Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 295–308 | Cite as

The chemistry and pharmacology of Edelweiss: a review

  • Jan Tauchen
  • Ladislav KokoskaEmail author


Leontopodium nivale ssp. alpinum (syn. Leontopodium alpinum) is a perennial herb commonly known as Edelweiss, which has a long tradition in Alpine countries and adjacent regions as a medicinal plant. This review discusses current knowledge on the traditional uses, chemistry, biological activities and toxicology of this species. Several different classes of compounds such as terpenoids (analogues of sesquiterpenes, bisabolenes), phenylpropanoids (phenolic acids, flavonoids, coumarins, lignans), fatty acids and polyacetylenes were previously isolated from various parts of Edelweiss. Different types of extracts and compounds derived from this plant have been found to possess a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities on the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Furthermore, the plant have known anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and chemo-protective effects. The observed pharmacological activities as well as toxicological profile of preparations and isolated compounds of Edelweiss support the view that these might be used in the development of agents with therapeutic benefit in various human diseases. Some suggestions for further research on chemical characterization and pharmacological properties are also given in this review.


Asteraceae Leontopodium alpinum Leontopodium nivale Medicinal plant Secondary metabolites 



We would like to express our gratitude to Thomas Lichtenberg for providing us with the picture of Edelweiss in its natural habitat. We are also very grateful to Ludvík Bortl who read the manuscript and provided critical comments. Finally, great appreciation goes to Micheal Ua Seaghdha for his final linguistic revision of the English text.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of Quality of Agricultural Products, The Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural ResourcesThe Czech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6 – SuchdolCzech Republic
  2. 2.The Department of Crop Sciences and Agroforestry, The Faculty of Tropical AgriSciencesThe Czech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6 – SuchdolCzech Republic

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