Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 51–80 | Cite as

Major secondary metabolites of Iris spp.

  • Wirginia Kukula-Koch
  • Elwira Sieniawska
  • Jarosław Widelski
  • Otgonbataar Urjin
  • Paweł Głowniak
  • Krystyna Skalicka-Woźniak


Roots and rhizomes of many Iris species are well known as precious sources of isoflavones. They have been used in traditional medicine to treat respiratory disorders and decrease smooth muscles activity. Recent advances in their phytochemistry and phytomedicine have revealed potent anticholinesterase, antineoplastic and anti-plasmodial activities of iris constituents. Furthermore, decoctions from rhizomes have been successfully used among patients with hormone-related diseases. Except for isoflavones, the main chemical components of Iris are xanthones, quinones, flavons, terpenes and simple phenolics, with multiple biological activities. This contribution reviews the research progress of the past 30 years relating to the chemistry, recovery of secondary metabolites, their separation by means of TLC and HPLC techniques and spectral data of the most common chemical components of iris extracts. Special attention is paid to ultraviolet spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, LC–mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance analyses of isoflavones, flavons, xanthones and terpenes.


Isolation Iris spp. Spectral analysis Structure elucidation 



Mrs. Anna Misiuna, Mrs. Maria Grudzinska and Prof. Dr. Yoshinori Asakawa are thanked for constructive feed-back during the writing process.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wirginia Kukula-Koch
    • 1
  • Elwira Sieniawska
    • 1
  • Jarosław Widelski
    • 1
  • Otgonbataar Urjin
    • 2
  • Paweł Głowniak
    • 1
  • Krystyna Skalicka-Woźniak
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacognosy with Medicinal Plant UnitMedical University of LublinLublinPoland
  2. 2.School of PharmacyHealth Sciences University of MongoliaUlaanbaatarMongolia

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