Pentas longiflora Oliv. (Rubiaceae), a plant used in the treatment of Pityriasis Versicolor in Rwanda: Chemical composition and standardization of leaves and roots

Fitoterapia. 2021 Sep:153:104974. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2021.104974. Epub 2021 Jun 22.


In Rwanda, the roots of Pentas longiflora Oliv. (Rubiaceae) have been used for a long time to treat Pityriasis versicolor. However, many people reported the use of leaves instead of roots. This research was conducted to compare the phytochemical composition and establish chromatographic methods for the standardization of roots and leaves extracts of P. longiflora. During this process, three new pentalongin glycosides (pentalonginoside A, pentalonginoside B, and pentalonginoside C) and two known glycosides of the same type (harounoside and clarinoside), as well as rutin, luteolin-7-rutinoside were isolated from methanol extract of leaves. In addition, pentalongin and psychorubrin, previously isolated from ethylacetate roots extract, were also identified in Pentas longiflora ethylacetate leaves extract. The presence of the antifungal compound pentalongin in leaves may explain the traditional use of leaves in the treatment of Pytiriasis versicolor. Furthermore, harounoside, psychorubrin, and pentalongin were selected as markers for HPLC fingerprints of MeOH extract. The accuracy and risk profile demonstrated the reliability of the validated method. In general, considerable variations of concentration in plant metabolites, including pentalongin, were observed between samples from different sites. The content in pentalongin (expressed as juglone) in collected samples ranged between 1.7 and 70.0 mg/100 g. The highest concentration (70.0 ± 17 mg/100 g) was registered in the cultivated samples from Mukoni. This important variation of pentalongin concentrations according to sampling sites, shows that in order to guarantee equivalent efficacy, finished products with P. longiflora should be standardized based on their pentalongin content.

Keywords: Accuracy profile; Fingerprints; Isolation; Naphtoquinones; Pentas longifolia; Pityriasis versicolor; Validation.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phytochemicals / isolation & purification
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / standards
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Rubiaceae / chemistry*
  • Rwanda
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Tinea Versicolor / drug therapy*


  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts