Extractives from the Hyacinthaceae.
Four species belonging to the Hyacinthaceae family were investigated. The taxonomy of the Hyacinthaceae is currently under review and therefore compounds isolated from these plants could provide valuable chemical evidence which taxonomists could find very useful. The bulbs of the species investigated have been reported to have widespread uses in traditional African medicine, being used by different local tribes to treat a variety of ailments ranging from use as a soothing medicine for pregnant women to their being used as an ethnoveterinary medicine. The bulbs of Ledebouria cooperi are specifically used as an anti-inflammatory agent during circumcision ceremonies. The bulbs investigated were found to contain homoisoflavonoids, a class of compounds known to be specifically responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties of these plants when used by traditional healers. The bulbs of L. cooperi were found to contain two known homoisoflavonoids as well as a triterpenoid. Malic acid was also isolated from the methanol extract. A further homoisoflavonoid of the 3-benzyl-4-chromanone type was isolated from Scilla plumbea. Drimiopsis maculata was found to be an abundant source of natural products from which two scillascillin-type homoisoflavonoids as well as two aromatic compounds were isolated. Investigation into the fourth species, Drimia robusta, yielded an uncommon bufadienolide. As no spectroscopic information was available for this compound, the complete assignment of the compound was performed using 2-D NMR spectroscopy.