Abstract Detail


Adetunji, Tomi Lois [1], Siebert, Frances [1], Adetunji, Ademola [2], Harvey, Brian [3], Gericke, J [3], Hamman, JH [3], Van der Kooy, Frank [3].

Sceletium tortuosum: A review on its phytochemistry, pharmacokinetics, biological, pre-clinical and clinical activities.

Sceletium tortuosum (L.) N.E. Br, the most sought after and widely researched species in the genus Sceletium is a succulent forb endemic to South Africa. Traditionally, this medicinal plant is masticated or smoked and used for the relief of toothache, abdominal pain, and as a mood-elevator, analgesic, hypnotic, anxiolytic, thirst and hunger suppressant, and for its intoxicating/euphoric effects. Sceletium tortuosum is currently of widespread scientific interest due to its clinical potential in treating anxiety and depression, relieving stress in healthy individuals, and enhancing cognitive functions. These pharmacological actions are attributed to its phytochemical constituents referred to as mesembrine-type alkaloids. The aim of this review was to comprehensively summarize and critically evaluate recent research advances on the phytochemistry, pharmacokinetics, biological and clinical activities of the medicinal plant S. tortuosum. Additionally, current ongoing research and future perspectives are also discussed. All relevant scientific articles, books, MSc and Ph.D. dissertations on botany, behavioral pharmacology, traditional uses, and phytochemistry of S. tortuosum were retrieved from different databases. For pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effects of S. tortuosum, the focus fell on relevant publications published between 2009 and 2021. Twenty-five alkaloids belonging to four structural classes viz: mesembrine, Sceletium A4, joubertiamine, and tortuosamine, have been identified from S. tortuosum, of which the mesembrine class is predominant. The crude extracts and commercially available standardized extracts of S. tortuosum have displayed a wide spectrum of biological activities in in vitro or in vivo studies. This plant has not yet been studied in a clinical population, but has potential for enhancing cognitive function, and managing anxiety and depression. These scientific studies have shown that S. tortuosum has various bioactivities. The findings have further established the link between the phytochemistry and pharmacological application and support the traditional use of S. tortuosum in the indigenous medicine of South Africa.

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1 - North-West University, Botany, Forb Ecology Research Group (FERG), Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, North-West Province, ZA
2 - University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Life Sciences, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, 4001, ZA
3 - Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences, North-West University, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa.

Sceletium tortuosum

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PET001
Abstract ID:27
Candidate for Awards:None

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