Tetracyclic Triterpenoid Saponins (or Steroidal Saponins)

2.8.1 Tetracyclic Triterpenoid Saponins (or Steroidal Saponins)

Due to the enormous pharmaceutical importance a plethora of plants have been screened thoroughly for the detection of steroidal saponins. They are not only confined to monocot plants but also extended to dicot plants, such as:
Monocot Plants : Family—Amaryllidaceae, Dioscoreaceae and Liliaceae
Dicot Plant : Family—Apocynaceae, Leguminosae and Solanceae
However, from a commercial angle the steroidal saponins occupy a very important position in the therapeutic armamentarium which is evidenced by the following glaring examples, such as: used as raw material for the synthesis of a number of medicinally potent steroids e.g., vitamin D, sex hormones—like testosterone, progesterone, oestradiol etc., cardiac glycosides e.g., digoxin, digitoxin; corticosteroids e.g., cortisone acetate, cortceosterone, aldosterone; oral contraceptives e.g., mestranol, norethisterone; and diuretic steroid e.g., spironolactone. A few typical examples of naturally occurring medicinal plants containing tetracyclic triterpenoid saponins shall be described in the sections that follow, namely: dioscorea, solanum khasianum and shatvari.

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