Herbal plants used in traditional Chinese medicine as a source of compounds with potential medical utilities - identification, characterization and organization
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The history and knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine is over 3000 years old, and over 10 000 herbs are recorded and are in use for different conditions. This is an enormous amount of knowledge that can be used to find new lead compounds for Western medicine. The genus Abies, of the Pinaceae family, has been extensively investigated at MRCTCM. Different Abies species have been used in folk medicine, and it has been reported bioactivities from crude extracts of several species. Abies forrestii is one of 14 species that are native to P.R. China, and little research has been done on this specific plant. In this master thesis, eight compounds were obtained from the aerial parts of Abies forrestii, by use of several different chromatographic techniques (size exclusion, TLC, normal and reverse phase). The chemical structure was determined for three of them by use of MS- and NMR-techniques (the known diterpenes abietic acid, dehydroabietic acid, 9,13(β)-epidioxy-8(14)-abieten-18-oic acid) and for one of them by comparing to a standard on TLC (β-sitosterol). The rest was either not pure enough or was obtained in a too low concentration. The pulverized plant material was extracted with ethanol, purified with ethylacetate and fractionated with gradient elution over a silica gel column and a MCI-column. The compounds were isolated and purified over silica gel-, Sephadex LH-20- and ODS-columns, and with P-TLC. The structures of the compounds were determined by a combination of LC-ESI MS, 1H- and 13C NMR data. The extracted compounds in this thesis will be included in MRCTCM’s Natural Products Library and registered in their MDL ISIS Database. Abies and Abies forrestii is of continuing interest at MRCTCM. The Natural Products Library and the MDL ISIS Database are, and will become an even larger resource for discovering new medicines and for understanding how Chinese herbal treatment work.