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Fitoterapia. 2010 Dec;81(8):1006-12. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2010.06.020. Epub 2010 Jun 28.

Phytochemical and antimicrobial characterization of Macleaya cordata herb.

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Department of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University, Hnevotinska 3, 775 15 Olomouc, Czech Republic.


Macleaya cordata (plume poppy) is a source of bioactive compounds, mainly isoquinoline alkaloids which are used in phytopreparations with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities. In this study, the alkaloids sanguinarine, chelerythrine, their dihydro derivatives, protopine and allocryptopine and phenolics, gallic, protocatechuic, p-hydroxybenzoic, m-hydroxybenzoic, gentisic, p-coumaric, caffeic, ferulic and sinapic acids were determined in extracts prepared from M. cordata aerial part, seeds, and seed capsules using HPLC with UV detection and/or LC/MS with electrospray ionization. The highest content of sanguinarine and chelerythrine was found in capsules. Protopine and allocryptopine were major alkaloids in leaves including footstalks. The seed oil contained dihydrosanguinarine, dihydrochelerythrine and twelve fatty acids of which linoleic, oleic, palmitic and stearic acids predominated. In addition, sanguinarine reductase, a key enzyme in sanguinarine/dihydrosanguinarine equilibrium in plants, was found for the first time, in the soluble proteins of leaves. Finally, extracts were tested for antimicrobial activity using the microdilution method on standard reference bacterial strains.

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