The tree popularly known in Brazil as mulateiro or pau-mulato (Calycophyllum spruceanum (Benth.) K. Schum.) is deeply embedded in the herbal medicine of the Amazon region. Different preparations of the bark are claimed to have anti-aging, antioxidant, antimicrobial, emollient, wound healing, hemostatic, contraceptive, stimulant, and anti-diabetic properties. The current study aims to provide the first step towards a science-based evidence of the beneficial effects of C. spruceanum in the promotion of longevity and in the modulation of age-related markers. For this investigation, we used the model system Caenorhabditis elegans to evaluate in vivo antioxidant and anti-aging activity of a water extract from C. spruceanum. To chemically characterize the extract, HPLC MS (High Performance Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry)/MS analyses were performed. Five secondary metabolites were identified in the extract, namely gardenoside, 5-hydroxymorin, cyanidin, taxifolin, and 5-hydroxy-6-methoxycoumarin-7-glucoside. C. spruceanum extract was able to enhance stress resistance and to extend lifespan along with attenuation of aging-associated markers in C. elegans. The demonstrated bioactivities apparently depend on the DAF-16/FOXO pathway. The data might support the popular claims of mulateiro as the "tree of youth", however more studies are needed to clarify its putative benefits to human health.
Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans; Calycophyllum spruceanum; aging; antioxidants; oxidative stress.