Bioactive Compounds from Sumatran Medicinal Plants
24 October 2017 (online)
Sumatra is the fourth largest island in the world and known to be very rich with varieties of tropical rainforest plants. Many of these plants have been used traditionally for centuries for many purposes such as medicines, coloring matters, food, spices, insecticides, and aromatics. Until the 1950 s the Sumatran flora was relatively untouched from a scientific point of view. Realizing the danger of losing these Sumatran plants and their related traditional knowledge and culture, our first inventory of Sumatran plants was carried out in my village near Bukittinggi and in Padang. Later inventories followed in more than 50 different ecotypes of Sumatran forests. Based on these inventories more than 130 flowering plants having traditional medicinal values have been investigated for their chemical constituents, and a number of new and known compounds were isolated .
In recent years we have continued with collecting trips in Sumatra, with a focus on traditional uses and antimicrobial activities. Extracts were screened against human pathogenic bacteria, eg. Bacillus subtilis ATCC 6633, Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212, Staphylococcus epidermidis ATCC 12228 and NTCC 1224, Salmonella typhosa NCTC 786, Streptococcus mutans ATCC 25175, Micrococcus luteus ATCC 10240, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923, Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 and NTCC 1224, Salmonella thypimurium ATCC 14028 and NTCC 12023, and methicilline resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Phytochemical investigation of selected plants, such as Piper crocatum Ruiz & Pav afforded new natural products, while the parasitic plant Balanophora elongata Blume, and ferns such as Sphaerostephanos polycarpus (Bl.) Copel, Oleandra pistillaris (SW.) C. Chr, and Trichomanes javanicum L. yielded compounds with strong antibacterial activity. Attempts to conserve these useful Sumatran plants will be mentioned.
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