Ethnobotany, Chemistry, and Pharmacology of African Nepeta Species

Erik Nunes Gomes, Kirsten A. Allen, Martin Zorde, Qingli Wu, James E. Simon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Species of the genus Nepeta are known to produce copious amounts of a special class of iridoid monoterpenes named nepetalactones. The most notorious species of the genus, Nepeta cataria L. (catnip), produces remarkable amounts of those volatiles and is widely recognized by the behavioral effects it induces in felines and the repellent activities exerted against several arthropod species. However, lesser known Nepeta species native to the African continent, in addition to producing volatile oils rich in nepetalactones, can also biosynthesize other classes of secondary metabolites and have shown a variety of biological activities in experimental trials. This chapter reviews the scientific literature regarding African Nepeta species, focusing on traditional uses, chemical composition, and evidence of biological activities of different extracts or isolated molecules extracted from these plants. This review discusses scientific evidence that supports or does not support the traditional uses of African Nepeta species and suggests future directions for research on chemical characterization, pharmacological trials, and potential new uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationACS Symposium Series
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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