Although mainly known as source of noble wood for furniture construction, species of the genus Aspidosperma have been extensively studied in Phytochemistry but scarcely investigated in Pharmacology. Aspidosperma species have been commonly used in folk medicine as potential antimalarial agents; in the treatment of leishmaniasis, and uterus and ovary inflammations; as contraceptive; in diabetes and stomach disorders; and against cancer, fever and rheumatism. From a chemical point of view, the great majority of Aspidosperma species have already been subjected to isolation and identification of indole alkaloids present in their several parts. From a pharmacological point of view, few tests have been carried out so far to justify the great applicability of these species in folk medicine besides the importance of the indole alkaloids present in the genus representatives. Aimed at improving the knowledge on the importance of indole alkaloids in the genus Aspidosperma and their relationship with attributed or tested pharmacological activities, we present a review of the main reports involving chemical and biological studies on the genus Aspidosperma.
Aspidosperma; indole alkaloids; biological activity; ethnopharmacology