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J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Dec 8;138(3):641-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.10.002. Epub 2011 Oct 6.

Eupatorium perfoliatum L.: phytochemistry, traditional use and current applications.

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University of Münster, Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology and Phytochemistry, Münster, Germany.



Eupatorium perfoliatum L. originates from North America, where it has been widely used since centuries by native Indians. Additionally extracts are used also in Europe as immunostimulating agent for treatment of fever and cold. The following review summarizes published data on phytochemistry, ethnopharmacological use, as well as clinical and preclinical data.


Literature survey was performed via SciFinder(®) on papers and patents and by systematic research in ethnopharmacological literature at various university libraries.


The phytochemical composition of Eupatorium perfoliatum is described in detail for volatile oil, caffeic acid derivatives, flavonoids, sesquiterpene lactones, tannins, polysaccharides. Methods for analytical quality control, as well as specification for relevant lead structures can be deduced from published batch analysis. Preclinical studies indicate anti-inflammatory effects of ethanolic extracts, which can be correlated on a molecular level to eupafolin and sesquiterpen lactones. Antiplasmodial, antioxidative and immunomodulating activities are additionally discussed. Clinical data on the use of Eupatorium perfoliatum do not meet modern GCP requirements, but do indicate positive tendencies for use of ethanolic extracts for treatment of common colds.


While the postulated immunostimulating properties of Eupatorium perfoliatum have not been confirmed by in vitro data, animal-studies and in vitro experiments with plant extracts both indicate antiinflammatory effects beside antiplasmodial effect against Plasmodium falciparum. Such an antiinflammation caused by the ethanolic extracts can be correlated well with clinical symptoms related to diseases as common cold, rheumatism, athritis etc. These data also support the plausibility of the plant's traditional use by the North American indigenous population and early European settlers. In principle quality aspects of the herbal material have to be affirmed by establishing modern pharmacopoeial control methods to guarantee constant and reliable quality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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