries. Materials and methods: We collected the information through semi-structured interviews with 98 informants (51 men, 47 women). In addition, the relative importance value of species was determined and informant consensus factor (FIC) was calculated for the medicinal plants included in the study. RESULTS: We report the medicinal uses of 64 plant species belonging to 35 families, including the uses of 9 essential oils. Most of the medicinal plants used in the Marmaris district belong to the families Lamiaceae (13 species) and Asteraceae (4 species). The most commonly used plant species are Salvia fruticosa, Origanum onites, Lavandula stoechas, Mentha pulegium and Satureja thymbra. For the purposes of making essential oils, Salvia fruticosa is the plant species most commonly used. Two of the plants we report on (Liquidambar orientalis, Phlomis lycia) are endemic to Turkey and the East Agean Islands. Sideritis libanotica subsp. linearis is endemic to Turkey, Lebanon and Syria. Thymus cilicicus is endemic to Turkey, East Agean Islands, Lebanon and Syria. For six plant species (Narcissus tazetta, Lagenaria siceraria, Hypericum montbrettii, Phlomis grandiflora var. grandiflora, Polygonum bellardii, Crataegus aronia var. aronia) we report new different ethnobotanical uses not previously reported in Turkey. CONCLUSIONS: Some plants are used for medicinal purposes both in Marmaris and in other parts of Turkey and in the Mediterranean countries, either for the same or for different purposes. This paper helps preserve valuable information that may otherwise be lost to future generations.

Concepts: Species, Mediterranean Sea, Shrub, Lamiaceae, Medicinal plants, Essential oil, Anatolia, Lavender


Background and AimsThere is a great need to search for natural compounds with superior prebiotic, antioxidant and immunostimulatory properties for use in (food) applications. Raffinose family oligosaccharides (RFOs) show such properties. Moreover, they contribute to stress tolerance in plants, acting as putative membrane stabilizers, antioxidants and signalling agents.MethodsA large-scale soluble carbohydrate screening was performed within the plant kingdom. An unknown compound accumulated to a high extent in early-spring red deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) but not in other RFO plants. The compound was purified and its structure was unravelled with NMR. Organs and organ parts of red deadnettle were carefully dissected and analysed for soluble sugars. Phloem sap content was analysed by a common EDTA-based method.Key ResultsEarly-spring red deadnettle stems and roots accumulate high concentrations of the reducing trisaccharide manninotriose (Galα1,6Galα1,6Glc), a derivative of the non-reducing RFO stachyose (Galα1,6Galα1,6Glcα1,2βFru). Detailed soluble carbohydrate analyses on dissected stem and leaf sections, together with phloem sap analyses, strongly suggest that stachyose is the main transport compound, but extensive hydrolysis of stachyose to manninotriose seems to occur along the transport path. Based on the specificities of the observed carbohydrate dynamics, the putative physiological roles of manninotriose in red deadnettle are discussed.ConclusionsIt is demonstrated for the first time that manninotriose is a novel and important player in the RFO metabolism of red dead deadnettle. It is proposed that manninotriose represents a temporary storage carbohydrate in early-spring deadnettle, at the same time perhaps functioning as a membrane protector and/or as an antioxidant in the vicinity of membranes, as recently suggested for other RFOs and fructans. This novel finding urges further research on this peculiar carbohydrate on a broader array of RFO accumulators.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Metabolism, Nutrition, Carbohydrate, Lamiaceae, Raffinose, Lamium, Lamium purpureum


Foliar volatiles and essential oils of Calamintha nepeta (L.) Savi, a Mediterranean plant species belonging to the Labiatae family, were investigated for their phytotoxic activities on seed germination and root growth of crops (Lactuca sativa L. and Raphanus sativus L.) and weed species (Lolium perenne L. and Amaranthus retroflexus L.). Foliar volatiles of C. nepeta (L.) Savi strongly inhibited both germination and root growth of lettuce, and its essential oils, especially at 125, 250 and 500 μL/L, inhibited both processes in lettuce, radish and A. retroflexus L. species, while displaying a little effect on L. perenne L. By GC-MS, 28 chemicals were identified: 17 monoterpenes, 8 sesquiterpenes, 1 diterpene and 2 miscellaneous. Pulegone was the main constituent of the C. nepeta (L.) Savi essential oils. The terpenic components of essentials oils were probably responsible for the phytotoxic activities.

Concepts: Plant, Seed, Plant morphology, Lamiaceae, Brassicaceae, Essential oil, Lettuce, Radish