Glycosides of uncommon aglucones, characterized by the Ph-C5-Ph skeleton, were isolated from the rhizomes of some African Hypoxis species. HPLC analysis indicated the occurrence of these compounds in other Hypoxidaceae. On the basis of structural evidence and biogenetic considerations, the aglucones of these glycosides can be considered as norlignans, derived from the union of two phenylpropanoid units in positions α, β' or β, γ' and with the loss of the terminal carbon of a chain. Several Hypoxis species are used in traditional medicine as antiinflammatory and antitumor drugs and, recently, preparations based on lipophilic extracts of H. rooperi have been introduced into the market for the treatment of prostatic hypertrophy.
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