The Borage botanical family Boraginaceae

The Borage plant (syn. Forget-me-not) family (Boraginaceae Lindl.) contains L-ornithine (Figure 11 and 15) derived alkaloids, such as indicine-N-oxide in the heliotrope (Heliotropium indicum) and southern hound's tongue (Cynoglosum creticum) species (Table 8). Farsam et al.46 reported on new alkaloids from

Table 8 General botanical characteristics of the Borage family312,313,316 Botanical Forms and Parts Characteristics

Botanical forms

Some typical genera

Special characteristic Leaves

Flowers

Fruits Seeds

Herbs

Rarely shrubs or trees Lianas (rarely)

Amsinckia

Anchusa

Bourreria

Cordia

Cryptantha

Cynoglosum

Ehretia

Hackelia

Heliotropium

Lappula

Lithospermum

Mertensia

Myosotis

Onosma

Onosmodium

Pulmonaria

Tournefortia

Plagiobothrys

Symphytum

Stiff and bristly hairs

Alternate Simple

Usually rough-hairy Exstipulate

Regular Calyx 5-parted Regular corola (5-lobed) Blue or white A drupe

Rarely berry-like

Straight or curved embryo Scant albumen another heliotrope species, Heliotropium crassifolium: europine and ilamine and their N-oxides. These alkaloids have strong toxic effects.

Moreover, six pyrrolizidine alkaloids were detected in Anchusa strigosa Banks and Sol111 and Heliotrium esfandiarii europine N-oxide112. Alkaloids of both species have bioimpact. Anchusa strigosa is a plant widely distributed in the Mediterranean region. It is used in local folk medicine as a diuretic, analgesic sedative, sudorific remedies and for treatment of stomach ulcers and externally for skin diseases113114. Siciliano et al.115 have analysed the qualitative and quantitative composition of alkaloids in flowers, leaves and roots of A. strigosa. This phytochemical study led to the isolation of nine pyrrolizidine alkaloids, from which three have been unidentified. Many pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been shown to be isolated from leaves, roots and rhizomes of the lungwort species (Pulmonaria spp.). In both Pulmonaria officinalis and Pulmonaria obscura such alkaloids as intermedine, lycopsamine and symphitine have been detected. This means that P. officinalis is not an exception among Boraginaceae in not having pyrrolizidine alkaloids, as had been previously claimed116. Haberer et al.117presented the evidence for this. Thus, they have advanced the theory of the botanical family base for alkaloid distribution. Acetyl-intermedine and acetyl-lycopsamine are alkaloids yielded in common comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.). Many species belonging to the Borage plant family are native to the Mediterranean area.

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