The flavonoids of Tanacetum parthenium and T. vulgare and their anti-inflammatory properties.


Williams CA, Harborne JB, Geiger H, Hoult JR.






The lipophilic flavonoids in leaf and flower of Tanacetum parthenium and T. vulgaris have been compared. While those of T. parthenium are methyl ethers of the flavonols 6-hydroxykaempferol and quercetagetin, the surface flavonoids of T. vulgare are methyl ethers of the flavones scutellarein and 6-hydroxyluteolin. Apigenin and two flavone glucuronides are surprisingly present in glandular trichomes on the lower epidermis of the ray florets of T. parthenium. The opportunity has been taken to revise the structures of the four 6-hydroxyflavonol methyl ethers of T. parthenium based on NMR measurements. These are now shown to be uniformly 6- rather than 7-O-methylated. Tanetin, previously thought to be a new structure, is now formulated as the known 6-hydroxykaempferol 3,6,4'-trimethyl ether. The vacuolar flavonoids of both plants are dominated by the presence of apigenin and luteolin 7-glucuronides; nine other glycosides were present, including the uncommon 6-hydroxyluteolin 7-glucoside in T. vulgare. When the major flavonol and flavone methyl ethers of the two plants were tested pharmacologically, they variously inhibited the major pathways of arachidonate metabolism in leukocytes. There were significant differences in potency, with the tansy 6-hydroxyflavones less active than the feverfew 6-hydroxyflavonols as inhibitors of cyclo-oxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase.