An Investigation Into the Bioactive Components of Euphorbia hirta and Pandanus tectorius

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Lipscomb, Ashley Blair
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Middle Tennessee State University
For centuries, natural products have served as a major source of medicinally relevant biological activity. From over-the-counter cold medicines to chemotherapeutic agents, many drugs today are primarily composed of bioactive naturally occurring compounds. For this reason, natural products serve as key resource for research seeking to discover new methods of treatment for an array of illnesses and ailments including cancer, viral infections, parasite infections, and inflammatory responses. Ethno-pharmacology, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has advocated the usage of plant and herbal extracts as medicinal remedies for thousands of years. For this reason, drug discovery research involving natural products has focused on these claims by attempting to isolate the source of bioactivity in the reportedly bioactive extracts. While some of these investigations have been successful, the healing nature of many ancient remedies remains a mystery. Described herein is an investigation into the bioactive components of two plants used in TCM: Euphorbia hirta and Pandanus tectorius. Using a bioassay guided approach, crude extractions and subsequent purifications were performed, leading to the isolation and identification of two pure compounds: -lariciresinol and (+)-4,5'-(1S,3aR,4S,6aR)-hexahydrofuro[3,4-c]furan-1,4-diyl)bis(2-methoxyphenol.