Chromatographic Purification Of The Water Extract Of Virola Surinamensis (Rol.) Warb, An Amazonian Medicinal Plant | 53732
Journal of Chromatography & Separation Techniques
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V. surinamensis (Myristicaceae) known as ucuúba branca is a well known Brazilian medicinal plant used to treat cramps,
dyspepsia and general inflammation. The present work describes the phytochemical study of its hot water extract (tea).
Seven compounds from three phenolic groups were identified by NMR and MS analyses: flavan-3-ols, dihydroflavonol and
flavonols. The aqueous extract was obtained by infusion of the dried leaves powder (2.5%) with distilled water at 77°C for 30
min and stirring every 10 min. The water extract partitioned with butanol yielded the butanolic fraction which was purified
by HPLC using a water/acetonitrile linear gradient in a C18 column. Aliquots of 1 mL (100 mg/mL) of the butanol fraction
were injected into the column and 10 peak fractions were collected. The chemical identification was performed by nuclear
magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS). Polyphenols were successfully isolated from the
butanolic fraction of the leaves’ tea. The separation time was short (30 min) at 10 mL/min flow rate. Seven compounds were
identified from five fractions: procyanidin-B3, astilbin, quercitrin, neoisoastilbin, isoastilbin, engeletin and afzelin. Since our
extract was prepared according to the folk use (tea), the aqueous extraction was the first choice rather than using non-polar
solvents. This could explain why none of the identified compounds was previously reported in V. surinamensis. Therefore, this
work contributes to the phytochemical study of V. surinamensis describing compounds present only in the water extract of the
plant leaves. It may also contribute to the pharmacological evaluation of medicinal plants considering that in vitro preparations
predominate in the majority of the published papers. On this regard, as much as the ethno-information is concerned, the
present results reinforce the need for the chemical purification of medicinal plants as it is used in folk medicine, i.e. extraction
with natural solvents and procedures compatible with in vivo administration by topic or by oral route.
Mirtes Midori Tanae, PharmD, has special interest in chromatographic separation of natural compounds from medicinal plants. She has a Post-doctoral research position to accomplish with part of the project entitled “The pharmacological activity of Brazilian Cecropiaceae plants used in Brazilian folk medicine to treat asthma and respiratory diseases” at Federal University of São Paulo, School of Medicine (UNIFESP-EPM).