Natural Products from Highland and Medicinal Plants from Bolivia

University dissertation from Lund University

Abstract: Bolivia is located in the central part of South America and has a large varied ecology - the Amazonas rainforests, the dry forests of the Chaco, the mist forests, the punas and high Andean vegetation. Plants that live in the Bolivia highlands have developed physical and chemicals defense mechanisms to survive in the hard environment of the region. Descriptions of the main stressors in the region and the main defense mechanisms have been done in this work. Oleanolic acid was found to be one of the major secondary metabolites in Bolivian Highland Plants. The possible role of this compound for the survival of these plants in the harsh environment is discussed as well as its possible economical interest; suggesting that the compound could be important during periods of frost. Traditional medicine has been practiced in Bolivia for thousands of years, recognized and accepted for treatment of various diseases. Based mainly in this ethnopharmacological information several plants were submitted to a chemical and biological studies. A review of natural products chemistry of Bolivian plants with biological activity is presented in this thesis. Today nearly 80% of the world population use traditional medicine, mainly medicinal plants, so scientific studies may have enormous importance. Contributing to those studies, secondary metabolites, some of them new or bioactive compounds, were obtained from the three well known Bolivian medicinal plants Caesalpinia pluviosa, Franseria artemisioides and Mutisia orbignyana.

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