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A New Long-Chain Secondary Alkanediol from the Flowers of Argemone Mexicana

Posted on 30. September, 2010.

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An ethanolic extract of the dried flower petals of Argemone mexicana afforded a new and optically active secondary C31-alkanediol characterized as hentriacontane-3,20-diol on the basis of spectral studies including IR, HR-MS, 1H and 13C NMR.

Argemone mexicana Linn. (Papaveraceae), an erect prickly annual herb, is a very common weed found throughout India up to 5000 ft in wastelands and along roadsides.

A. mexicana is considered as an important medicinal plant in India; the yellow juice, which exudes when the plant is injured, has long been used in India as traditional medicine for dropsy, jaundice, ophthalmia, scabies and cutaneous affections. Different parts of this plant are used in chronic skin diseases, and also as emetic, expectorant, demulcent and diuretic; the seeds and seed oil are employed as a remedy for dysentery, ulcers and other intestinal affections. Flowers are found to be expectorant and have been used in the treatment of coughs.

A number of pharmacological studies were carried out with extracts of different parts of this plant; the results showed that A. mexicana possesses various pharmacological properties including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, wound healing, anti-fertility and cytotoxic activity. Plant extracts were also reported to have nematicidal, fungitoxic, antifeedant and lousicidal activity.

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