Hyaluronidase Chicoric Acid

Verbascoside R=H R'=Rhamnose (1,3)-

6-O-Caffeoylglycoside R=6-0-caffeoylglucose R'=Rhamnose (1,3)-

Figure 29.1 • Chemical constituents of Echinacea.

Verbascoside R=H R'=Rhamnose (1,3)-

6-O-Caffeoylglycoside R=6-0-caffeoylglucose R'=Rhamnose (1,3)-

Figure 29.1 • Chemical constituents of Echinacea.

Chiorogenic Acid R1 = r5 = H, R3 = R' Figure 29.2 • Caffeic acid derivatives in Cynarin R-, = r5 = R1, r3 = H Echinacea.

lipophilic, polyacetylenic compounds (Fig. 29.3). The roots of e. angustifolia and e. pallida contain 0.3% to 1.7% echi-nacoside26 as the principal conjugate in the plant. e. angustifolia contains 1,5-o-dicaffeoyl quinic acids (quinic, chlorogenic, and cynarin)27 in the root tissue, allowing distinction by HPLC. Echinacoside has low bacterial and viral activity but does not stimulate the immune system. The most important set of compounds that seem to be found throughout the tissues of all of the echinacea species are the 2,3-o-dicaffeoyl tartaric acids, caftaric acid, and chicoric acid.28 Chicoric acid possesses phagocytic stimulatory activity in vitro and in vivo, whereas echinacoside lacks this activity. Chicoric acid also inhibits hyaluronidase and protects collagen type III from free-radical degradation.

The alkamides29 (Fig. 29.3) from the roots and flowers of e. angustifolia and e. purpurea stimulate phagocytosis in model animal systems. There are a host of these compounds distributed throughout the aerial parts of some Echinacea species and the roots of most. One such compound, echina-cein,28 displays sialogogue and insect repellent properties and is believed to be the main immunostimulant in echinacea. The alkamides and ketoalkynes29,30 may very well possess activity. One notable effect is the anti-inflammatory effect of a high-molecular-weight arabinogalactan that is about as potent as indomethacin.25 The lipophilic fractions, the alkamides, stimulate phagocytosis and inhibit 5-lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase (COX), blocking the inflammatory process.

It is clear that echinacea can stimulate components of the innate immune system, but no single component seems to be responsible for the effect. Echinacea, if taken at the onset of symptoms of a cold or flu, will lessen the severity of the disease. It is not recommended that one use echinacea longer than 10 to 14 days, however, and persons younger than the age of 12 and those who are immunocompromised should never use this herb.

Feverfew

Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz Bip, is an herb that was used in antiquity to reduce fever and pain. The literature is replete with anecdotal evidence of the usefulness of the herb, and recent clinical studies have added more support. Feverfew is a member of the aster/daisy family. The plant tissues have a pungent smell and very bitter taste. The medicinal principle of feverfew is concentrated in hairy trichomes on the chrysanthemum-like leaves.32 The plant displays clusters of daisylike flowers with yellow centers and radiating white florets. Recent uses of feverfew are for migraine and arthritis, although the indication for arthritis is disputable. The anecdotal evidence that an herb could successfully treat a condition such as migraine headache, naturally begged for some scientific proof.

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