Chemical Studies of the Resin of Commiphora Erlangeriana and Some Plants in Yayu Nature Reserve

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Addis Ababa University


The resinous and gummy materials that ooze out from the bark of species in the genus Commiphora are important substances in indigenous medicines of many countries of eastern Africa, Arabia, India, and China. The most well-known member of this genus that occurs in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia is C. myrrha (Syn: C. molmol), which yields a culturally and medicinally significant gum-resin known in the trade as myrrh. The main topic of this dissertation is the study of the chemistry of the resin of species known as C. erlangeriana. This resin was a topic of a previous dissertation from our research group (Dekebo A., 1999) and the paper (Dekebo A., et al, J. Nat. Prod., 2002) which described the isolation and characterization of four unique podophyllotoxin- and polgamatin-types compounds named as Erlangerins A to D (structures shown in Group I below). We report here results of further chemical work on this resin which yielded 30 additional lignans: 15 podophyllotoxin- and polygamatin-types (Group II), 10 dibenzylbutyrolactone-type (Group III) and 5 other types (Group IV). The results are significant because podophyllotoxin and the related aryltetralin lignans and their precursors are well known antineoplastic and antiviral agents. We believe that some of the compounds reported here for the first time may also serve as starting compounds for the semi-synthesis of the commercially available anticancer drugs, e.g., etoposide (127), teniposide (128), and etopophos (129).



Chemical Studies, Commiphora, Erlangeriana, Some Plants in Yayu Nature Reserve