Pharmaceutical interest

Fig. 302. Vitex negundo L. From: KLU Herbarium 28415. Plants of Ceylon. Geographical localization: North Central Province: Polonnaruwa District: 3 miles Southwest of Elahera, near mile marker 12/5, Ceylon. 10 Oct 1974, altitude: 400ft-500 ft. Field collector: G Davidse. Botanical Identification: HN Moldenke 1976.

Anti-inflammatory properties: The anti-inflammatory property of Vitex negundo L. is confirmed: a water extract of the leaves protects rats against carrageenan-and formaldehyde-induced paw edema, and assuage pain in the hot plate test. The leaves inhibit antihistamine and prostaglandin synthesis, stabilize membrane and fight oxidation (Dharmasiri MG et a/., 2003). The methanolic extracts of the roots, Vitex negundo L., protects rodent against the venoms of Vipera russellii and Naja kaouthia (Alam MI et a/., 2003). The concomitance of both anti-inflammatory and anti-venom properties suggest that the inhibition of phospholipase A2 that has yet to be confirmed. Flavonoids or steroids are likely to be involved in this instance.

Oestrogenic properties: Note that a number of plants classified within the genus Vitex are used to control birth and to treat gynecological disorders. Most of these contain ecdysteroids, the hormonal and especially gynecological effect of which remains to be clarified. Clinical trials show that the fruits of Vitex agnus-castus are effective in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome (Schellenberg R et a/., 2001). Note that ecdysteroids are structurally close to our steroid hormones and are anabolic (Fig. 306).

Ecdysterone

Ecdysterone

Cortisone

17^-Estradiol

Cortisone

17^-Estradiol

Fig. 306. Note the structural similitude between cortisone, 17^-Estradiol and ecdysterone.

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