Secondary metabolites of plants from the genus saussurea: Chemistry and biological activity

Yu Fang Wang, Zhi Yu Ni, Mei Dong, Bin Cong, Qing Wen Shi, Yu Cheng Gu, Hiromasa Kiyota

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The Asteraceae family comprises ca. 1000 genera, mainly distributed in Asia and Europe. Saussurea DC., as the largest subgenus of this family, comprises ca. 400 species worldwide, of which ca. 300 species occur in China. Most plants in China grow wild in the alpine zone of the Qingzang Plateau and adjacent regions at elevations of 4000m. Plants of the genus Saussurea (Asteraceae) are used in both traditional Chinese folk medicine and Tibet folklore medicine, since they are efficacious in relieving internal heat or fever, harmonizing menstruation, invigorating blood circulation, stopping bleeding, alleviating pain, increasing energy, and curing rheumatic arthritis. A large number of biologically active compounds have been isolated from this genus. This review shows the chemotaxonomy of these compounds (215 compounds) such as sesquiterpenoids (101 compounds), flavonoids (19 compounds), phytosterols (15 compounds), triterpenoids (25 compounds), lignans (32 compounds), phenolics (23 compounds), and chlorophylls (11 compounds). Biological activities (anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antitumor, hepatoprotective, anti-ulcer, cholagogic, immunosuppressive, spasmolytic, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, antifeedant, CNS depressant, antioxidant, etc.) of these compounds, including structure-activity relationships, are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2623-2659
Number of pages37
JournalChemistry and Biodiversity
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological activity
  • Saussurea species
  • Structure-activity relationships (SAR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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