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A Comparative Analysis of the Chemical Composition, Anti-Inflammatory, and Antinociceptive Effects of the Essential Oils from Three Species of Mentha Cultivated in Romania

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This work was aimed at correlating the chemotype of three Mentha species cultivated in Romania with an in vivo study of the anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of essential oils. The selected species were Mentha piperita L. var. pallescens (white peppermint), Mentha spicata L. subsp. crispata (spearmint), and Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. (pineapple mint). Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the essential oils isolated from the selected Mentha species was performed by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The anti-inflammatory activity of the essential oils was determined by the rat paw edema test induced by λ-carrageenan. The antinociceptive effect of the essential oils was evaluated by the writhing test in mice, using 1% (v/v) acetic acid solution administered intraperitonealy and by the hot plate test in mice. The results showed a menthol chemotype for M. piperita pallescens, a carvone chemotype for M. spicata, and a piperitenone oxide chemotype for M. suaveolens. The essential oil from M. spicata L. (EOMSP) produced statistically significant and dose-dependent anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects.
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molecules
Article
A Comparative Analysis of the Chemical
Composition, Anti-Inflammatory, and
Antinociceptive Effects of the Essential Oils from
Three Species of Mentha Cultivated in Romania
Cristina Mogosan 1, Oliviu Vostinaru 1 ,*, Radu Oprean 2, Codruta Heghes 3, Lorena Filip 4,
Georgeta Balica 5and Radu Ioan Moldovan 6
1Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Physiopathology, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine
and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca 400349, Romania; cmogosan@umfcluj.ro
2Department of Analytical Chemistry, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy,
Cluj-Napoca 400349, Romania; roprean@umfcluj.ro
3
Department of Drug Analysis, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca 400349,
Romania; cmaier@umfcluj.ro
4Department of Bromatology, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca 400349,
Romania; lorenafilip@yahoo.com
5Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy,
Cluj-Napoca 400337, Romania; bgeorgeta@umfcluj.ro
6SC Fares Biovital Laboratories SRL, Orastie 335700, Romania; cercetare@fares.ro
*Correspondence: oliviu_vostinaru@yahoo.com; Tel.: +40-74-118-5163
Academic Editor: Thomas J. Schmidt
Received: 15 November 2016; Accepted: 6 February 2017; Published: 10 February 2017
Abstract:
This work was aimed at correlating the chemotype of three Mentha species cultivated
in Romania with an
in vivo
study of the anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of essential
oils. The selected species were Mentha piperita L. var. pallescens (white peppermint), Mentha spicata
L. subsp. crispata (spearmint), and Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. (pineapple mint). Qualitative and
quantitative analysis of the essential oils isolated from the selected Mentha species was performed by
gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The anti-inflammatory activity
of the essential oils was determined by the rat paw edema test induced by
λ
-carrageenan.
The antinociceptive effect of the essential oils was evaluated by the writhing test in mice, using 1%
(v/v) acetic acid solution administered intraperitonealy and by the hot plate test in mice. The results
showed a menthol chemotype for M. piperita pallescens, a carvone chemotype for M. spicata, and
a piperitenone oxide chemotype for M. suaveolens. The essential oil from M. spicata L. (EOMSP)
produced statistically significant and dose-dependent anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects.
Keywords: Mentha spp.; menthol; carvone; piperitenone oxide; anti-inflammatory; antinociceptive
1. Introduction
The genus Mentha (Lamiaceae), present in the temperate regions of all five continents, consists
of 18 species and 11 named hybrids [
1
]. The members of the genus Mentha can easily produce many
intermediary forms by hybridization, polyploidy playing also an important role in the speciation,
making the number of taxonomically valid species a subject of controversy [
2
]. Mentha species are
characterized by high morphological variability but also by a great chemical diversity with respect
to their essential oils, the main chemical constituents, rarely encountered in other temperate zone
species [
3
]. The differences in essential oil composition among the members of this genus offer a variety
Molecules 2017,22, 263; doi:10.3390/molecules22020263 www.mdpi.com/journal/molecules
Molecules 2017,22, 263 2 of 11
of strains with high contents of menthol, menthone, carvone, linalool, or other valuable terpenoid
components synthesized by the mevalonic acid pathway [
4
]. Essential oils from Mentha species
are widely used in food and beverage or cosmetic industries due to their flavoring properties [
5
].
Since ancient times, Mentha species have been used in traditional medicine for their carminative and
antispasmodic properties in a variety of disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract or cholecystopathies [
6
].
More recently, several pre-clinical studies which investigated the pharmacological effects of the
active constituents from Mentha species, demonstrated significant antimicrobial, antifungal, and
antiviral activities [
7
9
], strong antioxidant and anticancer actions [
10
,
11
], but also antinociceptive,
anti-inflammatory, and antiallergic properties [
12
14
]. Thus, evidence-based research demonstrated
that Mentha species can be used as complementary or alternative remedies in a variety of pathologic
conditions [
15
]. Due to their economic importance, extended cultures of Mentha species can be found
in various climatic regions, in Europe, North-America or Asia [16].
In Romania, three species of Mentha are frequently cultivated. Mentha piperita L. var. pallescens
(white peppermint) was among the first cultivated medicinal and aromatic plant, an experimental
culture being created in 1908 [
17
]. Mentha spicata L. subsp. crispata (spearmint) is a creeping
rhizomatous and perennial herb present in the spontaneous flora from the Balkan Peninsula but
also under cultivation. Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. var. variegata (pineapple mint) is used as an ornamental
plant but also in traditional medicine of Mediterranean areas, being extensively cultivated in Southern
Europe [18]. It has an extremely variable chemotype, creating confusion between species.
Although some Mentha species were extensively studied, there is little information regarding
the anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties of their essential oils, the major constituents.
This original work is aimed at correlating the chemotype of three Mentha species from Romania with
an
in vivo
study of the anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects, with the purpose of exploring
potential benefits of essential oils in the treatment of various inflammatory conditions.
2. Results and Discussion
2.1. GC-MS Analysis of the Essential Oils
The GC-MS analysis of the essential oils isolated from the selected species of Mentha revealed the
presence of over 30 compounds, mainly with terpenoid structures. Their retention indices and relative
proportions in the studied samples are listed in Table 1.
Table 1. Chemical composition of the essential oils from the selected Mentha species.
No. Compound RIlit aRIcal b% in EOMPA c% in EOMSP d% in EOMSU e
1 alpha-pinene 939 950 0.133 ±0.03 0.220 ±0.05 0.791 ±0.12
2 sabinene 971 980 0.071 ±0.00 0.136 ±0.03 0.342 ±0.08
3 beta-pinene 976 983 0.232 ±0.04 0.471 ±0.19 1.497 ±0.42
4 myrcene 990 994 0.119 ±0.02 0.095 ±0.00 0.462 ±0.11
5 2-octanol 997 997 0.617 ±0.18 0.201 ±0.06 0.305 ±0.07
6 para-cymene 1022 1025 0.292 ±0.11 0.140 ±0.02 0.230 ±0.05
7 limonene 1027 1028 0.346 ±0.09 1.569 ±0.48 2.969 ±1.02
8 1,8-cineole 1029 1031 1.587 ±0.64 2.567 ±0.69 0.118 ±0.04
9 gamma-terpinene 1057 1058 0.407 ±0.05 0.106 ±0.00 -
10 menthone 1151 1155 15.742 ±2.73 7.225 ±1.81 -
11 isomenthone 1162 1165 7.735 ±2.03 3.325 ±0.82 -
12 menthol 1170 1177 39.695 ±3.26 12.774 ±2.48 0.128 ±0.03
13 terpineol 4 1175 1179 2.182 ±0.55 1.221 ±0.33 0.679 ±0.19
14 isomenthol 1181 1184 0.493 ±0.14 0.192 ±0.04 -
15 alpha-terpineol 1188 1191 0.449 ±0.17 0.622 ±0.21 0.246 ±0.04
16 dihydrocarveol 1192 1195 0.120 ±0.02 1.120 ±0.24 -
17 estragole 1195 1199 0.929 ±0.18 - -
18 trans-carveol 1216 1219 0.085 ±0.00 1.113 ±0.47 -
19 cis-carveol 1228 1232 - 1.221 ±0.31 -
20 pulegone 1235 1239 2.140 ±0.80 3.763 ±1.04 -
21 carvone 1240 1244 2.377 ±0.73 41.215 ±4.18 1.555 ±0.44
22 piperitone 1250 1254 2.096 ±0.75 0.647 ±0.13 0.340 ±0.08
23 neomenthyl acetate 1274 1276 0.135 ±0.02 0.101 ±0.00 -
24 trans-anethole 1282 1286 5.374 ±0.94 0.113 ±0.02 -
Molecules 2017,22, 263 3 of 11
Table 1. Cont.
No. Compound RIlit aRIcal b% in EOMPA c% in EOMSP d% in EOMSU e
25 menthyl-acetate 1294 1295 3.022 ±1.21 1.912 ±0.89 -
26 menthylcamphor - 1300 0.478 ±0.17 0.497 ±0.12 0.498 ±0.15
27 eugenol 1354 1357 0.214 ±0.05 0.184 ±0.03 -
28 piperitenone oxide 1366 1366 - - 73.773 ±6.41
29 beta-bourbonene 1383 1384 0.222 ±0.04 0.951 ±0.27 0.293 ±0.05
30 cis-jasmone 1395 1399 - - 2.124 ±0.65
31 caryophyllene 1418 1418 0.112 ±0.03 2.289 ±0.99 0.604 ±0.23
32 germacrene-d 1479 1480 - - 3.309 ±1.19
33 viridoflorol 1592 1590 - - 1.455 ±0.68
a
Retention indices from literature.
b
Calculated retention indices.
c
EOMPA: essential oil from M. piperita pallescens.
d
EOMSP: essential oil from M. spicata.
e
EOMSU: essential oil from M. suaveolens. Relative proportions are expressed
as mean ±SD of three GC-MS analysis of each sample.
Thus, in the essential oil from M. piperita pallescens (EOMPA), the major compounds were menthol
(39.695%
±
3.26%), menthone (15.742%
±
2.73%), and isomenthone (7.735%
±
2.03%). Our data
also showed the presence of estragole (0.929%
±
0.18%) in EOMPA, but the low content complies
with the European Medicines Agency recommendations regarding the use of herbal medicinal products
containing estragole [
19
]. In the essential oil from M. spicata (EOMSP) carvone (41.215%
±
4.18%) was the
major compound, followed by menthol (12.774%
±
2.48%), menthone (7.225%
±
1.81%), and pulegone
(
3.763% ±1.04%
). In the essential oil from M. suaveolens (EOMSU) piperitenone oxide (73.773%
±
6.41%)
was the major compound followed by germacrene-d (3.309% ±1.19%) and limonene (2.969% ±1.02%).
In this study, the GC-MS analysis of the essential oils from the tested samples showed a menthol
chemotype for M. piperita pallescens cultivated in Romania, confirming the study of Schmidt et al.,
which found a rather similar menthol content (40.7%) in M. piperita originating from the Balkans [
20
].
Although our data confirmed a carvone chemotype for M. spicata, the carvone content was lower
compared to M. spicata from India, where it reached 76.65% [
21
], or Turkey, where it reached 80.65% [
22
].
Our study showed also that a low content of carvone (1.555%) coupled with a high content of
piperitenone oxide (73.773%), suggest a piperitenone oxide chemotype for M. suaveolens, encountered
also in Southeastern Europe [
23
]. A different study (El-Kashouri et al.) found a higher percentage
of carvone (24.72%–55.74%) in M. suaveolens harvested from North Africa [
24
]. The variations in
chemical composition of essential oils from Mentha species can be attributed to several factors such as
temperature, humidity, climate, harvest season, or photoperiod [25].
2.2. Anti-Inflammatory Activity of the Essential Oils
The anti-inflammatory activity of the tested essential oils was evaluated
in vivo
by the rat paw
edema test induced by λ-carrageenan. The results of the experiment are presented in Table 2.
Table 2.
Effect of the essential oils from the selected Mentha species on carrageenan-induced rat
paw edema.
Group Dose
Edema 1 h (mL) Edema 2 h (mL) Edema 3 h (mL) Edema 4 h (mL)
(% inhib.) (% inhib.) (% inhib.) (% inhib.)
Control (vehicle) - 0.56 ±0.11 1.30 ±0.13 2.00 ±0.20 2.34 ±0.27
EOMPA 500 mg/kg 0.36 ±0.20 0.96 ±0.40 1.40 ±0.64 1.12 ±0.84 *
(35.71%) (25.15%) (30.00%) (52.13)
EOMPA 250 mg/kg 0.42 ±0.04 1.11 ±0.53 1.69 ±0.73 1.80 ±0.46
(25.00%) (14.61%) (15.50%) (23.07%)
EOMPA 125 mg/kg 0.50 ±0.15 1.21 ±0.66 1.81 ±0.98 2.03 ±1.18
(10.71%) (6.92%) (9.50%) (13.24%)
EOMSP 500 mg/kg 0.36 ±0.17 0.52 ±0.28 * 0.74 ±0.26 * 0.88 ±0.26 *
(35.71%) (60.00%) (63.00%) (62.39%)
EOMSP 250 mg/kg 0.44 ±0.27 0.78 ±0.19 * 1.23 ±0.46 1.54 ±0.86
(21.42%) (40.00%) (38.50%) (34.18%)
Molecules 2017,22, 263 4 of 11
Table 2. Cont.
Group Dose
Edema 1 h (mL) Edema 2 h (mL) Edema 3 h (mL) Edema 4 h (mL)
(% inhib.) (% inhib.) (% inhib.) (% inhib.)
EOMSP 125 mg/kg 0.50 ±0.37 1.03 ±0.69 1.68 ±1.13 2.01 ±0.64
(10.71%) (20.76%) (16.00%) (14.10%)
EOMSU 500 mg/kg 0.54 ±0.35 0.98 ±0.64 1.23 ±0.89 1.41 ±0.78
(3.57%) (24.61%) (38.50%) (39.74%)
EOMSU 250 mg/kg 0.63 ±0.22 1.20 ±0.80 1.56 ±0.73 1.84 ±0.98
(-) (7.69%) (22.00%) (21.36%)
EOMSU 125 mg/kg 0.70 ±0.31 1.42 ±0.69 1.79 ±0.46 2.13 ±1.36
(-) (-) (10.5%) (8.9%)
Diclofenac 20 mg/kg 0.36 ±0.06 * 0.55 ±0.11 * 0.68 ±0.08 * 1.06 ±0.17 *
(35.71%) (57.69%) (66.00%) (54.70%)
* Statistically significant, p0.05. Values are expressed as Mean ±SD.
A statistically significant anti-inflammatory effect was observed in the groups treated with
essential oils from M. spicata (EOMSP) 500 mg/kg, 2 h, 3 h, and 4 h after the induction of inflammation
and M. piperita pallescens (EOMPA) 500 mg/kg, 4 h after the induction of inflammation. The most
active sample, EOMSP (500 mg/kg), was superior to the reference drug diclofenac, 2 h and 4 h after
the induction of inflammation. The essential oil from M. suaveolens (EOMSU) produced an inferior
anti-inflammatory effect, and only at the highest dose.
The development of edema in the rat hindpaw following an injection of
λ
-carrageenan has been
characterized as a biphasic event. Initially, the inflammatory reaction to carrageenan (0–1 h) is caused
by the release of histamine, serotonin, bradykinin, complement and reactive oxygen species. In the
second, accelerating the phase of swelling (2–4 h), an increased production of prostaglandins in the
inflammatory area has been demonstrated [26].
Our experimental data suggest that several peripheral mechanisms could be responsible for
the anti-inflammatory effect of essential oils from Mentha. Besides a reduction of prostaglandin
concentration in the affected tissue, it is possible that the essential oils were able to also influence
the first phase of carrageenan-induced edema formation, probably by inhibiting the release of other
pro-inflammatory mediators.
2.3. Antinociceptive Activity of the Essential Oils
2.3.1. Acetic Acid Induced Writhing Test in Mice
The antinociceptive activity of the tested essential oils was firstly evaluated by the acetic acid
induced writhing test in mice. The results of the experiment are presented in Table 3.
Table 3.
Effect of the essential oils from the selected Mentha species in the acetic acid induced writhing
test in mice.
Group Dose (mg/kg) No. of Writhes (X ±SD) Percentage of Inhibition (%)
Control (vehicle) - 32.4 ±10.19 -
EOMPA 500 mg/kg 20.8 ±4.25 35.80
EOMPA 250 mg/kg 23.6 ±7.22 27.16
EOMPA 125 mg/kg 25.6 ±5.15 20.98
EOMSP 500 mg/kg 17 ±7.87 * 47.53
EOMSP 250 mg/kg 18.8 ±9.23 * 41.97
EOMSP 125 mg/kg 19.8 ±6.60 * 38.88
EOMSU 500 mg/kg 24.2 ±2.56 25.30
EOMSU 250 mg/kg 28 ±2.89 13.58
EOMSU 125 mg/kg 30.6 ±2.05 5.55
Diclofenac 20 mg/kg 12.8 ±4.12 * 60.49
* Statistically significant, p0.05. Values are expressed as Mean ±SD.
Molecules 2017,22, 263 5 of 11
The administration of the reference drug, diclofenac, significantly reduced the number of writhes
induced by acetic acid, the percentage of inhibition being 60.49%. The essential oil from M. spicata
(EOMSP) showed a significant and dose-dependent antinociceptive effect, reducing the number of
writhes at all the three tested doses, although the results were slightly inferior to the reference drug,
diclofenac. The essential oils from M. piperita pallescens (EOMPA) and M. suaveolens (EOMSU) showed
inferior antinociceptive effects in this experimental model.
Acetic acid is known to trigger an irritative reaction in the peritoneum, which induces the writhing
response due to the sensitization of nociceptors by prostaglandins, excessively formed in the peritoneal
cavity. The nociceptive properties of acetic acid might also be due to the release of cytokines, such
as TNF-
α
, interleukin-1
β
, and interleukin-8, by resident peritoneal macrophages and mast cells [
27
].
Thus, the abdominal constriction response induced by acetic acid is a sensitive procedure to establish
peripherally acting antinociceptives [28].
The protective effect of essential oils against the chemical noxious stimulus may be an indication
for a decreased production of prostaglandins, thereby causing a reduction in the number of writhes.
Our results from this experimental model indicate that antinociceptive effect of EOMSP might be
mediated by the peripheral inhibition of prostaglandins synthesis or actions.
2.3.2. Hot Plate Test in Mice
To evaluate whether the antinociceptive effect of essential oils from Mentha might posses also
a central mechanism, the hot plate test was used, the results being presented in Table 4.
Table 4. Effect of the essential oils from the selected Mentha species in the hot plate test in mice.
Group Response (s) at
0 min (PAS)
Response (s) at
30 min (PAS)
Response (s) at
60 min (PAS)
Response (s) at
90 min (PAS)
Response (s) at
120 min (PAS)
Control (Vehicle) 8.78 ±2.18 9.12 ±1.94 8.19 ±1.53 7.85 ±1.80 7.13 ±1.96
(-) (-) (-) (-) (-)
EOMPA 500 mg/kg 9.05 ±1.76 15.89 ±2.27 20.98 ±6.17 * 23.44 ±4.72 * 25.12 ±8.47 *
(-) (43.04%) (56.86%) (61.39%) (63.97%)
EOMPA 250 mg/kg 10.34 ±2.20 13.44 ±3.67 17.39 ±4.99 * 19.89 ±4.63 21.27 ±5.46 *
(-) (23.06%) (40.54%) (48.01%) (51.38%)
EOMPA 125 mg/kg 9.42 ±1.96 11.29 ±2.16 14.52 ±4.21 17.11 ±3.92 18.41 ±4.52
(-) (16.56%) (35.12%) (44.94%) (48.83%)
EOMSP 500 mg/kg 9.84 ±1.98 18.23 ±3.76 24.75 ±6.71 * 27.42 ±6.06 * 28.44 ±4.77 *
(-) (46.02%) (60.24%) (64.11%) (65.40%)
EOMSP 250 mg/kg 10.31 ±0.84 14.97 ±3.70 19.42 ±4.63 22.93 ±6.35 * 24.03 ±6.15 *
(-) (31.12%) (46.91%) (55.03%) (57.09%)
EOMSP 125 mg/kg 9.24 ±1.87 12.19 ±3.90 15.55 ±3.09 * 18.32 ±4.57 * 20.84 ±5.82 *
(-) (24.20%) (40.57%) (49.56%) (55.66%)
EOMSU 500 mg/kg 10.11 ±3.09 13.42 ±3.23 18.11 ±2.04 20.75 ±4.54 * 21.04 ±6.64 *
(-) (24.66%) (44.17%) (51.27%) (51.94%)
EOMSU 250 mg/kg 9.19 ±1.96 11.41 ±2.74 15.14 ±4.41 17.02 ±5.15 16.14 ±3.90
(-) (19.45%) (39.29%) (46.00%) (43.06%)
EOMSU 125 mg/kg 10.04 ±2.11 10.11 ±1.76 13.45 ±2.98 14.25 ±4.50 13.89 ±3.70
(-) (6.9%) (25.35%) (29.54%) (27.71%)
Morphine 10 mg/kg 10.23 ±2.92 11.50 ±4.21 35.63 ±7.58 * 38.72 ±6.64 * 37.45 ±6.77 *
(-) (11.04%) (71.28%) (73.57%) (72.68)
* Statistically significant, p0.05. Values are expressed as Mean ±SD.
The mice treated with EOMSP presented the most significant antinociceptive effects in the hot
plate test, starting 60 min after the administration, with a peak after 120 min, at the dose of 500 mg/kg.
For this group, the percent analgesic score (PAS) varied between 60.24% at 60 min and 65.40% at
120 min. The antinociceptive effects of EOMPA were slightly inferior but significant at 60, 90, and
120 min, at the dose of 500 mg/kg. EOMSU produced only modest results. The effects of morphine,
Molecules 2017,22, 263 6 of 11
the reference centrally acting antinociceptive drug, were evident 60 min after administration, peaked
at 90 min and continued for 2 h. The results showed that the essential oils had a rapid effect, which
peaked at 120 min, probably due to specific pharmacokinetic parameters.
In our tested essential oils samples, terpenoids were the most important molecules, being very
diverse from a structural point of view. Thus, in the essential oil from M. piperita pallescens (EOMPA),
menthol, a monocyclic alcohol was the predominant constituent. In the essential oil from M. spicata
(EOMSP), carvone, a monoterpene with ketonic function, was the majoritary compound, while in
M. suaveolens (EOMSU), piperitenone-oxide, also a monoterpene, but with an epoxy group, was the
main active constituent. The functional groups of these terpenic essential oil constituents can influence
not only their chemical properties but also the pharmacological interactions with their molecular
targets [29].
According to Galeotti et al., the antinociceptive effect of the essential oils in the hot plate test can
be partially attributed to the high content of menthol which can directly stimulate opioid receptors,
(-)-menthol having superior analgesic effects [
30
]. Additionally, Gaudioso et al. found that menthol
can also produce a use-dependent block of the Na
+
channels from the dorsal root ganglion neurons
with a subsequent pain modulation [
31
]. Although these studies indicate a central mechanism of
action, Sun et al. suggested also that menthol, present in high concentrations in the essential oil from
M. piperita grown in China, may inhibit PGE2 production with potent anti-inflammatory effects
in vitro
and in vivo [32].
Carvone, another important component present in the essential oils extracted from Mentha species,
act mainly by peripheral mechanisms with a reduction of prostaglandin synthesis and inhibition
of Nf-
κ
B intracellular signaling, with subsequent anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects [
33
].
De Sousa et al.
found that carvone and pulegone showed superior antinociceptive effects in the acetic
acid-induced writhing test in mice, compared to piperitenone-oxide (rotundifolone) [
34
]. In another
study, piperitenone-oxide was tested for its antinociceptive effects at doses of 10, 100, and 200 mg/kg,
in the hot plate, writhing and tail-flick test, producing moderate effects only at the highest doses [
35
].
The majority of the experimental models used to study the anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive
effects of terpenoids focused on acute inflammation, further research being needed to ascertain the
validity of these findings in chronic inflammatory processes.
Our experimental study showed that the most significant anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive
effects were produced by the essential oil from M. spicata (EOMSP), followed by the essential oil from
M. piperita (EOMPA) and the essential oil from M. suaveolens (EOMSU) which showed only modest
effects due to a different chemical composition.
According to our data, a high content of carvone and menthol could be responsible for the
anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects, the amplitude of these effects depending on their
concentration in the essential oil samples. However, due to the fact that essential oils are complex
mixtures containing also other classes of molecules, it is possible that the pharmacological activity
can be modulated by other minor components. Further research is needed to clarify the molecular
mechanism of action of essential oils.
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. Plant Material and Essential Oil Isolation
The selected Mint species were Mentha x piperita L. var. officinalis Sole f. pallescens Camus (white
peppermint), Mentha spicata L. subsp. crispata (spearmint), and Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. var. variegata
(pineapple mint).
The plants were harvested in flowering phase from experimental fields of the Fares BioVital
Laboratories Orastie (Hunedoara County, Romania, Latitude: 45
49.9998
0
N Longitude: 23
12
0
E) in
July 2015. The experimental cultures of the three Mentha species were created in a randomized complete
block design with four replications. The plants were planted 10 cm apart in 70 cm rows to rows, in
Molecules 2017,22, 263 7 of 11
a clay sandy soil. The plants received normal inter-cultural operations and irrigation. The average
day temperature during summer season was 20
C. After harvesting, voucher specimens (No. 1516,
No. 1517 and No. 1518) were deposited in the Herbarium of the Department of Pharmaceutical Botany
from the Faculty of Pharmacy, “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca,
Romania. For the isolation of essential oils, fresh leaves from each of the selected Mentha species were
placed in a Clevenger apparatus and submitted to a hydrodistillation for 3 h. The yield of essential
oil extraction was 0.98 mL/100 g herbal product for Mentha piperita pallescens, 1.03 mL/100 g herbal
product for Mentha spicata, and 0.87 mL/100 g herbal product for Mentha suaveolens. Anhydrous
sodium sulfate was added to the resulting organic phase in order to eliminate water traces, and
the essential oils were then stored in sealed dark glass recipients at 4
C. The GC-MS analysis and
biological tests were performed on samples from the same batch for each of the tested Mentha species.
3.2. GC-MS Analysis of the Essential Oils
Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the essential oils isolated from the selected Mentha species
was performed by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry [
36
]. The gas chromatograph
(Agilent Technologies model 7890A, Santa Clara, CA, USA) was equipped with a HP-5MS capillary
column (phenyl-methyl-siloxane30 m
×
250
µ
m
×
0.25
µ
m, Agilent 19091S-433). Each diluted essential
oil sample (1/100 in n-hexane, v/v) was injected in 1
µ
L volume, in split mode. The flow rate was
16 mL/min and the split ratio was 1:15. The oven temperature was linearly programmed from 60
C
to 240
C (at rate of 3
C/min) and then held for 10 min at the last temperature. The carrier gas
was helium with a head pressure of 8.2317 psi. The mass spectrometer (Agilent Technologies model
5975C) operated in electron impact (EI) mode at 70 eV with an ion source temperature set at 250
C.
Mass spectra were acquired with the detector operating in scan mode, in 50–550 m/zrange.
The retention index (RI) was calculated for all the volatile constituents using an n-alkane
homologous series, using a linear temperature programmed equation [
37
]. The identification of
essential oil components was performed by comparison of retention indices and mass spectra
fragmentation patterns with the Willey and NIST database (6th ed.) as previously described [
38
].
ChemStation software (Agilent Technologies) was used for data analysis. The relative proportion of
each individual component (%) was expressed as percent peak area relative to total peak area from the
GC-MS analysis of the whole sample. The relative proportions of the components were presented as
mean ±SD of three GC-MS analysis of each sample.
3.3. Animals
For the pharmacological experiments, 11 groups of male Charles River Wistar (Crl:WI) rats
(
n= 6
) with a mean weight of 200 g and 22 groups of male Swiss albino mice (n= 6) with a mean
weight of 30 g were obtained from the Practical Skills and Experimental Medicine Centre of the
Iuliu Ha¸tieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca (Romania). The animals were
housed in polycarbonate type IV-S open-top cages (Tecniplast, Italy) and maintained under standard
conditions (22
±
2
C, a relative humidity of 45%
±
10%, 12:12-h light:dark cycle). The animals had
access to a standard pelleted feed (Cantacuzino Institute, Bucharest, Romania) and filtered water
ad libitum throughout the experiment, except for the day when the test substances were administered.
All experimental protocols were approved by the Ethics Committee of the Iuliu Hatieganu University
of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and were conducted in accordance with the EEC
Directive 63/2010, which regulates the use of laboratory animals for scientific purposes.
3.4. Anti-Inflammatory Activity
The anti-inflammatory activity of the essential oils from the selected species of Mentha was
determined by the rat paw edema test induced by
λ
-carrageenan, according to the method of Winter et al.
modified by Griesbacher et al. after the introduction of a commercially available plethysmomether [
39
41
].
Thus, the essential oils from M. piperita pallescens (EOMPA), M. spicata (EOMSP), and M. suaveolens
Molecules 2017,22, 263 8 of 11
(EOMSU), after being solubilized in the vehicle (1% Tween 80 aqueous solution), were orally administered
to 9 groups of Crl:WI rats (n= 6) in three different doses—125 mg/kg bw, 250 mg/kg bw, and 500 mg/kg
bw—one hour before the induction of inflammation. Rats in the control group were orally treated with
the vehicle (10 mL/kg), while rats in the reference group received, also orally, 20 mg/kg bw diclofenac
(Gerot Lannach GmbH, Lannach, Austria), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Inflammatory
edema was induced by a single injection of 0.1 mL of 1%
λ
-carrageenan (Sigma Aldrich, St. Louis, MO,
USA) into the subplantar region of the left hind paw of each rat. The paw volume of each animal was
determined before carrageenan injection and at 1, 2, 3, and 4 h after the induction of inflammation with
a digital plethysmometer (model 7140, Ugo Basile, Varese, Italy). Edema volume and the percentage of
edema inhibition were calculated as follows:
Edema volume (mL) = Vt Vo
Inhibition of edema (%) = [1(Et/Ec) ×100]
where Vo is the mean paw volume before carrageenan injection, Vt is the mean paw volume at “t”
hours, Et is mean edema volume in treated animals, and Ec is mean edema volume in the control group.
3.5. Antinociceptive Activity
3.5.1. Acetic Acid Induced Writhing Test
The antinociceptive effect of the essential oils from the selected species of Mentha was evaluated
by the writhing test in mice, using 1% (v/v) acetic acid solution administered intraperitonealy to
induce abdominal constrictions [
42
]. Initially, the essential oils from M. piperita pallescens (EOMPA),
M. spicata (EOMSP), and M. suaveolens (EOMSU), after being solubilized in the vehicle (1% Tween 80
aqueous solution), were orally administered to 9 groups of male Swiss mice (n= 6) in three different
doses: 125 mg/kg bw, 250 mg/kg bw, and 500 mg/kg bw, orally, by gastric intubation. The mice
in the control group (n= 6) were treated orally with the vehicle (10 mL/kg). The animals from the
reference group (n= 6) were treated orally with an anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac 20 mg/kg bw.
After 30 min
, all mice were injected intraperitoneally with 0.1 mL of 1% acetic acid solution, in order to
induce abdominal constrictions (writhes). The animals were placed in an observation box, the writhes
being counted over a period of 20 min. For scoring purposes, a writhe was indicated by stretching
of the abdomen with simultaneous stretching of at least one hind limb. The analgesic activity was
evaluated by calculating the percentage of inhibition of the writhes with the formula:
% inhibition = (mean no. of writhes for control group mean no. of writhes
for treated group) ×100/mean no. of writhes for control group.
3.5.2. Hot Plate Test in Mice
The antinociceptive effect of the essential oils from the selected species of Mentha was also
evaluated by the hot plate test in mice [
43
], using a digital Hot/Cold Plate (model 35100, Ugo Basile
Varese, Italy). Each mouse was initially placed on the plate heated at 55
C in order to observe its pain
responses (hind paw licking or jumping). The time (in seconds) needed for the development of this
pain response was recorded by the device for each individual animal. The mice exhibiting response
times shorter than 5 s or longer than 30 s were excluded from the study. Afterwards, the essential
oils from M. piperita pallescens (EOMPA), M. spicata (EOMSP), and M. suaveolens (EOMSU), after being
solubilized in the vehicle (1% Tween 80 aqueous solution), were orally administered to 9 groups of
male Swiss mice (n= 6) in three different doses: 125 mg/kg bw, 250 mg/kg bw, and 500 mg/kg bw,
orally, by gastric intubation. The mice in the control group (n= 6) were treated orally with the vehicle
(10 mL/kg). The animals from the reference group (n= 6) were treated orally with a centrally acting
Molecules 2017,22, 263 9 of 11
antinociceptive drug, morphine, at 10 mg/kg bw. The evaluation of the response times was repeated
for each individual animal at 30 min, 60 min, 90 min, and 120 min from the substance administration.
Percent analgesic score (PAS) was calculated for each group at all time intervals as:
PAS = (Tf Ti)/Tf ×100
where Tf = response time (in seconds) after drug administration, and Ti = response time (in seconds)
before drug administration.
3.6. Statistical Analysis
Data were expressed as mean values
±
SD and were statistically analyzed by one-way ANOVA
method. The differences between the treated groups and the control group were evaluated by Dunnett’s
t-test, p-values 0.05 being considered statistically significant.
4. Conclusions
This research showed a menthol chemotype for M. piperita pallescens, a carvone chemotype
for M. spicata and a piperitenone oxide chemotype for M. suaveolens, cultivated in Romania.
Our experimental results showed that the essential oil from M. spicata L. (EOMSP) with the particular
chemical composition presented in the study had significant and dose-dependent anti-inflammatory
and antinociceptive properties. Since the essential oil composition can be influenced by a variety of
factors, further research is necessary to demonstrate if these promising results can be extrapolated to
a wider variety of M. spicata samples, under different environmental conditions.
Author Contributions:
C.M., O.V., and R.I.M. conceived and designed the experiments; C.M. and O.V. performed
the pharmacological experiments, analyzed the data and wrote the paper; G.B. identified and prepared the vegetal
material; R.O., C.H., L.F., and R.I.M. performed the GC-MS analysis.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Sample Availability: Samples of the essential oils are available from the authors.
©
2017 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access
article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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... The anti-nociceptive effect of peppermint was found, actually it significantly lowers writhing by about 38 -44% as compared to control group. This was observed with an oral administration of peppermint oil at a doses of 200 or 400 mg/kg daily [49] . ...
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The Treatise of Cultivated and Wild Medicinal Plants, now at its second edition, is developed by the same authors as the first edition (published at Risoprint Publishing House, Cluj-Napoca, 2007). The second edition includes chapters and new species of medicinal plants and modern aspects of the presentation and capitalization of these species of plants based on the scientific results obtained in the country and abroad. The role of medicinal and aromatic plants in prophylactic and curative medicine is long known, being increasingly appreciated worldwide and in our country. Man used natural resources in the middle of which he lived, from the beginning of its existence. He found in the vegetal and animal world the livelihood, food, clothes and solutions to remedy the organic suffering. Gradually, he managed to identify plants that were beneficial to his health, for healing wounds and curing various diseases. From traditional medicine to modern medicine, the practice of healing human suffering could not part with medicinal plants, which are an invaluable pool of active principles, bundled into the immensity of flowers, leaves, roots etc. Human civilizations that have succeeded each brought their contribution to the knowledge and use of a growing number of medicinal plants. Many scholars of ancient times until nowadays have also recorded in their writings the medicinal qualities and the proper way of use of many plants. At the same time with the development of chemistry it also became possible the knowledge of active substances (active principles) in plants. Until a century ago, about three quarters of pharmaceutical preparations were made from vegetable products, then synthetic medicines have come to hold more weight and medicinal plants were considered by some "therapeutic fossils". The interest in therapy with pharmaceutical products derived from plants is growing steadily from the second half of the last century, due to the fact that they are more compatible with the human body, being closer in metabolic terms and more easily tolerated than synthetic medicines. Current medical trends are grafted increasingly on the use of phytotherapy (treatment with pharmaceutical products derived from plants), limiting the explosive use of synthetic drugs to the strictly necessary. Phytotherapy is a real possibility in modern therapeutics alongside chemotherapy, physiotherapy and balneology, electrotherapy, food hygiene etc. Nowadays, worldwide, it is estimated that about two thirds of the population is calling on phytotherapy (for various diseases) and that about half of pharmaceuticals based on medicinal plants, or have in their composition active principles extracted from plants (alkaloids, glycosides, essential oils etc.) being used to treat serious diseases of the heart, stomach, nervous system, etc. It is estimated that, worldwide, are known and have been used in the "popular" and "civilized" phytotherapy over ten thousand species of medicinal and aromatic plants, of which more widely used nowadays are about 300 species of plants. Worldwide, enrichment of the assortment of medicinal and aromatic plants and diversification of their use is constantly growing. Some of these plants are also used in the food industry, perfumery and cosmetics, soap and detergents industry etc. Compared to medicinal products obtained by infusion, decoction or tinctures, modern phytotherapy appeals increasingly to extracts (made in specialized units), which represent the raw material used in the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of medicaments. Current phytotherapeutic products, in order to meet the requirements of modern medicine, must follow the processing, conditioning, analysis and control processes, as synthetic medicines, as in the processing of a vegetal material (with a certain chemical composition) medicines with different compositions and different qualities can be obtained. Transfer of the composition and action of vegetal products into the phytotherapeutic medicine also depends on the way of processing the vegetal material. Modern phytotherapy must be based on scientific grounds to exist as a component of current medicine, along with chemotherapy and not remain just an alternative or complementary solution to current medications. Production and use of "medicines made of plants" without a scientific basis constitute a real social danger to the health and lives of those who consume them. In Romania, the use of medicinal herbs is an old tradition, numerous documents attesting the practice of using plants in curing diseases by Geto-Dacian tribes living on the territory of our country. In this regard, we remind that the Greek philosopher and historian Herodotus (484-425 BCE) stated Dacians’ skill in using plants for healing wounds and as pain killers. After the Roman conquest, pharmaceutical and therapeutic knowledge of the Greeks and Latins completed the cultural Dacian treasure. They settled, since ancient times, lasting relationships in terms of natural therapy between the populations of the Carpathian-Danubian-Pontic area with other Indo-European peoples. Concerns about exploitation of medicinal and aromatic plants in our country have a scientific support recognized since the beginning of the twentieth century. It is worth noting that the first experimental resort in the world specializing in the study of medicinal plants was established in Cluj, in 1904. Since then, there have been laid the foundations of experimental research in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants in our country. Studies in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants continued since 1930 at the Institute of Agronomic Research of Romania, at Agricultural Resorts in Bucharest, Cluj, Câmpia Turzii, Magurele, Brașov, Valul lui Traian, and since 1975 in the Resort for the Research of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Fundulea, during their existence, and other agricultural resorts located in different ecological conditions, in agronomic higher education universities and faculties of pharmacy etc. Prestigious botanists, biologists, agronomists, chemists, pharmacists and physicians of our country have linked their name of the knowledge and capitalization of medicinal and aromatic plants. With varied conditions of soil and climate, our country has a rich and diverse flora. From the steppe and to the mountain area we meet various grass and woody plant species growing naturally and a large number of crops, exceeding 3,500 species of superior plants, a quarter of which are used in empirical medicine and about 200 species are studied from a chemical and pharmacodynamic point of view. The nearly 900 species of plants (by some estimates, nearly 1,000 species) constitute the medicinal flora of Romania. For medicinal and aromatic purposes, for domestic needs and for export, in our country there are currently systematically collected over 150 species of plants. In our country is cultivated, or are being introduced in culture, a significant number of plant species for medicinal and aromatic purposes (listed in the Treaty), with upward trend, in line with the increasing demands from the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, other domestic customers and the possibilities of making a more efficient export of these products. The ever-growing requirements for vegetable raw material for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, which has grown much nowadays, as well as requests for other beneficiaries, have led to the increase of the area with cultivated medicinal plants and the widening of their assortment. The necessity of cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants stems from the fact that, in the wild flora, different species grow on large areas, sometimes inaccessible, so their detection, collection and transport is made difficultly, by failing to ensure an appropriate pace, and the cost of the raw material becomes very high. To this it should add that, not always, casual pickers employed for this purpose are well aware of the medicinal plants and the harvest time, leading to the contamination of raw materials, respectively, to harvesting a product low in active principles. Some medicinal plants do not grow spontaneously in our country, others existing in the wild flora - being rare - are monuments of nature, while others - highly toxic - are systematically eliminated in meadows; from these species the vegetal raw material can only be obtained through their cultivation. Cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants enable the harvesting to be done when they have the highest content of active principles. Product drying can be done immediately after harvest or can be processed after harvest without drying, in special facilities. Some medicinal plants also have phyto-ameliorative importance, being able to capitalize on land less favourable to other cultures. Cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants proved to be more productive than their spontaneous forms, as happened previously for other plants cultivated for other purposes, due to cultivation of some improved populations and varieties, their location in the adequate climatic conditions and the implementation of fair cultivation technologies. In summary, by scientifically cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants, it is ensured the necessary vegetal raw material for the pharmaceutical industry in our country, a product rich in active principles and more homogeneous is obtained, substitutions and falsifications can be avoided, harvesting is made at the optimum time (when the active principle content is at its maximum), followed by drying or processing as fresh, new species can be acclimatized, which do not grow spontaneously in our country and plants considered natural monuments can be protected etc. All these advantages that the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants presents compared with the possibilities that the spontaneous flora offers, led to the gradual introduction in culture of a growing number of plants whose location and cultivation requires good knowledge to achieve production high and rich in active principles. High crops of raw material rich in active principles can be obtained only by applying some technologies of differentiated culture, based on a thorough knowledge of biology and plant requirements in relation to the factors of vegetation. Medicinal spontaneous flora of our country, consisting of species with multiple uses in phytotherapy, covering in varying proportions almost all pharmacological groups, represents together with cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants a national thesaurus that should be well known and exploited rationally. Meeting half way the knowledge and rational capitalization of this national thesaurus, this paper presents cultivated medicinal plants or to be introduced in culture, but also the medicinal spontaneous flora of our country, grouped into botanical families, described in Flora României / Flora of Romania, volumes I-XII. There are also described some exotic species, contained in products used for therapeutic purposes. Before presenting the cultivated and spontaneous plant species, the paper summarizes aspects of their use, the chemical composition and the therapeutic action of their active principles, and the factors influencing production and quality of the product capitalized in phytotherapy and for other purposes. In the final part of the volume are described the major Romanian phytotherapeutical products and some items that usefully complement the knowledge and capitalization of cultivated and spontaneous medicinal plants of our country. In cultivated plants, the presentation material for each of them comprises two parts: "importance, biology, ecology" and "technology of cultivation". The first part consists of an elaboration on the main aspects, concerning: the importance (raw material, chemical composition and its uses), systematics (cultivated varieties), biological peculiarities, and requirements for climate and soil and crop areas. In the second part, the technology of cultivation includes: rotation, fertilization, tillage, seed and sowing (planting), maintenance works, harvesting and packaging the product for acceptance. The recommended technologies restrict the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that lead to pollution of the product and the environment. The paper also briefly reviews plants cultivated for other purposes, which also have medicinal uses, mentioning only the vegetal raw material, the uses and the technical conditions of acceptance of the product. Plants from the spontaneous flora of our country and the exotic ones included in the paper are presented each into two parts: "importance, biology, ecology" and "harvesting and conditioning". So, in the beginning there are covered the raw material and the chemical composition, areas of use, biological peculiarities, systematics, ecology and spread of species, and the second describes all aspects of harvesting, conditioning and preservation of the vegetal raw material. Issues presented in the paper, both in the cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants, as well as in those of the spontaneous flora, are based on an extensive bibliographic documentation in the domestic and foreign literature, as well as on the scientific results obtained in researches of the authors of this volume and the research groups in the field of medicinal plants from Cluj universities to which they belong. This paper is addressed to all agronomy specialists, pharmacists, biologists etc., those who directly or indirectly contribute to the production and capitalization of medicinal and aromatic plants. It is a documentary material useful to Ph.D. candidates and students who are preparing in these areas of the economy, in agronomic, biological, and medical and pharmaceutical higher education establishments etc. The paper presents knowledge useful to a wide audience, desirous to know, cultivate or harvest of spontaneous flora and to capitalize on medicinal and aromatic plants for their own needs and the requirements of the national economy. Some of the species presented are also melliferous or ornamental plants, and can be used for these complementary purposes. We can say that cultivated and spontaneous medicinal and aromatic plants are a real thesaurus of medicines, a wellspring of life and health, which happily combines usefulness with beauty. AVANT-PROPOS Le Traité de plantes médicinales cultivées et spontanées, maintenant à sa deuxième édition, est développé par les mêmes auteurs que la première édition (publiée par la Maison d’Éditions Risoprint ClujNapoca, 2007). La deuxième édition comprend des chapitres et plusieurs nouvelles espèces de plantes médicinales, et des aspects modernes sur la présentation et la valorisation de ces espèces de plantes, ayant comme fondement les résultats scientifiques obtenus dans le pays et à l’étranger. Le rôle des plantes médicinales et aromatiques en médecine prophylactique et curative est connu depuis longtemps, étant de plus en plus apprécié dans le monde entier et dans notre pays. L’homme a utilisé les ressources naturelles parmi lesquelles il a vécu, depuis le début de son existence. Il a trouvé dans le monde animal et végétal les moyens de subsistance, de nourriture, des vêtements et des solutions organiques pour remédier aux souffrances organiques. Peu à peu, il a réussi à identifier les plantes qui avaient des effets bénéfiques pour sa santé, pour la cicatrisation des plaies et la guérison de diverses maladies. De la médecine traditionnelle à la médecine moderne, la pratique de la guérison des souffrances humaines n’a pas pu se séparer des plantes médicinales, qui sont un précieux bassin de principes actifs, groupés dans l’immensité de fleurs, feuilles, racines, etc. Les civilisations humaines qui se sont succédé ont apporté leur contribution à la connaissance et l’utilisation d’un nombre croissant de plantes médicinales. Beaucoup de savants de l’Antiquité jusqu’à nos jours ont enregistré dans leurs ouvrages écrits les qualités médicinales et l’utilisation de nombreuses plantes. Parallèlement au développement de la chimie, il est devenue possible la connaissance des substances actives (principes actifs) des plantes. Jusqu’à il y a un siècle, environ trois quarts des préparations pharmaceutiques étaient fabriqués à partir de produits végétaux, ensuite les médicaments synthétiques ont arrivé à détenir un poids plus large, et les plantes médicinales ont été considérées par certains des «fossiles thérapeutiques». L’intérêt pour les produits pharmaceutiques thérapeutiques dérivés de plantes ne cesse de croître dans la seconde moitié du siècle dernier, parce qu’ils sont plus compatibles avec le corps humain, étant plus proche en termes de métabolisme et plus facilement tolérés que les médicaments synthétiques. Les tendances médicales actuelles sont greffées de plus en plus sur l’utilisation de la phytothérapie (traitement avec des produits pharmaceutiques dérivés de plantes), ce qui limite l’utilisation explosive des médicaments synthétiques à un minimum nécessaire. La phytothérapie est une possibilité réelle en thérapeutique moderne, ainsi que la chimiothérapie, la physiothérapie et la balnéothérapie, l’électrothérapie, l’hygiène alimentaire, etc. De nos jours, dans le monde entier, on estime qu’environ deux tiers de la population fait appel à la phytothérapie (pour des diverses maladies) et que près de la moitié des produits pharmaceutiques ont à la base de plantes médicinales, ou ont dans leur composition des principes actifs dérivés de plantes (alcaloïdes, glycosides, huiles essentielles, etc.) utilisés pour traiter des maladies graves du cœur, de l’estomac, du système nerveux, etc. On estime que, dans le monde entier, sont connus et ont été utilisés dans la phytothérapie «populaire» et «classique» plus de dix mille espèces de plantes médicinales et aromatiques, dont environ 300 espèces de plantes sont plus largement utilisées de nos jours. Dans le monde entier, l’enrichissement de la gamme de plantes médicinales et aromatiques et la diversification de leur utilisation est en constante augmentation. Certaines de ces plantes sont utilisées aussi dans l’industrie alimentaire, la parfumerie et la cosmétique, dans l’industrie des savons et des détergents, etc. Par rapport aux médicaments obtenus par infusion, décoction ou teintures, la phytothérapie moderne fait appel de plus en plus aux extraits (faits dans des unités spécialisées), qui est la matière première utilisée dans l’industrie pharmaceutique pour la fabrication des médicaments. Les produits phytothérapiques actuels, pour répondre aux exigences de la médecine moderne, doivent suivre les processus de traitement, conditionnement, analyse et contrôle, au modèle des médicaments de synthèse, parce que dans le processus de traitement du matériel végétal (avec une certaine composition chimique) on peut obtenir des médicaments à des compositions et des qualités différentes. Le transfert de la composition et de l’action d’un produit végétal dans le médicament psychothérapeutique dépend aussi de la modalité de traitement de la matière végétale. La phytothérapie moderne doit reposer sur une base scientifique pour exister en tant que composante de la médecine actuelle, avec la chimiothérapie et pour ne pas rester juste une solution alternative ou complémentaire aux médicaments actuels. La production et l’utilisation de «médicaments à base de plantes» sans un fondement scientifique constitue un réel danger social pour la santé et la vie de ceux qui les consomment. En Roumanie, l’utilisation des plantes pour guérir est une vieille tradition, de nombreux documents attestant la pratique de l’utilisation des plantes pour guérir les maladies par des tribus Géto-Daces vivant sur le territoire de notre pays. À cet égard, rappelons que le philosophe et l’historien Grec Hérodote (484-425 AEC) mentionnait l’habileté des Daces à utiliser les plantes pour la guérison des plaies et pour calmer les douleurs. Après la conquête romaine, les connaissances pharmaceutiques et thérapeutiques des Grecs et des Latins ont Complete le trésor culturel dace. Dès les anciens temps, des relations durables se sont établies entre les populations de l’espace carpatique-danubien-pontique avec d’autres peuples indo-européens en ce qui concerne la thérapie naturelle. Les préoccupations relatives à la valorisation des plantes médicinales et aromatiques dans notre pays ont une base scientifique reconnus depuis le début du XXe siècle. Il est intéressant de noter que la première station expérimentale dans le monde spécialisée dans l’étude des plantes médicinales a été créée à Cluj en 1904. Depuis lors, il a été mise en place la recherche expérimentale dans le domaine des plantes médicinales et aromatiques dans notre pays. Les études dans le domaine des plantes médicinales et aromatiques ont continué depuis l’année 1930 à l’Institut de Recherche Agronomique de Roumanie, aux Stations Agricoles de Bucarest, Cluj, Câmpia Turzii, Magurele, Brașov, Valul lui Traian, et depuis 1975 dans la Station de Recherche pour les Plantes Médicinales et Aromatiques de Fundulea, au cours de leur existence, et dans d’autres stations agricoles situées dans des différentes conditions écologiques, dans les universités l’éducation agronomique supérieure et les facultés de pharmacie, etc. Des botanistes, biologistes, agronomes, chimistes, pharmaciens et médecins de prestige de notre pays ont lié leurs noms de la connaissance et la valorisation des plantes médicinales et aromatiques. Ayant des conditions variées de sol et de climat, notre pays dispose d’une flore diversifiée et riche. De la zone de steppe et jusqu’à la montagne on rencontre de diverses espèces de graminées et de plantes ligneuses qui poussent naturellement et un grand nombre de plantes cultivées, dépassant 3500 espèces de plantes supérieures, dont un quart sont utilisées en médecine empirique et environ 200 espèces sont étudiées en termes de produits chimiques et pharmacodynamique. Les près de 900 espèces de plantes (selon certaines estimations, près de 1000 espèces) constituent la flore médicinale de la Roumanie. À des fins médicinales et aromatiques, pour les besoins nationaux et pour l’exportation, dans notre pays sont collectées systématiquement, à présent, plus de 150 espèces de plantes. Dans notre pays est cultivé, ou sont en cours d’être introduites dans la culture, un nombre important d’espèces de plantes à des fins médicinales et aromatiques (présentées dans le traité), avec tendance à augmenter, à mesure de la croissance des demandes de l’industrie chimique et pharmaceutique, de la part d’autres bénéficiaires nationaux et des possibilités de rendre plus efficace l’exportation de ces produits. Les demandes de plus en plus nombreuses de matière première végétale pour l’industrie chimique et pharmaceutique, qui s’est beaucoup développée de nos jours, ainsi que les demandes d’autres bénéficiaires, ont conduit à l’extension des surfaces avec des plantes médicinales et d’élargissement de leur assortiment. La nécessité de cultiver des plantes médicinales et aromatiques provient aussi du fait que, dans la flore spontanée, les différentes espèces poussent sur des larges zones, parfois difficilement accessibles, que la détection, la collecte et le transport est rendu difficile, en ne garantissant pas un rythme approprié, et le coût de la matière première devient très élevé. Il faut ajouter à cela que, pas toujours, les cueilleurs occasionnels, employés à cet effet, sont des connaisseur des plantes médicinales et du temps juste de la récolte, ce qui conduit à la contamination de la matière première, ainsi qu’à la récolte d’un produit pauvre en principes actifs. Certaines plantes médicinales ne poussent pas spontanément dans notre pays, d’autres existants dans la flore spontanée sauvage - étant rares - sont des monuments de la nature, d’autres - à toxicité élevée - sont systématiquement éliminées des prairies; de ces espèces, la matière première végétale ne peuvent être obtenue que par leur culture. Les plantes médicinales et aromatiques cultivées permettent que la récolte se fasse lorsque le contenu en principes actifs est le plus élevé. Le séchage du produit peut être effectué immédiatement après la récolte ou il peut être traité après la récolte sans séchage, dans des installations spéciales. Certaines plantes médicinales ont aussi une importance pour la phyto-amélioration, étant en mesure de valoriser de terres moins favorables pour d’autres cultures. Les plantes médicinales et aromatiques cultivées se sont avérées plus productives que leurs formes spontanées, comme cela s’est aussi passé avec les autres plantes cultivées à d’autres fins, en raison de la culture de certaines populations et de variétés améliorées, leur emplacement dans les conditions pédoclimatiques appropriées et l’application de la technologie de culture correcte. En résumé, en cultivant des plantes médicinales et aromatiques scientifiquement, on assure la matière première végétale nécessaire à l’industrie pharmaceutique de notre pays, on obtient un produit riche en principes actifs et plus homogène, on peut éviter des substitutions et des falsifications, la récolte peut se faire au temps optimal (lorsque le contenu en principes actifs est le plus élevé), suivie d’un séchage ou de traitement en fraîche état, de nouvelles espèces peuvent s’acclimater, qui ne poussent pas spontanément dans notre pays et on peut protéger les plantes considérées comme monuments naturels, etc. Tous ces avantages que la culture des plantes médicinales et aromatiques présente, par rapport aux possibilités que la flore spontanée offre, ont conduit à l’introduction dans la culture, progressivement, d’un nombre croissant de plantes dont l’emplacement et la culture nécessitent une bonne connaissance pour parvenir à des productions élevées et riches en principes actifs. Des rendements élevés de matières premières riches en principes actifs peuvent être obtenus que par l’application des technologies de culture différenciée, fondée sur une connaissance approfondie de la biologie et des exigences des plantes en raison des facteurs de végétation. La flore spontanée médicinale de notre pays, composée d’espèces, à usages multiples en phytothérapie, couvrant en différentes proportions presque tous les groupes pharmacologiques, représente, avec les plantes médicinales et aromatiques cultivées, un trésor national, qui devrait être bien connu et exploité rationnellement. Étant un outil dans la connaissance et la capitalisation rationnelle de ce trésor national, cet ouvrage présente les plantes médicinales cultivées, ou en cours d’introduction dans la culture, et la flore spontanée médicinale de notre pays, regroupées en familles botaniques, décrites dans l’ouvrage Flora României / Flore de Roumanie, volumes I-XII. Certaines espèces exotiques, utilisées dans les produits pour des fins thérapeutiques sont aussi décrites. Avant de présenter les espèces de plantes cultivées et spontanées, l’ouvrage contient des aspects de leur utilisation, la composition chimique et l’action thérapeutique des principes actifs, ainsi que les facteurs qui influent sur la production et la qualité du produit valorisé en phytothérapie et pour autres fins. Dans la partie finale du volume sont présentés les principaux produits phyto-thérapeutiques roumains et certains éléments qui complètent de manière utile les connaissances et la valorisation des plantes médicinales cultivées et spontanées de notre pays. En ce qui concerne les plantes cultivées, le matériel de présentation de chacun d’eux comprend deux parties: «l’importance, la biologie, l’écologie» et «la technologie de culture”. La première partie est élaborée sur les principaux aspects concernant: l’importance (la matière première, la composition chimique et ses utilisations), la systématique (les variétés cultivées), les particularités biologiques, les exigences pour le climat et le sol, ainsi que et les zones de cultures. Dans la seconde partie, la technologie de culture comprennent: la rotation, la fertilisation, le travail du sol, les semences et le semis (plantation), les travaux d’entretien, la récolte et l’emballage du produit afin de faire la réception. Les technologies recommandées limitent l’utilisation des engrais chimiques et des pesticides, qui conduisent à la pollution du produit et de l’environnement. De même, l’ouvrage présente brièvement les plantes cultivées à d’autres fins, qui ont aussi des utilisations médicinales, mentionnant seulement la matière première végétale, les usages et les conditions techniques de réception du produit. Les plantes de la flore spontanée de notre pays, ainsi que les plantes exotiques inclues dans l’ouvrage, sont présentées chacune en deux parties: «l’importance, la biologie, l’écologie» et «la récolte et le conditionnement». Ainsi, l’ouvrage contient dans la partie de début, la matière première et la composition chimique, les domaines d’utilisation, les particularités biologiques, la systématique, l’écologie et la propagation de l’espèce, et la seconde partie décrit tous les aspects de la récolte, le conditionnement et la conservation de la matière première végétale. Les aspects présentés dans l’ouvrage, en ce qui concerne à la fois les plantes médicinales et aromatiques cultivées, ainsi que ceux de la flore spontanée, sont basés sur une documentation bibliographique étendue, de la littérature nationale et étrangère, ainsi que sur les résultats scientifiques obtenus dans les recherches par les auteurs de ce volume et les groupes de recherche dans le domaine des plantes médicinales des universités de Cluj dont ils font partie. L’ouvrage s’adresse à tous les spécialistes agronomes, pharmaciens, biologistes, etc., à ceux qui sont directement ou indirectement impliqués dans la production et l’exploitation des plantes médicinales et aromatiques. Il est un matériel documentaire utile aux doctorants et étudiants qui se préparent dans ces domaines de l’économie, dans des établissements d’enseignement supérieur agronomique, biologique et médicopharmaceutique, etc. L’ouvrage présente des connaissances utiles à un large public, désireux de connaître, de cultiver ou de récolter de la flore spontanée et de capitaliser sur les plantes médicinales et aromatiques pour leurs propres besoins et les exigences de l’économie nationale. Une partie des espèces présentées sont aussi des plantes mellifères ou ornementales, et peuvent être utilisés à ces fins complémentaires. On peut dire que les plantes médicinales et aromatiques cultivées et spontanées sont un trésor de médicaments, une source inépuisée de vie et de santé, qui combine heureusement l’utilité avec la beauté. CUVÂNT ÎNAINTE Tratatul de plante medicinale cultivate și spontane, aflat la a doua ediție, este elaborat de aceeași autori ca și la prima ediție (publicata la Ed. Risoprint Cluj-Napoca, 2007). În ediția a doua sunt incluse capitole și specii noi de plante medicinale, precum și aspecte moderne referitoare la prezentarea și valorificarea acestor specii de plante, fundamentate pe rezultatele științifice obținute în țara și strainatate. Rolul plantelor medicinale și aromatice în medicina profilactica și curativa este cunoscut de mult timp, fiind tot mai apreciat pe plan mondial și în țara noastra. Omul a folosit resursele naturale în mijlocul carora a trait, de la începutul existenței sale. El a gasit în lumea vegetala și animala mijloacele de existența, hrana, îmbracaminte și soluțiile pentru remedierea suferințelor organice. Treptat a reușit sa identifice plante care aveau efecte benefice pentru sanatatea sa, pentru vindecarea ranilor și tamaduirea diferitelor boli. De la medicina tradiționala la medicina moderna, îndeletnicirea vindecarii suferințelor umane nu s-a putut desparți de plantele medicinale, care constituie o inestimabila rezerva de principii active, înmanunchiate în imensitatea de flori, frunze, radacini etc. Civilizațiile umane care s-au succedat, și-au adus fiecare contribuția la cunoașterea și utilizarea unui numar tot mai mare de plante medicinale. Numeroși învațați din antichitate pâna în zilele noastre, au consemnat în scrierile lor însușirile medicinale și modul de utilizare a numeroase plante. Paralel cu dezvoltarea chimiei, a fost posibila și cunoașterea substanțelor active (principii active) din plante. Pâna în urma cu un secol, circa trei sferturi din preparatele farmaceutice erau realizate din produse vegetale, apoi medicamentele de sinteza au ajuns sa dețina o pondere mai mare, iar plantele medicinale erau considerate de unii „fosile terapeutice”. Interesul pentru terapia cu produse farmaceutice obținute din plante este în continua creștere, din a doua parte a secolului trecut, datorita faptului ca acestea sunt mai compatibile cu organismul uman, fiind mai apropiate din punct de vedere metabolic și mai ușor de tolerat decât medicamentele de sinteza. Orientarile actuale în medicina sunt grefate tot mai mult pe utilizarea fitoterapiei (tratamentul cu produse farmaceutice obținute din plante), limitând exploziva folosire a medicamentelor de sinteza la strictul necesar. Fitoterapia constituie o reala posibilitate în terapeutica moderna, alaturi de chimioterapie, fizioterapie și balneologie, electroterapie, igiena alimentației etc. În zilele noastre, pe glob, se apreciaza ca circa doua treimi din populație face apel la fitoterapie (pentru diferite afecțiuni) și ca circa jumatate din produsele farmaceutice au la baza plante medicinale, sau au în compoziția lor principii active extrase din plante (alcaloizi, glicozide, uleiuri volatile etc.), fiind folosite în tratamentul unor boli grave de inima, stomac, sistem nervos etc. Se apreciaza ca, la scara mondiala, se cunosc și au fost folosite în fitoterapia „populara” și “culta” peste zece mii de specii de plante medicinale și aromatice, din care mai larg utilizate în zilele noastre sunt circa 300 specii de plante. În toata lumea, îmbogațirea sortimentului de plante medicinale și aromatice și diversificarea utilizarii lor este în continua dezvoltare. Unele din aceste plante sunt utilizate și în industria alimentara, în parfumerie și cosmetica, în industria sapunurilor și detergenților etc. Fața de produsele medicamentoase obținute prin infuzie, decoct sau tincturi, fitoterapia moderna face apel tot mai mult la extracte (realizate în unitați specializate), care reprezinta materia prima utilizata în industria farmaceutica pentru obținerea unor medicamente. Produsele fitoterapeutice actuale, pentru a corespunde exigențelor medicinii moderne, trebuie sa urmeze procesele de prelucrare, condiționare, analiza și control, ca și medicamentele de sinteza, deoarece în procesul de prelucrare a unui material vegetal (cu o anumita compoziție chimica) se pot obține medicamente cu compoziții și calitați diferite. Transferul compoziției și acțiunii unui produs vegetal în medicamentul fitoterapeutic depinde și de modul de prelucrare a materialului vegetal. Fitoterapia moderna trebuie sa se sprijine pe o fundamentare științifica, pentru a exista ca o componenta a medicinii actuale, alaturi de chimioterapie și sa nu ramâna doar o alternativa sau o soluție complementara în medicația actuala. Producerea și utilizarea unor „medicamente din plante” fara o baza științifica constituie un adevarat pericol social pentru sanatatea și viața celor care le consuma. În România, folosirea plantelor de leac are o veche tradiție, numeroase documente atesta îndeletnicirea utilizarii plantelor în lecuirea bolilor de catre triburile geto-dace care locuiau teritoriul țarii noastre. În acest sens, amintim faptul ca filozoful și istoricul grec Herodot (484 - 425 î.e.n.) menționa priceperea dacilor în folosirea plantelor pentru vindecarea ranilor și calmarea durerilor. Dupa cucerirea romana, cunoștințele farmaceutice și terapeutice ale grecilor și latinilor au completat tezaurul cultural dac. S-au statornicit, din vechime, relații durabile pe linia terapiei naturale între populațiile din zona carpato-danubiano-pontica cu alte popoare indoeuropene. Preocuparile privind valorificarea plantelor medicinale și aromatice din țara noastra au un suport științific recunoscut înca de la începutul secolului al XX-lea. Merita menționat faptul ca prima stațiune experimentala din lume specializata în studierea plantelor medicinale a fost înființata la Cluj, în anul 1904. De la acea data s-au pus bazele cercetarii experimentale în domeniul plantelor medicinale și aromatice din țara noastra. Studiile în domeniul plantelor medicinale și aromatice au continuat din anul 1930 în cadrul Institutului de Cercetari Agronomice al României, la Stațiunile agricole din București, Cluj, Câmpia Turzii, Magurele, Brașov, Valul lui Traian, iar din anul 1975 în cadrul Stațiunii de Cercetari pentru Plante Medicinale și Aromatice Fundulea, în perioada existenței acestora, precum și în alte stațiuni agricole amplasate în condiții ecologice diferite, în universitați de învațamânt superior agronomic și facultați de farmacie etc. Botaniști, biologi, agronomi, chimiști, farmaciști și medici de prestigiu din țara noastra și-au legat numele de cunoașterea și valorificarea plantelor medicinale și aromatice. Având condiții foarte variate de clima și sol, țara noastra are o flora diversificata și bogata. Din zona de stepa și pâna în cea montana se întâlnesc felurite specii ierboase și lemnoase, plante care cresc spontan și un numar însemnat de plante cultivate, depașind 3500 de specii de plante superioare, din care un sfert se folosesc în medicina empirica și circa 200 de specii sunt studiate din punct de vedere chimico-farmacodinamic. Cele aproape 900 de specii de plante (dupa unele estimari, aproape 1000 de specii) constituie flora medicinala a României. În scop medicinal și aromatic, pentru nevoile interne și pentru export în țara noastra se recolteaza sistematic, în prezent, peste 150 de specii de plante. În țara noastra se cultiva, sau sunt în curs de introducere în cultura, un numar semnificativ de specii de plante în scop medicinal și aromatic (redate în tratat), cu tendința de creștere, pe masura sporirii solicitarilor din partea industriei chimico-farmaceutice, a altor beneficiari interni și a posibilitaților de valorificare tot mai eficienta a acestor produse la export. Cerințele mereu crescânde de materie prima vegetala pentru industria chimico-farmaceutica, care s-a dezvoltat mult în zilele noastre, precum și ale solicitarilor pentru alți beneficiari, au condus la marirea suprafețelor cu plante medicinale cultivate și la largirea sortimentului acestora. Necesitatea cultivarii plantelor medicinale și aromatice decurge și din faptul ca, în flora spontana, diferitele specii cresc pe areale mari, uneori greu accesibile, încât depistarea, culegerea și transportul lor se face greu, neasigurând un ritm adecvat, iar prețul de cost al materiei prime devine foarte ridicat. La acestea se mai adauga și faptul ca, nu întotdeauna, culegatorii ocazionali, folosiți în acest scop, cunosc foarte bine plantele medicinale și momentul recoltarii lor, ducând la impurificarea materiei prime, respectiv la recoltarea unui produs sarac în principii active. Unele plante medicinale nu cresc spontan în țara noastra, altele existente în flora spontana - fiind rare - sunt monumente ale naturii, iar altele - cu toxicitate ridicata - sunt eliminate sistematic din pajiști; de la aceste specii materia prima vegetala se poate obține numai prin cultivarea lor. Plantele medicinale și aromatice cultivate dau posibilitatea ca recoltarea sa fie facuta atunci când au cel mai ridicat conținut de principii active. Uscarea produsului se poate face imediat dupa recoltare sau se poate prelucra dupa recoltare fara uscare, în instalații speciale. Unele plante medicinale prezinta și importanța fitoameliorativa, putând valorifica terenuri mai puțin propice altor culturi. Plantele medicinale și aromatice cultivate s-au dovedit mai productive decât formele lor spontane, cum s-a întâmplat și cu celelalte plante cultivate în alte scopuri, datorita cultivarii unor populații sau soiuri ameliorate, amplasarii lor în condiții pedoclimatice adecvate și aplicarii unor tehnologii de cultura corecte. În sinteza, prin cultivarea pe baze științifice a plantelor medicinale și aromatice, se asigura necesarul de materie prima vegetala pentru industria de medicamente din țara noastra, se obține un produs bogat în principii active și mai omogen, se pot evita substituirile și falsificarile, recoltarea se poate face în momentul optim (când conținutul în principii active este maxim), urmata de uscare sau prelucrare în stare proaspata, se pot aclimatiza specii noi, care nu cresc spontan în țara noastra și se pot ocroti plantele considerate monumente ale naturii etc. Toate aceste avantaje, pe care le prezinta cultivarea plantelor medicinale și aromatice, comparativ cu posibilitațile care le ofera flora spontana, au condus la introducerea în cultura treptat a unui numar tot mai mare de plante a caror amplasare și cultivare necesita cunoștiințe temeinice pentru a realiza producții ridicate și bogate în principii active. Producții mari de materie prima bogata în principii active, se pot obține numai prin aplicarea unor tehnologii de cultura diferențiata, pe baza cunoașterii temeinice a biologiei și cerințelor plantelor fața de factorii de vegetație. Flora spontana medicinala a țarii noastre, formata din specii, cu utilizari multiple în fitoterapie, acoperind în proporții diferite aproape toate grupele farmacologice, reprezinta împreuna cu plantele medicinale și aromatice cultivate, un tezaur național, care trebuie bine cunoscut și valorificat rațional. Venind în întâmpinarea cunoașterii și valorificarii raționale a acestui tezaur național, lucrarea de fața prezinta plantele medicinale cultivate, sau în curs de introducere în cultura, precum și flora spontana medicinala a țarii noastre, grupate în familii botanice, redate în Flora României, vol. I-XII. Sunt redate și unele specii exotice, utilizate în produsele folosite în scop terapeutic. Înainte de prezentarea speciilor de plante cultivate și spontane, în lucrare sunt cuprinse aspecte privind folosirea lor, compoziția chimica și acțiunea terapeutica a principiilor active, precum și factorii care influențeaza producția și calitatea produsului valorificat în fitoterapie și în alte scopuri. În partea finala a volumului sunt redate principalele produse fitoterapeutice românești și unele elemente care completeaza util cunoașterea și valorificarea plantelor medicinale cultivate și spontane ale țarii noastre. La plantele cultivate, materialul de prezentare a fiecareia dintre ele cuprinde doua parți: „importanța, biologie, ecologie” și „tehnologia de cultivare”. În prima parte, s-au elaborat principalele aspecte privind: importanța (materia prima, compoziția chimica și utilizarile ei), sistematica (soiurile cultivate), particularitațile biologice, cerințele fața de clima și sol, precum și zonele de cultura. În partea a doua, tehnologia de cultivare cuprinde: rotația, fertilizarea, lucrarile solului, samânța și semanatul (plantatul), lucrarile de îngrijire, recoltarea și condiționarea produsului în vederea recepționarii. Tehnologiile recomandate limiteaza folosirea îngrașamintelor chimice și a pesticidelor, care conduc la poluarea produsului și mediului. Lucrarea prezinta succint și plantele cultivate în alte scopuri, care au și utilizari medicinale, menționându-se doar materia prima vegetala, utilizarile și condițiile tehnice de recepție ale produsului. Plantele din flora spontana a țarii noastre, precum și cele exotice incluse în lucrare, sunt prezentate fiecare în doua parți: „importanța, biologie, ecologie”, apoi „recoltarea și condiționarea”. Astfel, sunt cuprinse la început, materia prima și compoziția chimica, domeniile de utilizare, particularitațile biologice, sistematica, ecologie și raspândirea speciei, iar în partea a doua sunt redate toate aspectele privind recoltarea, condiționarea și pastrarea materiei prime vegetale. Aspecte prezentate în lucrare, atât la plantele medicinale și aromatice cultivate, cât și la cele din flora spontana, sunt fundamente pe o bogata documentare bibliografica, din literatura de specialitate autohtona și straina, precum și pe rezultatele științifice obținute în cercetarile proprii de autorii acestui volum și colectivele de cercetare din domeniul plantelor medicinale, de la universitațile clujene la care aparțin aceștia. Lucrarea se adreseaza tuturor specialiștilor agronomi, farmaciști, biologi etc., celor care direct sau indirect contribuie la producerea și valorificarea plantelor medicinale și aromatice. Ea este un material documentar util doctoranzilor și studenților care se pregatesc în aceste domenii ale economiei, în instituțiile de învațamânt superior agronomic, medicofarmaceutic și biologic etc. Sunt prezentate în lucrare cunoștințe utile unui public larg, doritor sa cunoasca, sa cultive sau sa recolteze din flora spontana și sa valorifice plante medicinale și aromatice, pentru nevoile proprii și pentru cerințele economiei naționale. O parte din speciile prezentate sunt și plante melifere sau ornamentale, putându-se utiliza și în aceste scopuri complementare. Putem spune ca plantele medicinale și aromatice cultivate și spontane constituie un adevarat tezaur de medicamente, izvor nesecat de viața și sanatate, în care se îmbina fericit utilul cu frumosul.
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The taxonomy of the genus Mentha has been in a state of flux, with more than 3000 names published since 1753. On the basis of a phylogenetic analysis of morphology, chromosome numbers, and major essential oil constituents, the genus Mentha is redefined to include 18 species and 11 named hybrids, placed in four sections. Mentha cunninghamii is excluded and may be more closely paired with the genus Micromeria (s.l.). An enumeration of the taxa, with more important synonymy, follows a key to the species.
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Ozonized Japanese cedar wood meal was evaluated as a feedstock for compost. The composting experiment performed in a 1.8 m³ tank during a 4-week period showed that the decomposition of organics was accelerated by the ozonation of wood meal during thermophilic phase. The same is true for decay test of white-rot (WR) fungus. The tested brown-rot (BR) fungus did not show any effect. Accordingly, the lignin degradation by ozone is advantageous for composting. In addition, liberation of ammonia, one source of odor development, was suppressed during the thermophilic phase of composting of ozonized wood meal.