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Saponins in Tribulus terrestris – Chemistry and Bioactivity

Abstract

Tribulus terrestris is a valuable herb known for its application in the folk medicine in many parts of the world. Furostanol and spirostanol saponins of tigogenin, neotigogenin, gitogenin, neogitogenin, hecogenin, neohecogenin, diosgenin, chlorogenin, ruscogenin and sarsasapogenin type are frequently found in this plant. Four sulphated saponins of tigogenin and diosgenin type are also isolated. Extracts and steroidal saponins have been found to possess various pharmacological activities. Preparations based on the saponin fraction of T. terrestris are used for treatment of infertility and libido disorders in men and women, as well as for treatment of cardiac diseases. Food supplements containing T. terrestris extracts are on sale in USA and Europe with claim of a general stimulating action.

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Abbreviations

Au:

Australia

Az:

Azerbeidjan

Bg:

Bulgaria

Ch:

China

In:

India

M:

Moldova

R:

Romania

SA:

South Africa

T:

Turkey

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Correspondence to I. Kostova.

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In this review the steroidal saponins found in T. terrestris are presented, covering the literature up to 2004. The data reveal clear difference in the saponin composition of samples from this plant species collected from different geographical regions. A comprehensive account on the biological activity of extracts and individual saponins is also included.

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Kostova, I., Dinchev, D. Saponins in Tribulus terrestris – Chemistry and Bioactivity. Phytochem Rev 4, 111–137 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-005-2833-x

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Key words

  • biological activity
  • furostanol saponins
  • spirostanol saponins
  • steroidal saponins
  • Tribulus terrestris