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Scorzonera L.
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Scorzonera L. is a genus in the Cichorieae tribe of the Asteraceae family.  It is spread mostly in central and southern parts of Europe, Eurasia, and Africa in arid areas. The genus comprises approximately 180–190 species.

  • Scorzonera
  • biological activity
  • herbal medicine
  • phytochemical composition
Subjects: Plant Sciences
Contributor :
View Times: 76
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Time: 30 Jun 2021

1. Introduction

Scorzonera L. is a genus in the Cichorieae tribe of the Asteraceae family. It is spread mostly in central and southern parts of Europe, Eurasia, and Africa in arid areas [1][2]. Numerous species are endemic to Anatolia (Turkey) [1][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11], Mongolia [12][13][14][15], and China [16][17][18] The genus comprises approximately 180–190 species [19], including S. hispanica, whose roots are a valued vegetable, with the taste similar to asparagus [20], and S. tau-saghyz (a species of interest in terms of obtaining natural rubber) [21]. Several Scorzonera species are a source of feed for farming animals in arid regions [15]. Typically, plants within the Scorzonera genus are perennial herbs characterized by the presence of a caudex or tuber. Biennial plants or dwarf subshrubs are rare [19]. Plants within the genus Scorzonera are reported to contain flavonoids [12][13][22][23][24], phenolic acid derivatives [8][13][25][26], triterpenoids [18][23][27][28][29][30][31], sesquiterpenoids [14][17][20][32][33][34], dihydroisocoumarins [7][35][36][37], and other bioactive compounds. Scorzonera species have been commonly used as medicinal plants in European and Asian herbal therapy for ages. In Turkey, they are known as hemostatic agents, as well as, when used externally, as plasters in the process of wound healing [38]. The plants are also present in folk medicine as a remedy for hypertension, atherosclerosis, or kidney dysfunction [39].

2. Scorzonera in Traditional Medicine

Genera within the family Asteraceae have been present in folk medicine across Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. That includes species within the Scorzonera genus, which are a significant part of Turkish traditional medicine in the therapy of arteriosclerosis, kidney disorders, wounds, rheumatism, but also as antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and antinociceptive medications [5]. The leaves of S. latifolia (Fisch and Mey.) DC., applied topically, act as plaster and prevent nausea. Turkish folk medicine uses latex obtained from S. latifolia to treat infertility and as an anthelmintic and pain-relieving medication [3][6][38][40]. Roots of S. tomentosa L. are believed to have hemostatic properties when ingested [38]. Aerial parts of S. laciniata L. are known as antipyretic, antipyogenic, antiatherosclerotic, antidiabetic, antirheumatic, and blood pressure-lowering agents in folk therapy [39]. Turkish folk medicine uses S. phaeopappa Boiss., S. sosnowskyii Lipsch., and S. mirabilis Lipsch. for headaches. S. mollis Biela is used as a diuretic and against kidney stones [41]. In Algerian traditional medicine, S. undulata ssp. deliciosa is a part of the treatment of snake bites [42]. Mongolian folk remedies for various ailments include Scorzonera species as well. There are reports for the use of S. pseudodivaricata Lipsch. as antipyretic in viral and bacterial infections, anti-diarrheal and diuretic agents, as well as for the treatment of lung edema and diseases caused by parasite infections. Aerial and subaerial parts of S. divaricata Turcz. are used to treat ulcers and stomach tumors. [14]. Leaves and shoots of S. divaricata are also present in the folk medicine of India in the therapy of jaundice [43]. Traditional Chinese medicine uses S. mongolica Maxim. root to reduce fever and treat carbuncle mastitis, as well as an antineoplastic agent [31]. Roots of Scorzonera hispanica L., currently cultivated and eaten as a vegetable, were formerly used in European folk medicine as a mucolytic agent in pulmonary diseases, appetite stimulator, and to defeat a cold. [14][32]. Tibetan folk medicine has used S. austriaca Willd. for the treatment of carbuncle, inflammation, and fever [17][28]. Scorzonera radiata Fisch. is a Mongolian traditional remedy for bacterial and viral infection-induced fever, poisonous ulcers, and as a lactation-inducing and diuretic agent [15]. In Libya, Scorzonera resedifolia L. is known as a folk medication for liver pain [44].

3. Phytochemical Composition of Scorzonera Species

Species within the Scorzonera genus are a source of flavonoid aglycones and glycosides, phenolic acids and their derivatives, lignans, triterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, dihydroisocoumarins, bibenzyl derivatives, as well other compounds [4][10][14][27][35][36][45][46][47][48].

Biological Activity

The biological activity of species within the Scorzonera genus is the subject of research due to their presence in folk medicine in Eurasia and northern Africa. Species that belong to the Scorzonera genus are reported to be the source of numerous bioactive compounds. Researchers evaluate their potential as antioxidant [49][50][51][52], anti-inflammatory [27][53][54], and pain-relieving agents [6][55], as well as their cytotoxicity against cancer cell lines [20][28][50] and wound healing properties [4][5].


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  4. Küpeli-Akkol, E.; Šmejkal, K.; Kurtul, E.; Ilhan, M.; Güragac, F.T.; Çitoğlu, G.S.; Acıkara, Ö.B.; Cvačka, J.; Buděšínský, M. Inhibitory activity of Scorzonera latifolia and its components on enzymes connected with healing process. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2019, 245.
  5. Küpeli-Akkol, E.; Acikara, O.B.; Süntar, I.; Citolu, G.S.; Kele, H.; Ergene, B. Enhancement of wound healing by topical application of Scorzonera species: Determination of the constituents by HPLC with new validated reverse phase method. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2011, 137, 1018–1027.
  6. Bahadır, Ö.; Citoğlu, G.S.; Smejkal, K.; Dall’Acqua, S.; Ozbek, H.; Cvacka, J.; Zemlicka, M. Analgesic compounds from Scorzonera latifolia (Fisch. and Mey.) DC. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2010, 131, 83–87.
  7. Erik, İ.; Yaylı, N.; Coşkunçelebi, K.; Makbul, S.; Karaoğlu, Ş.A. Three new dihydroisocoumarin glycosides with antimicrobial activities from Scorzonera aucheriana. Phytochem. Lett. 2021, 43, 45–52.
  8. Sarı, A.; Şahin, H.; Özsoy, N.; Özbek Çelik, B. Phenolic compounds and in vitro antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial activities of Scorzonera hieraciifolia Hayek roots. S. Afr. J. Bot. 2019, 125, 116–119.
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  12. Tsevegsuren, N.; Proksch, P.; Wang, Y.; Davaakhuu, G. Bioactive phenolic acids from Scorzonera radiata Fisch. Mong. J. Chem. 2014, 12, 78–84.
  13. Wang, Y.; Wray, V.; Tsevegsuren, N.; Lin, W.; Proksch, P. Phenolic compounds from the Mongolian medicinal plant Scorzonera radiata. Z. Naturforsch. Sect. C J. Biosci. 2012, 67, 135–143.
  14. Tsevegsuren, N.; Edrada, R.A.; Lin, W.; Ebel, R.; Torre, C.; Ortlepp, S.; Wray, V.; Proksch, P. Biologically active natural products from Mongolian medicinal plants Scorzonera divaricata and Scorzonera pseudodivaricata. J. Nat. Prod. 2007, 70, 962–967.
  15. Wang, Y.; Edrada-Ebel, R.; Tsevegsuren, N.; Sendker, J.; Braun, M.; Wray, V.; Lin, W.; Proksch, P. Dihydrostilbene derivatives from the mongolian medicinal plant Scorzonera radiata. J. Nat. Prod. 2009, 72, 671–675.
  16. Li, J.; Wu, Q.X.; Shi, Y.P.; Zhu, Y. A new sesquiterpene lactone from Scorzonera austriaca. Chin. Chem. Lett. 2004, 15, 1309–1310.
  17. Zhu, Y.; Wu, Q.X.; Hu, P.Z.; Wu, W.S. Biguaiascorzolides A and B: Two novel dimeric guaianolides with a rare skeleton, from Scorzonera austriaca. Food Chem. 2009, 114, 1316–1320.
  18. Wang, B.; Li, G.Q.; Qiu, P.J.; Guan, H.S. Two new olean-type triterpene fatty esters from Scorzonera mongolica. Chin. Chem. Lett. 2007, 18, 708–710.
  19. Zaika, M.A.; Kilian, N.; Jones, K.; Krinitsina, A.A.; Nilova, M.V.; Speranskaya, A.S.; Sukhorukov, A.P. Scorzonera sensu lato (Asteraceae, Cichorieae)—Taxonomic reassessment in the light of new molecular phylogenetic and carpological analyses. PhytoKeys 2020, 137, 1–85.
  20. Granica, S.; Lohwasser, U.; Jöhrer, K.; Zidorn, C. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of secondary metabolites in aerial and subaerial of Scorzonera hispanica L. (black salsify). Food Chem. 2015, 173, 321–331.
  21. Buranov, A.U.; Elmuradov, B.J. Extraction and characterization of latex and natural rubber from rubber-bearing plants. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2010, 58, 734–743.
  22. Erden, Y.; Kırbağ, S.; Yılmaz, Ö. Phytochemical composition and antioxidant activity of some Scorzonera species. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. India Sect. B Biol. Sci. 2013, 83, 271–276.
  23. Benabdelaziz, I.; Haba, H.; Lavaud, C.; Benkhaled, M. Triterpenoids and flavonoid from Scorzonera undulata ssp. alexandrina. Int. J. Chem. Biochem. Sci. 2014, 5, 1–5.
  24. Xie, Y.; Guo, Q.S.; Wang, G.S. Flavonoid glycosides and their derivatives from the herbs of Scorzonera austriaca Willd. Molecules 2016, 21, 803.
  25. Bader, A.; de Tommasi, N.; Cotugno, R.; Braca, A. Phenolic compounds from the roots of jordanian viper’s grass, Scorzonera judaica. J. Nat. Prod. 2011, 74, 1421–1426.
  26. Granica, S.; Zidorn, C. Phenolic compounds from aerial parts as chemosystematic markers in the Scorzonerinae (Asteraceae). Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 2015, 58, 102–113.
  27. Bahadır-Acıkara, Ö.; Özbilgin, S.; Saltan-İşcan, G.; Dall’Acqua, S.; Rjašková, V.; Özgökçe, F.; Suchý, V.; Šmejkal, K. Phytochemical analysis of Podospermum and Scorzonera n-hexane extracts and the HPLC quantitation of triterpenes. Molecules 2018, 23, 1813.
  28. Wu, Q.X.; Su, Y.B.; Zhu, Y. Triterpenes and steroids from the roots of Scorzonera austriaca. Fitoterapia 2011, 82, 493–496.
  29. Erik, İ.; Coşkunçelebi, K.; Makbul, S.; Yayli, N. New chlorogenic acid derivatives and triterpenoids from Scorzonera aucheriana. Turk. J. Chem. 2021, 45, 199–209.
  30. Çetin, B.; Şahin, H.; Sarı, A. Triterpenoids from Scorzonera veratrifolia Fenzl. Istanbul J. Pharm. 2019, 48, 23–27.
  31. Wang, B.; Li, G.-Q.; Guan, H.; Yang, L.; Tong, G. A new erythrodiol triterpene fatty ester from Scorzonera mongolica. Yao Xue Xue Bao 2009, 44, 1258–1261.
  32. Zidorn, C.; Ellmerer-Müller, E.P.; Stuppner, H. Sesquiterpenoids from Scorzonera hispanica L. Pharmazie 2000, 55, 550–551.
  33. Zhu, Y.; Hu, P.Z.; He, Z.W.; Wu, Q.X.; Li, J.; Wu, W.S. Sesquiterpene lactones from Scorzonera austriaca. J. Nat. Prod. 2010, 73, 237–241.
  34. Wu, Q.X.; He, X.F.; Jiang, C.X.; Zhang, W.; Shi, Z.N.; Li, H.F.; Zhu, Y. Two novel bioactive sulfated guaiane sesquiterpenoid salt alkaloids from the aerial parts of Scorzonera divaricata. Fitoterapia 2017, 124, 113–119.
  35. Şahin, H.; Sarı, A.; Özsoy, N.; Özbek Çelik, B.; Koyuncu, O. Two new phenolic compounds and some biological activities of Scorzonera pygmaea Sibth. and Sm. subaerial parts. Nat. Prod. Res. 2020, 34, 621–628.
  36. Sarı, A.; Zidorn, C.; Ellmerer, E.P.; Özgökçe, F.; Ongania, K.H.; Stuppner, H. Phenolic compounds from Scorzonera tomentosa L. Helv. Chim. Acta 2007, 90, 311–317.
  37. Paraschos, S.; Magiatis, P.; Kalpoutzakis, E.; Harvala, C.; Skaltsounis, A.L. Three new dihydroisocoumarins from the Greek endemic species Scorzonera cretica. J. Nat. Prod. 2001, 64, 1585–1587.
  38. Karakaya, S.; Polat, A.; Aksakal, Ö.; Sümbüllü, Y.Z.; İncekara, Ü. Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in aziziye district (Erzurum, Turkey). Turk. J. Pharm. Sci. 2020, 17, 211–220.
  39. Yaldiz, G.; Koca Çalişkan, U.; Aka, C. In vitro screening of natural drug potentials for mass production. Not. Bot. Horti Agrobot. Cluj-Napoca 2017, 45, 292–300.
  40. Bahadır-Acıkara, Ö.; Saltan-Çitoǧlu, G.; Dall’Acqua, S.; Šmejkal, K.; Cvačka, J.; Žemlička, M. A new triterpene from Scorzonera latifolia (Fisch. and Mey.) DC. Nat. Prod. Res. 2012, 26, 1892–1897.
  41. Yildirim, B.; Terzioglu, Ö.; Özgökçe, F.; Türközü, D. Ethnobotanical and pharmacological uses of some plants in the districts of Karpuzalan and Adigüzel (Van-Turkey). J. Anim. Vet. Adv. 2008, 7, 873–878.
  42. Harkati, B.; Salah, A.; Bayet, C.; Laouer, H.; Dijoux-Franca, M.-G. Evaluation of antioxidant activity, free radical scavenging and CUPRAC of two compounds isolated from Scorzonera undulata ssp. deliciosa. Adv. Environ. Biol. 2013, 7, 591–594.
  43. Sharma, J.; Gairola, S.; Gaur, R.D.; Painuli, R.M. The treatment of jaundice with medicinal plants in indigenous communities of the Sub-Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, India. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2012, 143, 262–291.
  44. Auzi, A.R.A.; Hawisa, N.T.; Sherif, F.M.; Sarker, S.D. Neuropharmacological properties of Launaea resedifolia. Rev. Bras. Farmacogn. 2007, 17, 160–165.
  45. Nasseri, M.A.; Bigy, S.S.; Allahresani, A.; Malekaneh, M. Assessment of antioxidant activity, chemical characterization and evaluation of fatty acid compositions of Scorzonera paradoxa Fisch and C. A. Mey. Jundishapur J. Nat. Pharm. Prod. 2015, 10.
  46. Zidorn, C.; Spitaler, R.; Ellmerer-Müller, E.P.; Perry, N.B.; Gerhäuser, C.; Stuppner, H. Structure of tyrolobibenzyl D and biological activity of tyrolobibenzyls from Scorzonera humilis. Z. Naturforsch. Sect. C J. Biosci. 2002, 57, 614–619.
  47. Zidorn, C.; Ellmerer-Müller, E.P.; Stuppner, H. Tyrolobibenzyls—Novel secondary metabolites from Scorzonera humilis. Helv. Chim. Acta 2000, 83, 2920–2925.
  48. Zidorn, C.; Ellmerer, E.P.; Sturm, S.; Stuppner, H. Tyrolobibenzyls E and F from Scorzonera humilis and distribution of caffeic acid derivatives, lignans and tyrolobibenzyls in European taxa of the subtribe Scorzonerinae (Lactuceae, Asteraceae). Phytochemistry 2003, 63, 61–67.
  49. Yang, Y.-J.; Liu, X.; Wu, H.-R.; He, X.-F.; Bi, Y.-R.; Zhu, Y.; Liu, Z.-L. Radical scavenging activity and cytotoxicity of active quinic acid derivatives from Scorzonera divaricata roots. Food Chem. 2013, 138, 2057–2063.
  50. Yang, Y.-J.; Yao, J.; Jin, X.-J.; Shi, Z.-N.; Shen, T.-F.; Fang, J.-G.; Yao, X.-J.; Zhu, Y. Sesquiterpenoids and tirucallane triterpenoids from the roots of Scorzonera divaricata. Phytochemistry 2016, 124, 86–98.
  51. Milella, L.; Bader, A.; de Tommasi, N.; Russo, D.; Braca, A. Antioxidant and free radical-scavenging activity of constituents from two Scorzonera species. Food Chem. 2014, 160, 298–304.
  52. Erden, Y.; Kırbağ, S. Chemical and biological activities of some Scorzonera species: An in vitro study. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. India Sect. B Biol. Sci. 2015, 85, 319–326.
  53. Bahadır-Acıkara, Ö.; Küpeli-Akkol, E.; Süntar, I.; Ergene, B.; Saltan-Çitoğlu, G.; Çoban, T. Assessment of anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenger activities of selected Scorzonera species and determination of active components. Int. J. Pharmacogn. Phytochem. Res. 2014, 6, 492–498.
  54. Donia, A.E.R.M. Phytochemical and pharmacological studies on Scorzonera alexandrina Boiss. J. Saudi Chem. Soc. 2016, 20, S433–S439.
  55. Bahadır, Ö.; Saltan, H.G.; Özbek, H. Antinociceptive activity of some Scorzonera L. species. Turk. J. Med. Sci. 2012, 42, 861–866.
Subjects: Plant Sciences
Contributor :
View Times: 76
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Time: 30 Jun 2021
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    Lendzion, K. Scorzonera L.. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 02 July 2022).
    Lendzion K. Scorzonera L.. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed July 02, 2022.
    Lendzion, Karolina. "Scorzonera L.," Encyclopedia, (accessed July 02, 2022).
    Lendzion, K. (2021, June 29). Scorzonera L.. In Encyclopedia.
    Lendzion, Karolina. ''Scorzonera L..'' Encyclopedia. Web. 29 June, 2021.