Discovery of element distribution patterns in meadowsweet to help create medicines

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MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. Researchers from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU, Kaliningrad) have found that secondary chemical compounds in Filipendula ulmaria, commonly known as meadowsweet, have an irregular distribution. Understanding the nature of the distribution and accumulation of these elements in meadowsweet plants will help optimize extraction processes in the future and accelerate the creation of medicines, the IKBFU press service said Tuesday.

"Studying the irregular distribution of chemical compounds in different parts of the plant can help determine the best way to harvest it, as well as predetermine the effective use of meadowsweet for medicinal purposes. Overall, the research conducted at the Natural Antioxidants Laboratory allows us to expand our understanding of the potential therapeutic properties of plant extracts and forms a scientific "foundation" for creating new medicines that can improve people's quality of life," the press service quotes PhD (Biochemistry) Pavel Feduraev, director of the Institute of Living Systems at IKBFU.

Scientists have shown that young leaves primarily accumulated chemically active compounds, while old leaves contained precursors of polymers that do not participate in any chemical reactions. In addition, they found that the flowers and fruits of meadowsweet have a pronounced antioxidant effect. The system of antioxidant molecules prevents the formation of free radicals and, consequently, the destruction of cells. Researchers harvested meadowsweet at the stage of mass flowering and the beginning of fruiting. They then isolated extracts from the dry raw material using ethanol and separated the individual compounds using chromatography, a method based on the fact that different substances pass through a sorting environment at different rates.

"Our research conducted at IKBFU showed that meadowsweet is characterized by a high concentration of antioxidants, and extracts obtained from different parts of the plant have pronounced antibacterial properties. This opens the prospects for the development of new medicines based on meadowsweet, which can be used in the treatment of a wide range of diseases," said the head of the Natural Antioxidants Laboratory PhD (Biology) Associate Professor Liubov Skrypnik.

A distinctive feature of this research is the involvement of young scientists from IKBFU in all stages of the project. This research was carried out with the direct participation of Tamara Savina, a second-year master's student in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry program, and Valery Lisun, a first-year PhD student.

Filipendula ulmaria is a perennial herbaceous plant that is used in traditional medicine and pharmacology. Since the 16th-17th centuries, it has been used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. In addition, extracts, tinctures and ointments based on it were used for gout, pneumonia, flu, headaches, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. It is believed that the therapeutic properties of meadowsweet are due to the presence of biologically active phenolic compounds, based on the alcohol containing a ring of carbon atoms. The complex of such compounds includes phenolic acids, flavonoids and tannins. However, the distribution of these compounds in different parts of the plant remained poorly studied, making practical use of meadowsweet in modern pharmacy and medicine difficult.



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