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Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society

versión impresa ISSN 0103-5053versión On-line ISSN 1678-4790


SALATINO, Antonio; SALATINO, Maria L. Faria  y  NEGRI, Giuseppina. Traditional uses, chemistry and pharmacology of Croton species (Euphorbiaceae). J. Braz. Chem. Soc. [online]. 2007, vol.18, n.1, pp.11-33. ISSN 0103-5053.

Croton is a genus of Euphorbiaceae comprising around 1,300 species, widespread in tropical regions of the Old and New Worlds. Several species have a long role in the traditional use of medicinal plants in Africa, Asia and South America. Popular uses include treatment of cancer, constipation, diabetes, digestive problems, dysentery, external wounds, fever, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, inflammation, intestinal worms, malaria, pain, ulcers and weight-loss. Several species of Croton have a red sap, in some species containing proanthocyanidins and/or alkaloids. The latter may be taspine or some of several benzylisoquinoline-like compounds. Diterpenes are very common in Croton, corresponding to clerodanes, cembranoid, halimanes, kauranes, labdanes, phorbol esters, trachylobanes and sarcopetalanes. Some species are aromatic due to the possession of volatile oils. Representatives of new classes of compounds (phenylbutanoids, glutarimide alkaloids, sarcopetalane diterpenes) have been isolated from Croton species. While laticifers have been described in Croton species, so far there are no anatomical studies about secretory structures of volatile oil. Few studies about flavonoids have been carried out with Croton species. Chemical affinities are apparent in the genus, grouping species with (i) kauranes and/or labdanes, (ii) trachylobanes and (iii) alkaloids. Pharmacological assays have frequently corroborated the traditional uses of Croton species. A great part of pharmacological assays with Croton substances dealt with the clerodane trans-dehydrocrotonin, a wide diversity of effects having been noticed, including hypolipidemic, hypoglycaemic, anti-oestrogen and anti-cancer. Cytotoxic effects also have been observed in assays with alkaloids (taspine) and with secokaurene, labdane and cembranoid diterpenes. Several other effects of Croton substances have been registered, including anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antiulcer, antiviral and myorelaxant.

Palabras clave : Euphorbiaceae; Croton; diterpenes; alkaloids; flavonoids; volatile oils; antiulcer; antitumoral; antimicrobial.

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