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J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Jun;70(3):197-203.

Oldenlandia affinis (R&S) DC. A plant containing uteroactive peptides used in African traditional medicine.

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  • 1Biotechnology Center of Oslo, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1125, N-0316, Oslo, Norway.


A review of the geographical distribution, clinical use, biological activity and phytochemistry of Oldenlandia affinis (R&S) DC. is presented. During an inventory of medicinal plants in northern Congo/Brazzaville and south-western Central African Republic in 1962, 196 different species were registered, one of which was O. affinis used for the facilitation of childbirth. A medical team working in Luluabourg (Kananga) in Congo during the troubled period in 1960, discovered also the traditional use of the same plant as an oxitocic agent during labour. The plant was collected and the uterotonic substances isolated. Cyclic peptides (called Kalata-peptides) were described, and the main peptide, B1, was subjected to pharmacological and chemical investigations. Later the three-dimensional structure of the peptide was determined. Similar cyclic peptides have been isolated also from other plants in the Rubiaceae family like Chassalia pasvifoloia and Psychotria longipes, and from Viola species: Viola tricolor L. and Viola arvensis Murray. Some of these peptides, included Kalata-peptide B1, have been shown to hold antimicrobial activity. They have recently been synthesized, and they may represent a starting point for the design of new peptide antibiotics.

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