Indigenous Uses, Phytochemical Analysis, and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Australian Tropical Medicinal Plants

Yeshi, Karma, Turpin, Gerry, Jamtsho, Tenzin, and Wangchuk, Phurpa (2022) Indigenous Uses, Phytochemical Analysis, and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Australian Tropical Medicinal Plants. Molecules, 27 (12). 3849.

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Australian tropical plants have been a rich source of food (bush food) and medicine to the first Australians (Aboriginal people), who are believed to have lived for more than 50,000 years. Plants such as spreading sneezeweed (Centipeda minima), goat’s foot (Ipomoea pes-caprae), and hop bush (Dodonaea viscosa and D. polyandra) are a few popular Aboriginal medicinal plants. Thus far, more than 900 medicinal plants have been recorded in the tropical region alone, and many of them are associated with diverse ethnomedicinal uses that belong to the traditional owners of Aboriginal people. In our effort to find anti-inflammatory lead compounds in collaboration with Aboriginal communities from their medicinal plants, we reviewed 78 medicinal plants used against various inflammation and inflammatory-related conditions by Aboriginal people. Out of those 78 species, we have included only 45 species whose crude extracts or isolated pure compounds showed anti-inflammatory properties. Upon investigating compounds isolated from 40 species (for five species, only crude extracts were studied), 83 compounds were associated with various anti-inflammatory properties. Alphitolic acid, Betulinic acid, Malabaric acid, and Hispidulin reduced proinflammatory cytokines and cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1 and 2) with IC50 values ranging from 11.5 to 46.9 uM. Other promising anti-inflammatory compounds are Brevilin A (from Centipeda minima), Eupalestin, and 5′-methoxy nobiletin (from Ageratum conyzoides), Calophyllolide (from Calophyllum inophyllum), and Brusatol (from Brucea javanica). D. polyandra is one example of an Aboriginal medicinal plant from which a novel anti-inflammatory benzoyl ester clerodane diterpenoid compound was obtained (compound name not disclosed), and it is in the development of topical medicines for inflammatory skin diseases. Medicinal plants in the tropics and those associated with indigenous knowledge of Aboriginal people could be a potential alternative source of novel anti-inflammatory therapeutics.

Item ID: 74916
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1420-3049
Keywords: anti-inflammatory; medicinal plants; tropical; aboriginal people; inflammation; inflammatory; phytochemistry
Copyright Information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council Australia (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Ideas grant (APP1183323)
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2022 23:26
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4504 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing > 450411 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medicine and treatments @ 100%
SEO Codes: 21 INDIGENOUS > 2104 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture > 210403 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customary practices @ 100%
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