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Pharmaceutical and biological properties of Stachys species: A review

Abstract

The genus Stachys includes about 300 cosmopolitan species, making it one of the largest genera of the Lamiaceae family. The purpose of this paper is to present a review of Stachys species in the flora of Serbia among which some species are endemic to the Balkan Peninsula. This review comprises morphological, phytochemical, medicinal and food application of 17 taxa: S. аlopecuros, S. аlpina, S. аnisochila, S. аnnua, S. аtherocalyx, S. cretica subsp. cassia, S. germanica, S. leucoglossa, S. milanii, S. officinalis, S. palustris, S. plumose, S. recta, S. tymphaea, S. scardica, S. serbica, and S. sylvatica. The species of the genus Stachys are rich sources of biologically active substances and well known for their worldwide application. For most of the Stachys species, it has been shown that their extracts possess biological activities such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer. The main goals of this review include the morphological description of species, representation of the major secondary metabolites, and presentation of traditional knowledge in food preparation.

Keywords:
Essential oils; Medicinal application; Morphology; Secondary metabolites

INTRODUCTION

Medicinal plants synthesize biologically active substances that have a positive effect on the human body. The usage of plants in traditional medicine has existed for thousands of years in many cultures around the world. Medicinal plants have been used primarily to prepare teas, powders, extracts, and other herbal remedies (Jafarirad, Rasoulpour, 2019Jafarirad S, Rasoulpour I. Pharmaceutical ethnobotany in the Mahaad (West Azerbajan) biosphere reserve: ethno-pharmaceutical formulations, nutraceutical uses and quantitative aspcets. Braz J Pharm Sci . 2019;55:e18133.).

The medicinal application of herbs in Europe has a long tradition, while in some parts of the world (such as India or China) herbal remedies are still a central element in the chain of health care (Evans, 2001Evans WC. Trease and Evans’ Pharmacognosy. London: WB Saunders; 2001.). High quantities of plant raw materials are sold on the international market (Lange, Schippmann, 1997Lange D, Schippmann U. Trade survey of medicinal plants in Germany: A contribution to international plant species conservation. Bonn: Bundesamt für Naturschutz; 1997.). Nowadays, aromatic plants from the Lamiaceae family represent very important potential sources of biological and pharmacological substances, whose action has been proven in numerous scientific studies. Since ancient times, these plants have been used for their antioxidant, antibacterial, antispasmodic, antifungal, and many other biological effects (Burt, 2004Burt S. Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in food.- a review. Int J Food Microbiol. 2004;94(3):223-253.; Passos et al., 2019Passos RB, Bazzo GC, Almeida AR, Noronha CM, Barreto PLM. Evaluation of oxidative stability of mayonnaise containing poly ε-caprolactone nanoparticles loaded with thyme essential oil. Braz J Pharm Sci . 2019;55:e18177.).

The Lamiaceae Martinov (Labiatae Adans.) family is one of the largest and most widespread flowering families. They are represented in tropical and temperate areas, especially in the Mediterranean, Central and Minor Asia (Raja, 2012Raja RR. Medicinally potential plants of Labiatae (Lamiaceae) family: an overview. Res J Med Plant. 2012;6(3):203-213.). These are heliophytic and thermophilous plants growing on neutral to alkaline soils (Glimn-Lacy, Kaufman, 2006Glimn-Lacy J, Kaufman P. Botany illustrated - Introduction to plants, major groups, flowering plant families. New York: Springer Science and Bussines Media; 2006.). They are aromatic due to the presence of essential oils that protect them from overheating (Raja, 2012Raja RR. Medicinally potential plants of Labiatae (Lamiaceae) family: an overview. Res J Med Plant. 2012;6(3):203-213.). Within this family, there are more than 7,200 species and 240 genera of which the most numerous are the following: Salvia (900 species), Scutellaria (360 species), Stachys (300 species), Plectranthus (300 species), Hyptis (280 species), Teucrium (250 species), Vitex (250 species), Thymus (220 species) and Nepeta (200 species) (Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

Genus Stachys L.

The genus Stachys L. includes about 300 cosmopolitan species, making it the largest genus of the Lamioideae subfamily and one of the largest genera of the Lamiaceae family (Salmaki et al., 2011Salmaki Y, Zarre S, Lindqvist C, Heubl G, Bräuchler C. Comparative leaf anatomy of Stachys (Lamiaceae: Lamioideae) in Iran with a discussion on its subgeneric classification. Plant Syst Evol. 2011;294(1):109-25.). The genus includes perennial or annual herbaceous plants, with unbranched or branched stems. The shoots are without hairs or densely covered with woolly or silky hairs. The leaves are mainly sessile and generally serrated. The flowers are also sessile or with a very short stalk, mostly assembled into dense apparent axils in the leaves gap of tree leaves. The calyx is tubular or bell-shaped, with 5 or 10 nerves, mostly properly serrated, with five teeth. The corolla is ambiguous, red, pale yellow or white. The corolla is straight or slightly bent, at the apex slightly extended, long as the calyx longer than the corolla. The upper lip is two-lobed, slightly convex or straight, covered with hairs. The lower lip is extended and triangular. Flowers have four anthers. The front anthers are separated or parallel, mostly longer than the inner ones. Fruits could be ovate in shape or oblong, triangular, rounded in front. Plants belonging to the genus Stachys are widespread in the arid climates of the Mediterranean and southwest Asia, in South and North America and North Africa (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Many species of the genus Stachys are used in the treatment of rheumatic, stomach, asthma, and skin disorders as infusions or decoctions. For some species, it has been shown that their extracts possess biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antinephritic (Gören, 2014Gören AC. Use of Stachys species (Mountain tea) as herbal tea and food. Rec Nat Prod. 2014;8(2):71-82.).

According to the Flora of Serbia, 17 species of the examined genus grow in the territory of Serbia: S. alopecuros (L.) Benth., S. alpine L., S. anisochila Vis. & Pancic, S. annua (L.) L., S. atherocalyx K. Koch, S. cretica subsp. cassia (Boiss.) Rech. f., S. germanica L., S. leucoglossa Griseb., S. milanii Petrov ex Magnier, S. officinalis (L.) Trevis., S. palustris L., S. plumose Griseb., S. recta L., S. tymphaea Hausskn., S. scardica (Griseb.) Hayek, S. serbica Pancic, and S. sylvatica L. (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

In this review, the morphological characteristics, the qualitative composition of the essential oils and secondary metabolites (Table I), as well as the usage for medical purposes of 17 species of genus Stachys in Serbian flora will be presented.

TABLE I
Secondary metabolites of Stachys species

DISCUSSION

Morphological characteristics of the species from the genus Stachys represented in the flora of Serbia.

Stachys alopecurus (L.) Benth.

A perennial plant with erected stems, unbranched, covered with long hairs. The leaves are periphery serrated, densely covered with long hairs. The bracts are small and egg-shaped. The flowers are arranged in the apparent axil. At the top of the stem, flowers build a densely compacted, elongated ovoid. The calyx is densely covered with hairs. The corolla is a pale yellow, thinly covered with hairs at the outside. The corolla tube is long as a calyx, and in the inner part it possesses a ring of hairs. It grows on rocky pastures and meadows in the subalpine and alpine zones (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys alpina L.

A perennial herb with a strong developed rhizome. The stem is upright, unbranched or branched. The leaves are with a leaf stalk, covered with hairs. The bracts are egg-shaped. The flowers are long, arranged in 6-18 apparent axils. The calyx is tubular, covered with long hairs and densely glandular hairs. The crown is reddish, externally covered with long woolly hairs. The crown tube is funnel-shaped, long as the calyx, and in the inner part it possesses a ring of hairs. The fruits are ovoid, gray brown (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys anisochila Vis. et Pančić

A perennial herbaceous plant, with branched, stems from the base. The leaves are ovoid, large, serrated at the edge. The bracts are elongate, narrow, and long as the flowers. Six flowers are arranged in apparent clusters, which are grouped at the top of the stem. The calyx is with two lobes, covered with thin hairs. The corolla is pale yellow, with reddish spots, and the ring of hairs inside the crown tube. It grows on limestone habitats. This species is endemic to the Balkan Peninsula (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys annua (L.) L.

An annual plant, with branched or unbranched erected stems. At the lower and upper part covered with thin hairs, often glands. The leaves are spherical or lanceolate. The upper bracts are sessile, lanceolate, long as flowers or even smaller. The flowers are with short flower petals, often densely covered with hairs. The calyx is tubular and bell-shaped, mostly covered by short hairs and glands. The corolla is a whitish yellow, covered with hairs at the outside. The corolla tube is straight, longer than the calyx. The fruits are ovoid, black, with blunt angles. It grows in monoculture fields, on railways, especially on limestone parent material, up to 1 500 m above sea level (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys atherocalyx K. Koch

A perennial plant, the rhizome is woody, branched, thick, and with developed stolons. The stem is erect, slightly branched or unbranched, covered with hairs. The leaves are linear or elongated, lanceolate, both on the abaxial and adaxial side densely covered with gray hairs. The flowers are with a short petal, all grouped in an apparent cluster. The calyx is bell-shaped, covered with long gray hairs. The corolla is white-yellowish or whitish, covered with hairs. The corolla tube is the same length as the calyx. The fruits are brown, triangular, punctate. It grows in meadows and shrubs (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys cretica subsp. cassia (Boiss.) Rech. f. (syn. Stachys cassia (Boiss.) Boiss.))

A perennial plant, mostly unbranched, densely covered with woolly hairs, primarily in the upper part and without glandular hairs. The leaves are elongated, rarely narrowed into a handle, covered with thin woolly hairs. The bracts are sessile. The flowers are clustered in dense apparent axils. The calyx is covered with long woolly hairs. The corolla is pink. The upper lip is covered with woolly hairs. It grows on rocky fields and dry meadows. It is widespread in the Balkan Peninsula (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)). The synonym for the name of this species is Stachys cretica subsp. cassia (Boiss.).

Stachys germanica L.

A perennial plant, with branched or unbranched erect stems. The leaves are mostly elongate ovate or lanceolate. The leaves are serrated along the edge. Flowers are sessile, arranged in 5-10 dense apparent axils, grouped at the tips of the stem and branches into dense apparent clusters. The calyx is tubular, densely covered with silky hairs. The corolla is light red and densely covered with long silky hairs at the outside. The corolla tube is long as a calyx and in the inner part possesses a single ring of hairs. The fruits are triangular, smooth, and black. It grows on rocky habitats, along roads, in forests and shrubs (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys leucoglossa Griseb.

A perennial plant, with a heavily branched stem covered with short hairs. The leaves are narrow, lanceolate, covered with short hairs, and serrated along the edge. The bracts are egg-shaped or lancet-shaped. Each of 6 flowers is arranged in an apparent cluster, grouped one above the other at the top of the stem. The calyx is partially covered with hairs. The corolla is pale pink or white, with one ring of hairs inside the same. It grows on rocky habitats (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys milanii Petrov ex Magnier

An annual plant, with branched or partially branched stems, densely covered with glandular and long hairs. The leaves are densely covered with glandular hairs, with barely serrated edges. The bracts are almost as long as flowers, ending with a spike at the top. At the top of the stems, 4-6 flowers are arranged in apparent axils and build up an apparent cluster. The calyx is bell-shaped, externally densely covered with glandular hairs. The corolla is a matte yellow, covered with glandular hairs along the back and upper lip. It grows in crop fields and meadows. It is endemic to the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys officinalis (L.) Trevis

A perennial plant, the stem is erect, branched or unbranched, covered with hairs. Most leaves are grouped in the rosette, except for 2-3 pairs located on the stems. The bracts are ovoid, barely longer than the calyx. About 10 flowers are clustered in apparent axils. The calyx is tubular and bell-shaped, covered with hairs at the top. The corolla is red in the upper part, rarely white. The corolla tube is longer than the calyx, white, covered with thin hairs on the upper side. The fruits are ovoid, smooth, and brown. It especially grows on mountain ranges and in moderately dry to moist meadows (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys palustris L.

A perennial plant, with branched or unbranched stems. The leaves are sessile, elongated, lanceolate, covered with short hairs. Each of 6-12 flowers is arranged in 5-20 apparent axils, grouped one above the other at the top of the stem and branches, forming a dense apparent cluster. The calyx is tubularly bell-shaped, almost naked or covered with hairs and glands. The corolla is reddish or purple. The corolla tube is straight, long as a calyx. The fruits are with cracks, dark-brown, glossy. It grows near the river meadows and inhabits wet fields (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys plumosa Griseb.

A perennial herbaceous plant, the stem is erect, branched or unbranched, covered with short glandular and woolly hairs. The leaves are lanceolate, covered with short glandular hairs and long hairs. Each of the 6-12 flowers is arranged in dense apparent axils. The flowers are grouped one above the other at the top of the stem and branches into clusters. The calyx is covered with short glandular hairs. The flowers are yellow or reddish. It grows on arid habitats, on limestone and siliceous substrates (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys recta L.

A perennial plant, with numerous branched or unbranched erected stems. The leaves are ovoid, elliptical to lanceolate, thinly covered with short hairs. The bracts are seated. Flowers (6-15) are arranged in 6-12 apparent axils. The calyx is tubular, bell-shaped, covered with short hairs and glands. Corolla is yellowish white to pale yellow, naked or covered with short hairs. The corolla tube is longer than the calyx or equal. The fruits are ovoid and smooth. It grows in shrubs, in pine and oak forests, on arid rocky slopes, meadows, and pastures (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys tymphaea Hausskn. (syn. Stachys reinertii Heldr.)

A perennial plant, with unbranched stems, covered with long hairs but without glands. The leaves are elongated or ovoid, covered with short gray hairs. The flowers are arranged at the apex of the stem into thick apparent axils. The calyx is covered with long hairs. The corolla is red, with a hairy ring inside the tube. It grows in pastures, meadows, and rocky habitats in the subalpine and alpine regions (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys scardica (Griseb.) Hayek

A perennial plant, with unbranched erect stems, densely covered with long hairs. All leaves are elongate, lanceolate, serrated at the edge, covered with hairs on the abaxial and adaxial side. The flowers are clustered in a dense apparent axil, grouped at the top of the stem into an elongated apparent cluster. The calyx is tubular, covered with hairs. The corolla is white, with reddish parts, covered with short hairs at the outside. The corolla tube is barely longer than the calyx. It grows in shrubs and coniferous forests in the subalpine and alpine regions, pastures, and dry meadows. It is endemic to the Balkan Peninsula (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys serbica Pancic

An annual plant, branched or unbranched, covered with hairs. The leaves are elongated or ovoid, serrated along the edge and covered with hairs. The bracts are sessile, large, lanceolate, longer than the flowers. Each of the 3-6 flowers is arranged in the apparent axil, compacted at each other, at the apex of the stems. The calyx is covered with hairs. The corolla is red, covered with hairs, barely longer than the calyx. It is endemic species to the Balkan Peninsula and inhabits meadows (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Stachys sylvatica L.

A perennial plant with erected branched or unbranched stems. The leaves are with a leaf stalk. They are egg-shaped, with serrated edges, thinly covered with hairs on the abaxial and adaxial side. The bracts are elongated, lanceolate, covered with glandular hairs. The flowers are with short flower petals, 2-6 in 8-15 apparent axil. The calyx is bell-shaped, covered with glandular hairs. Corolla is dark red, almost naked. The corolla tube is straight, on the basis extended with a ring of hairs inside. Fruits are spherical, smooth, and purple brown. It grows in coniferous, deciduous and mixed deciduous forests, in meadows in the subalpine zone (Diklić, 1974Diklić N. Stachys L. In: Josifović M, editor. Flora of SR Serbia. Belgrade: SANU, 1974;408-432. (in Serbian)).

Secondary metabolites of the genus Stachys

A large number of compounds have been isolated from medicinal plants. The pharmacologically active compounds of plants are included in the group of secondary metabolites (Kovačević, 2002Kovačević N. Basics of pharmacognosy. Belgrade: Serbian School Book; 2002.; Almeida et al., 2019Almeida TS, Araújo MEM, Rodríguez LG, Júlio A, Mendes BG, Santos RMB, et al. Influence of preparation procedures on the phenolic content, antioxidant and antidiabetic activities of green and black teas. Braz J Pharm Sci. 2019;55:e17695.). The yield, composition, and intensity of secondary metabolites accumulation in plants depend on a number of factors, such as habitat conditions (geographical location, water regime, light intensity, nutrients), genotype, phenological phase, and the selection of isolation procedures (Agostini et al., 2009Agostini F, Santos ACAD, Rossato M, Pansera MR, Santos PLD, Serafini LA, et al. Essential oil yield and composition of Lamiaceae species growing in southern Brazil. Braz Arch Biol Technol. 2009;52(2):473-478.; Mulinacci et al., 2011Mulinacci N, Innocenti M, Bellumori M, Giaccherini C, Martini V, Michelozzi M. Storage method, drying processes and extraction procedures strongly affect the phenolic fraction of rosemary leaves: an HPLC/DAD/MS study. Talanta. 2011;85(1):167-176.; Stagos et al., 2012Stagos D, Portesis N, Spanou C, Mossialos D, Aligiannis N, Chaita E, et al. Correlation of total polyphenolic content with antioxidant and antibacterial activity of 24 extracts from Greek domestic Lamiaceae species. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012;50(11):4115-4124.; Kontogianni et al., 2013Kontogianni V, Tomić G, Nikolić I, Nerantzaki AA, Sayyad N, Stošić-Grujičić S, et al. Phytochemical profile of Rosmarinus officinalis and Salvia officinalis extracts and correlation to their antioxidant and anti-proliferative activity. Food Chem . 2013;136(1):120-129.; Verma, Padalia, Chauhan, 2015Verma RS, Padalia RC, Chauhan A. Harvesting season and plant part dependent variations in the essential oil composition of Salvia officinalis L. grown in northern India. J Herb Med. 2015;5(3):165-171.).

Stachys species have been extensively studied over the last 20 years. The great structural diversity of secondary metabolites of this genus was caused by the great morphological diversity, various ecological factors, hybridization, and polyploidy. Flavonoids, iridoids, phenolecarboxylic acids, phenylethane heteroids, and terpenoids have been most commonly studied (Buchwald, Czapska, 1995Buchwald W, Czapska A. Tannins and phenolic acids content in herb of domestic species of Betonica L. and Stahys L. genera. Herba Pol. 1995;41(4):198-202.; Bankova et al., 1999Bankova V, Koeva-Todorovska J, Stambolijska T, Ignatova-Groceva M-D, Todorova D, Popov S. Polyphenols in Stachys and Betonica species (Lamiaceae). Z Naturforsch C. 1999;54(11):876-880.; Meremeti et al., 2004Meremeti A, Karioti A, Skaltsa H, Heilmann J, Sticher O. Secondary metabolites from Stachys ionica. Biochem Systs Ecol. 2004;32(2):139-151.; Piozzi, Bruno, 2011Piozzi F, Bruno M. Diterpenoids from roots and aerial parts of the genus Stachys. Rec Nat Prod . 2011;5(1):1-11., Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

Flavonoid aglycones (Table I) are found on the surface of leaves and other aboveground organs, either in the form of exudates, or dissolved in a lipophilic matrix. The aglycones isolated from species of the genus Stachys are mainly flavonic (Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

Flavonoid heterozoids (Table I) are the most abundant type of flavonoids in species of the genus Stachys. They are heteroids of apigenin, luteolin, and chrysoeryl. The most abundant monosaccharides are glucose, aldose, mannose and glucuronic acid. An essential characteristic of species of this genus is the presence of allozylglucoside 8-hydroxyflavones, occurring in the form of monoacetylated, diacetylated and nonacetylated heteroids (Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

The production of phenylethane heteroids is characteristic for species of the genus Stachys, from which a large number of compounds of this class have been isolated. Some of these species are widespread in the plant kingdom (martinoside, forsitoside B, acteoside), whereas some have been identified only in species of this genus (Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

A number of iridoids and their heteroids have been identified in species of the genus Stachys (Table I). These compounds are thought to have phytoalexin function in plants. In some species of this genus, iridoid heterozoids with specific structures have been identified, such as acetylmyoporosis and alobetonicoside, which are present in the species S. officinalis and S. glutinosa (Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

Diterpenes are isolated from underground organs, rarely from aboveground parts of the Stachys genus. The most common diterpenes are of the neo-clerodane type, labdane type, as well as derivatives of ent-kaurene. So far, about 30 diterpenes have been isolated from species of this genus (Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

Phenolecarboxylic acids represent derivatives of hydroxybenzoic acid and hydroxycitric acid. They could be free or in the form of esters, amides or heteroids. Phenolecarboxylic acids exhibit different pharmacological effects. Caffeic acid and its conjugates are considered to be chemotaxonomically significant markers of the Lamiaceae family. Caffeic acid is present in many species of the genus Stachys (Table I). Rosemarinic acid has been identified in several species of the genus Stachys, but at a very low concentration (Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

The alkaloids are represented in minimal quantities in the species from genus Stachys, e.g., in species: S. sylvatica, S. atherocalyx (0.03-0.74%). These are mainly compounds of the pyrrolidine structure, and the stachydrine is the most common (Kukić-Marković, 2013Kukić-Marković J. Chemical and pharmacological characterization of Stachys anisochila, S. beckeana, S. plumosa and S. alpina subsp. dinarica (Lamiaceae). [Dissertation]. Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Pharmacy; 2013. (in Serbian)).

Essential oils

Species of this genus are poor in yield of essential oils (0.01-0.5%) (Gören et al., 2011Gören AC, Piozzi F, Akcicek E, Kiliç T, Çarikçi S, Mozioglu E, et al. Essential oil composition of twenty-two Stachys species (mountain tea) and their biological activites. Phytochem Lett. 2011;4(4):448-453.) being the characteristic of other genera of the Lamioideae subfamily as well. The largest number of essential oils of the Stachys genus is rich in sesquiterpenes. Hydrocarbons have the main function, while oxidized sesquiterpenes are the dominant components of essential oils. The most common sesquiterpenes are (E)-caryophyllene, germacrene D, and caryophyllene-oxide (Gören et al., 2011Gören AC, Piozzi F, Akcicek E, Kiliç T, Çarikçi S, Mozioglu E, et al. Essential oil composition of twenty-two Stachys species (mountain tea) and their biological activites. Phytochem Lett. 2011;4(4):448-453.).

Aliphatic and aromatic compounds constitute a significant percentage in the essential oils of some species of the genus Stachys (Çakir et al., 1997Çakir A, Duru ME, Harmandar M, Izumi S, Hirata T. The Volatile Constituents of Stachys recta L. and Stachys balansae L., from Turkey. Flavour Fragr J. 1997;12(3):215-218.). In the essential oils of more than 30 species of this genus, about 45 diterpenes have been identified, mainly derivatives of labdane, kaurene, primarane, and abietane (Piozzi, Bruno, 2011Piozzi F, Bruno M. Diterpenoids from roots and aerial parts of the genus Stachys. Rec Nat Prod . 2011;5(1):1-11.). Diterpene compounds are most commonly represented in low quantities in these essential oils. A small number of essential oils of the Stachys genus are dominated by monoterpenes, and the most abundant are α- and β-pinene, linalool, and linalyl acetate (Gören et al., 2011Gören AC, Piozzi F, Akcicek E, Kiliç T, Çarikçi S, Mozioglu E, et al. Essential oil composition of twenty-two Stachys species (mountain tea) and their biological activites. Phytochem Lett. 2011;4(4):448-453.).

The selected species of the genus Stachys have so far only been partially chemically and pharmacologically examined. The presence of labdane diterpenes was found in the herb of S. pulmosa (Paternostro et al., 2000Paternostro KP, Maggio AM, Piozzi F, Servettaz O. Labdane diterpenes froom Stachys pulmosa. J Nat Prod . 2000;63(8):1166-1167.), as well as 7-O-β-coumarylglucosides (Marin et al., 2004Marin PD, Grayer RJ, Grujić-Jovanović S, Kite GC, Veitch NC. Glycosides of tricetin methyl ethers as chemosystematic markers in Stachys subgenus Betonica. Phytochemistry . 2004;65(9):1247-1253.). The antimicrobial activity of S. pulmosa essential oil samples was observed (Ristić et al., 2008Ristić N, Lazarević J, Radulović N, Palić R. Antimicrobial activity of the essential oils of Stachys species. Chem Nat Comp . 2008;44(4):522-525.).

Chemical analyses performed on S. atherocalyx are were characterized by spathulenol as a major component of the species. Therefore, 18 monoterpenes (α-pinene, linalyl, linalyl acetate), 13 sesquiterpenes, and aromatic hydrocarbons were perceived as components (Rezazadeh et al., 2009Rezazadeh S, Pirali-Hamedani M, Hadjiakhondi A, Ajnai Y, Yarigar-Ravesh M, Shaflee A. Chemical composition of the essential oils of Stachys atherocalyx and S. sylvatica from Iran. Chem Nat Comp . 2009;45(5):742-744.).

Sesquiterpene hydrocarbons and (E)-caryophyllene were noticed to be the most abundant in the analysis of the essential oil of S. alopecuros. Germacrene D, α-humulene and oxidized cis-sesquisabinene hydrates were also observed (Venditti et al., 2013Veneditti A, Bianco A, Nicoletti M, Quassinti L, Bramucci M, Lupidi G, et al. Phytochemical analysis, biological evaluation and micromorphological study of Stachys alopecuros (L.) Benth. subsp. divulsa (Ten.) Grande endemic to central Apennines, Italy. Fitoterapia . 2013;90(10):94-103.). Significant cytotoxic activity was demonstrated by S. alopecuros essential oil, which exerts a potent inhibitory effect on human cancer cells (Conforti et al., 2009Conforti F, Menichini F, Formisano C, Rigano D, Senatore F, Arnold NA, Piozzi F. Comparative chemical composition, free radical-scavenging and cytotoxic properties of essential oils of six Stachys species from different regions of the Mediterranean Area. Food Chem . 2009;116(4):898-905.). The antioxidant effect of the essential oils of this species was also proven (Calleja, 2012Calleja MA, Vieites JM, Montero-Meterdez T, Torres MI, Faus MJ, Gil A, et al. The antioxidant effect of β-caryophyllene protects rat liver from carbon tetrachloride-induced fibrosis by inhibiting hepatic stellate cell activation. Br J Nutr. 2012;109(3):394-401.).

In the chemical composition of S. annua species, monoterpenes, aldehydes, and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons were shown to be the most abundant. The α-pinene, β-pinene, (E)-β-ocimen, γ-murolen, α-cedar, and limonene were also recorded (Venditti et al., 2015Venditti A, Bianco A, Quassinti L, Bramucci M, Lupidi G, Damiano S, et al. Phytochemical analysis, biological activity, and secretory structures of Stachys annua (L.) L. subsp. annua (Lamiaceae) from Central Italy. Chem Biodiv. 2015;12(8):1172-83.).

For the first time, diterpene lactone betolide was isolated from the root of S. officinalis (Tkachev et al., 1987Tkachev VV, Nikonov GK, Atovmyan LO, Kobzar AY, Zinchenko TV. Chemical and X-ray investigation of the new diterpene lactone betolide. Chem Nat Comp . 1987;23:672-678.); the diterpene lactone was not identified in other species of the genus Stachys. In S. officinalis, γ-murolene, β-caryophyllene, benzaldehyde, phytols, allo-aromadendrenes, δ-cadinol and β-bourbonen were identified in the leaf, and γ-murolene, benzaldehyde, phytol and germacrene in the flower (Dimitrova-Dyulger et al., 2015Dimitrova-Dyulgerova I, Merdzhanov P, Todorov K, Scymenska D, Stoyanov P, Mladenov R. Essential oils composition of Betonica officinalis L. and Stachys sylvatica L. (Lamiaceae) from Bulgaria. Physiologie végétale. 2015;68(8):991-995.).

In the leaf samples of species S. sylvatica, different compounds were identified: γ-murolene, phytols, β-caryophyllene, benzaldehyde, heptadecane, t-cadinol, germacrene, α-farnesene. The presence of γ-murolene, benzaldehyde, phytol, and germacrene was identified in the flowers (Dimitrova-Dyulgerova et al., 2015Dimitrova-Dyulgerova I, Merdzhanov P, Todorov K, Scymenska D, Stoyanov P, Mladenov R. Essential oils composition of Betonica officinalis L. and Stachys sylvatica L. (Lamiaceae) from Bulgaria. Physiologie végétale. 2015;68(8):991-995.).

The essential oil of the species S. palustris is mainly composed of carbonyl compounds, fatty acids, and their esters, sesquiterpenoid compounds, and phenols. Unlike other species of this genus, S. palustris essential oil showed significant presence of carbonyl compounds and fatty acids, whereas ketones predominate over aldehydes. The major components of the oil are caryophyllene oxide, hexahydrofarnasyl acetone, hexadecanoic acid, (Z, Z, Z)-9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid, (Z)-phytol, thymol, p-methoxyacetophenone, 4-vinylguaiacol, tetradecanoic acid, (E)-caryophyllene, ß-ionone and ß-damascenone (Senatore et al., 2007Senatore F, Formisano C, Rigano D, Piozzi F, Rosselli S. Chemical composition of the essential oil from aerial parts of Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae) growing wild in Southern Italy. Croat Chem Acta. 2007;80(1):135-139.).

Testing of the essential oil content was the prior aim of the chemical analyses performed on S. germanica. The analyzes of the essential oil revealed unique terpenoid structures. The most common are borneol, bicyclogermacrene (Grujić-Jovanović et al., 2008Grujić-Jovanovic S, Marin PD, Dzamic A, Ristic M. Composition of the essential oil of Stachys germanica from Serbia. Chem Nat Comp. 2008;44(5):670-672.), (E)-β-farnesene, germakren D (Grujić-Jovanović et al., 2004Grujić-Jovanovic S, Skaltsa HD, Marin P, Sokovic M. Composition and antibacterial activity of the essential oil of six Stachys species from Serbia. Flavour Frag J. 2004;199(2):139-144.) caryophyllene oxide, (E)-nerolidol, β-caryophyllene (Radulović et al., 2007Radulović N, Lazarević J, Ristić N, Palić R. Chemotaxonomic significance of the volatiles in the genus Stachys (Lamiaceae): Essential oil composition of four Balkan Stachys species. Biochem Syst Ecol. 2007;35(4):196-208.). Several scientific studies have shown that essential oil of this species exhibits antioxidant and antimicrobial activity (Skaltsa et al., 2003Skaltsa HD, Demetzos C, Lazari D, Sokovic M. Essential oil analysis and antimicrobial activity of eight Stachys species from Greece. Phytochemistry . 2003;64(3):743-752.; Conforti et al., 2009Conforti F, Menichini F, Formisano C, Rigano D, Senatore F, Arnold NA, Piozzi F. Comparative chemical composition, free radical-scavenging and cytotoxic properties of essential oils of six Stachys species from different regions of the Mediterranean Area. Food Chem . 2009;116(4):898-905.; Lazarević et al., 2010Lazarević JS, Palić RM, Radulović NS, Ristić N, Stojanović GS. Chemical composition and screening of the antimicrobial and antioxidative activity of extracts of Stachys species. J Serb Chem Soc. 2010;75(10):1347-1359.).

Chalchat et al., (2000Chalchat JC, Petrović SD, Maksimovic ZA, Gorunovic MS. Essential oil of the herb of Stachys recta L., Lamiaceae from Serbia. J Essent Oil Res. 2000;12(4):455-458.) found that monoterpenes and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons were poorly represented in S. recta essential oil. The 40% of the identified components were alcohols, ketones, oxides, and esters. 1-octen-3-ol was the main constituent of the tested oil, while other important components were caryophyllene oxide, humulene oxide, and nerolidol.

Biological activities of secondary metabolites

Plant extracts of S. alpina (subsp. alpina) have been investigated for antioxidant activity and have been found to inhibit lipid peroxidation in homogenates of the bovine brain. For the aqueous extract of the plant S. alpina (subsp. alpina), anti-inflammatory activity was investigated on a model of carrageenan-induced rat paw edema. After intraperitoneal administration (5 mg/kg), the extract suppressed edema by about 80% (Háznagy-Radnai et al., 2006Háznagy-Radnai E, Czigle S, Zupkó I, Falkay G, Máthé I. Comparison of antioxidant activity in enzyme-independent system of six Stachys species. Fitoterapia. 2006;77(7-8):521-524.).

Anti-inflammatory, antitoxic, and hypoazotemic activity in rats is manifested by the flavonoid fraction isolated from S. recta (Háznagy-Radnai et al. 2012Háznagy-Radnai E, Balogh A, Czigle S, Máthé I, Hohmann J, Blazsó G. Antiinflammatory activities of Hungarian Stachys species and their iridoids. Phytother Res. 2012;26(4):505-509.). Háznagy-Radnai et al. (2012)Háznagy-Radnai E, Balogh A, Czigle S, Máthé I, Hohmann J, Blazsó G. Antiinflammatory activities of Hungarian Stachys species and their iridoids. Phytother Res. 2012;26(4):505-509. found that aqueous extracts of aboveground parts of S. recta, S. germanica, S. officinalis and S. alpina exhibit better anti-inflammatory effect on carrageenan-induced edema rat paws compared to the same dose of diclofenac sodium. Methanolic extracts of aboveground parts of S. recta, S. annua, S. officinalis, S. sylvatica were found to inhibit lipid peroxidation in bovine brain homogenizers (Háznagy-Radnai et al., 2006Háznagy-Radnai E, Czigle S, Zupkó I, Falkay G, Máthé I. Comparison of antioxidant activity in enzyme-independent system of six Stachys species. Fitoterapia. 2006;77(7-8):521-524.). The methanolic extracts of S. recta subsp. recta and S. palustris showed a significant antioxidant activity substantially neutralizing the DPPH radicals (Bilušić Vundać, Brantner, Plazibat, 2007Bilušić Vundać V, Brantner AH, Plazibat M. Content of polyphenolic constituents and antioxidant activity of some Stachys taxa. Food Chem. 2007;104(3):1277-1281.).

The usage and application of Stachys species in food and folk medicine

The species of the genus Stachys are used in folk medicine. In different cultures, cosmopolitan species such as S. officinalis, S. recta, and S. palustris are used in a similar way; however, some species are applied in a different way in regions where they are specific (eg. S. lavanduli folia in Iran and Turkey). Therefore, species with pleasant smell are used in the preparation of jelly and yogurt as flavorings (Venditti et al., 2013Veneditti A, Bianco A, Nicoletti M, Quassinti L, Bramucci M, Lupidi G, et al. Phytochemical analysis, biological evaluation and micromorphological study of Stachys alopecuros (L.) Benth. subsp. divulsa (Ten.) Grande endemic to central Apennines, Italy. Fitoterapia . 2013;90(10):94-103.).

Stachys officinalis (L) Trevis (synonym: Betonica officinalis) is the most frequently used species of this genus. The healing ability of this plant has been known since ancient times and it has been used to treat as many as 47 diseases. In the Middle Ages, many magical and healing powers were assigned to this species (Gören, 2014Gören AC. Use of Stachys species (Mountain tea) as herbal tea and food. Rec Nat Prod. 2014;8(2):71-82.). It was used as a protection against evil spirits and spells. It was also known as a medicinal plant, mainly in monasteries (Grieve, 1971Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications; 1971.). Stachys officinalis was considered as an inviolable cure for all mental disorders. According to ‘’Britannica Medicine’’ (1666), the decoct is considered useful in hysteria, headache (caused by high blood pressure), in neuralgia and in all neurotic conditions associated with tension and anxiety. It is also used as an aromatic and an astringent, as a tonic for dyspepsia in combination with other herbs, for cleaning the blood and as an alternative therapy for rheumatism. The dried aerial part of the plant is used for the treatment of headache together in combination with the herb of the Tussilago farfara L., Asteraceae and the Euphrasia officinalis L., Scrophulariaceae (Grieve, 1971Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications; 1971.). Čajkanović (1994Čajkanović V. Dictionary of Serbian folk beliefs about plants. Belgrade: Serbian Literary Cooperative. BIGZ; 1994. (in Serbian)) described the species as a popular balm for wounds and snake bite, a cure for pulmonary disease, fever, and headaches. Due to the high content of tannins, the aerial parts of the plant are used as an astringent and antidiarrheal (Hoppe, 1958Hoppe H. Drogekunde. Hamburg: Gram de Gruyter and Co; 1958.). In large doses, it acts as purgative. Dried and milled leaves are used in the cold treatment. In homeopathy, it is used for weakness and asthma. The tincture of fresh leaves is used for the treatment of diarrhea. The decoction is applied to varicose veins and externally for the treatment of infected wounds (Hoppe, 1958Hoppe H. Drogekunde. Hamburg: Gram de Gruyter and Co; 1958.; Schauenberg, Paris, 1969Schauenberg P, Paris F. Guide des plantes Medicinales. Neuchatel: Delachaux & Niestle S.A.; 1969.). It is part of the Swiss Tea (Species vulnerariae) which is used to treat wounds, bruises, cuts, burns (Tucakov, 1971Tucakov J. Treatment with plants. Belgrade: Rad; 1971. (in Serbian)). In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the tea of the species S. officinalis is used for ‘blood purification’ (Šarić-Kundalić et al., 2010Šarić-Kundalić B, Dobes C, Klatte-Asselmeyer V, Saukel J. Ethnobotanical study on medicinal use of wild and cultivated plants in middle, south and west Bosnia and Herzegovina. J Ethnopharmacol . 2010;131(1):33-55.). In Kosovo, in the Golak area, fresh leaves are applied externally for skin infection, fresh herb juice is used for ear pain, and the infusion is applied externally for the treatment of wounds. It is used internally for menstrual pain and reduction of bleeding (Mustafa et al., 2011Mustafa B, Hajdari A, Pajazita Q, Syla B, Quave CL, Pieroni A. An ethnobotanical survey of the Gollak region, Kosovo. Genet Resour Crop Evol. 2011;59(5):739-754.). S. officinalis could be used in the treatment of ulcers and lichen in domestic animals (Willfort, 1978Willfort R. Medicinal plants and its use. Zagreb: Book publishing company, Mladost’’; 1978;97-98.). In Italy (Tuscany), fresh chewed leaves of this plant (known as concretion) are applied to wounds in horses, cattle, dogs, and cats, even if they are fertilized and infected (Manganelli, Camangi, Tomei, 2001Manganelli URE, Camangi F, Tomei PE. Curing animals with plants: traditional usage in Tuscany (Italy). J Ethnopharmacol . 2001;78(2-3):171-91.). The flowers and leaves of S. officinalis are suitable for the preparation of meat dishes, due to their pleasant aroma and taste (Grieve, 1971Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications; 1971.).

Stachys recta are used in folk medicine for the treatment of nasopharyngeal catarrh, fever, burns, wounds and are also used as the astringents. The dried aboveground part of the plant (known as Herba sideritis) is used in folk medicine against hysteria and epilepsy (Thoms, 1931Thoms H. The handbook of Pharmacy. Berlin: Urban & Scwarzenberg; 1931.; Garnier, Bezanger-Beaquesne, Debraux, 1961Garnier G, Bezanger-Beaquesne L, Debraux G. Ressources medicinales de la Flore francaise. Paris: Vigot Freres Editeurs; 1961.). In Italy (Liguria), the aerial parts are used as a coat for painful places on the skin. Decoct has an application in magic rituals, and it is also used for toothache and nervousness (Cornara et al., 2009Cornara L, La Rocca A, Marsili S, Mariotii MG. Traditional uses of plants in the Eastern Riviera (Liguria, Italy). J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;125(1):16-30.). S. recta are also reported to be poisonous (Gören, 2014Gören AC. Use of Stachys species (Mountain tea) as herbal tea and food. Rec Nat Prod. 2014;8(2):71-82.).

Stachys palustris is used as spasmolytic and antiseptic remedy. It is also used to treat fever, wounds, abdominal pain and menstrual problems (Grieve, 1971Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications; 1971.; Gruenwald, Brendler, Jaenicke, 2004Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for herbal medicines. New Jersey: Thompson PDR; 2004.). The crushed leaves of a fresh plant are used to quickly prevent bleeding. The plant is effective against the treatment of cramps, gout, and pains in the joints (Senatore et al., 2007Senatore F, Formisano C, Rigano D, Piozzi F, Rosselli S. Chemical composition of the essential oil from aerial parts of Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae) growing wild in Southern Italy. Croat Chem Acta. 2007;80(1):135-139.). It is used internally for dysentery (Grieve, 1971Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications; 1971.). In North America, it has been used by members of the Delaware tribe to treat venereal diseases (Luczaj, Svanberg, Köhler, 2011Luczaj LJ, Svanberg I, Köhler P. Marsh woundwort, Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae): an overlooked food plant. Gent Resour Crop Evol. 2011;58:783-793.). The species S. palustris is known in Italy as the erba strega o scabbiosa (witch or scabbard grass). Although the whole herb possesses unpleasant smell, root, leaf and seeds can be used in the diet (Senatore et al., 2007Senatore F, Formisano C, Rigano D, Piozzi F, Rosselli S. Chemical composition of the essential oil from aerial parts of Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae) growing wild in Southern Italy. Croat Chem Acta. 2007;80(1):135-139.). The root of this plant is tubular, it can be eaten boiled, baked or raw. In Poland, Sweden, Ukraine and Great Britain, the tubers of Stachys palustris are used as food - for the preparation of salads, soups and vodka additives (Gören, 2014Gören AC. Use of Stachys species (Mountain tea) as herbal tea and food. Rec Nat Prod. 2014;8(2):71-82.). After milling aerial parts, the powder could be used as flour for bread preparation (Luczaj, Svanberg, Köhler, 2011Luczaj LJ, Svanberg I, Köhler P. Marsh woundwort, Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae): an overlooked food plant. Gent Resour Crop Evol. 2011;58:783-793.). Young shoots can be used and prepared as asparagus (Grieve, 1971Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications; 1971.; Senatore et al., 2007Senatore F, Formisano C, Rigano D, Piozzi F, Rosselli S. Chemical composition of the essential oil from aerial parts of Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae) growing wild in Southern Italy. Croat Chem Acta. 2007;80(1):135-139.; Luczaj, Svanberg, Köhler, 2011Luczaj LJ, Svanberg I, Köhler P. Marsh woundwort, Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae): an overlooked food plant. Gent Resour Crop Evol. 2011;58:783-793.). The cooked part of the plant possesses a sweet taste because of the presence of digestible carbohydrates which could be consumed against diabetes (Gören, 2014Gören AC. Use of Stachys species (Mountain tea) as herbal tea and food. Rec Nat Prod. 2014;8(2):71-82.). Aboveground parts of S. palustris have been used in Scotland to produce blue and yellow textile colors (Luczaj, Svanberg, Köhler, 2011Luczaj LJ, Svanberg I, Köhler P. Marsh woundwort, Stachys palustris L. (Lamiaceae): an overlooked food plant. Gent Resour Crop Evol. 2011;58:783-793.).

In Iran, the leaves of the species Stachys germanica are prepared in the form of infusions for gastric pain and painful menstruation (Gören, 2014Gören AC. Use of Stachys species (Mountain tea) as herbal tea and food. Rec Nat Prod. 2014;8(2):71-82.). In Italy, it is used to treat warts in domestic animals (Viegi et al., 2003Viegi L, Pieroni A, Guarrera PM, Vangelisti R. A review of plants used in folk veterinary medicine in Italy as basis for a databank. J Ethnopharmacol . 2003;89(2-3):221-244.). The aboveground part of S. sylvatica is used to treat inflammation of the salivary glands, varicose veins and swelling (Grieve, 1971Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications; 1971.). Also, it has been reported that tea of species S. sylavtica has an unpleasant smell (Gören, 2014Gören AC. Use of Stachys species (Mountain tea) as herbal tea and food. Rec Nat Prod. 2014;8(2):71-82.). The infusion of the aboveground parts of S. athorecalyx is used in the treatment of arthritis, respiratory disorders and other types of infections. The decoct of S. atherocalyx is used to prevent nausea (Rezazadeh et al., 2009Rezazadeh S, Pirali-Hamedani M, Hadjiakhondi A, Ajnai Y, Yarigar-Ravesh M, Shaflee A. Chemical composition of the essential oils of Stachys atherocalyx and S. sylvatica from Iran. Chem Nat Comp . 2009;45(5):742-744.). In northern parts of Albania, aboveground parts of S. alpine L. are used as food for cattle (Pieroni et al., 2005Pieroni A, Dibra B, Grishaj G, Grishaj I, Gjon Macai S. Traditional phytotherapy of the Albanians og Lepushe, Northern Albanian Alps. Fitoterapia . 2005;76(3-4):379-399.). The flowers of S. annua are used in insomnia treatments (Hoppe, 1958Hoppe H. Drogekunde. Hamburg: Gram de Gruyter and Co; 1958.) and it is reported that species S. annua could be poisonous (Gören, 2014Gören AC. Use of Stachys species (Mountain tea) as herbal tea and food. Rec Nat Prod. 2014;8(2):71-82.). The infusion of S. leucoglossa is used for the treatment of breast and uterine cancer (Kültür, Sami, 2009Kültür S, Sami SN. Medicinal plants used in Isperih (Razgrad-Bulgaria) district. Turk J Pharm Sci. 2009;6(2):107-124.).

CONCLUSIONS

Stachys species are widely used in traditional and modern medicine due to their active substances that improve physiological functions through pharmacological or metabolic actions. Aboveground parts of plants are most commonly used to prepare teas or decoctions. The species of the genus Stachys are mainly used in alternative medicine as supplements due to their expressed biological activities such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activity. The species extracts could also find applications in the pharmaceutical industry for making drugs and supplements.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    09 Jan 2023
  • Date of issue
    2022

History

  • Received
    24 Mar 2020
  • Accepted
    19 Nov 2020
Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, n. 580, 05508-000 S. Paulo/SP Brasil, Tel.: (55 11) 3091-3824 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: bjps@usp.br