Egyptian Pharmaceutical Journal

: 2018  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67--69

Flavonoids as chemosystematic markers of Astragalus bombycinus Boiss. and Astragalus peregrinus Vahl growing in Egypt

Sameh R Hussein, Mona M Marzouk, Salwa A Kawashty 
 Department of Phytochemistry and Plant Systematics, National Research Centre, Giza, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Mona M Marzouk
PO Box. 12622, 33 El Bohouth Street, Dokki, Giza


The genus Astragalus is represented by 2500 species, which are widespread in temperate and tropical regions. Astragalus species contain mainly flavonoids (isoflavones) and triterpenes, whereas phenolic acids and polysaccharides are of less distribution. The biological activities such as hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and cardiovascular activities have been reported for numerous species of the genus. On the basis of various botanical characteristics, two Astragalus spp. (Astragalus bombycinus Boiss. and Astragalus peregrinus Vahl), native to Egypt, are very closely related species. Their flavonoid constituents were surveyed to find the interrelationships between them. The flavonoids were reported as six flavones, three flavonols, one C-glycosyl flavonoid, and three isoflavones. The flavonoid profile supports the placement of the two species together in one section (Platyglottis) but as two distinct species.

How to cite this article:
Hussein SR, Marzouk MM, Kawashty SA. Flavonoids as chemosystematic markers of Astragalus bombycinus Boiss. and Astragalus peregrinus Vahl growing in Egypt.Egypt Pharmaceut J 2018;17:67-69

How to cite this URL:
Hussein SR, Marzouk MM, Kawashty SA. Flavonoids as chemosystematic markers of Astragalus bombycinus Boiss. and Astragalus peregrinus Vahl growing in Egypt. Egypt Pharmaceut J [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Apr 7 ];17:67-69
Available from:

Full Text


Astragalus L. is the largest genus in the family Fabaceae (Leguminosae) belonging to subfamily Papilionideae (tribe Galegeae). It comprises 2500 species distributed mainly in the northern temperate regions and tropical African mountains. It is represented by 32 species indigenous to Egypt [1]. Various Astragalus species roots were represented as well-known drugs in traditional medicine for the treatment of nephritis, diabetes, leukemia, uterine cancer, and as diuretic [2],[3]. Some Astragalus species showed interesting pharmacological properties including hepatoprotective, immunestimulant, antiviral activities, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, sedative, and cardiovascular activities [4],[5],[6],[7]. Astragalus bombycinus Boiss. and Astragalus peregrinus Vahl are the only two Astragalus spp. in section Platyglottis [8]. They were arranged in one group based on their similarity in pollen grain characteristics; peregrines type [9], and chromosomal number; 2n=16 [10], which agrees with similarities among them in morphological characteristics. Macromorphological characters such as stem prostrate, branched from the base, stipule acuminate, broadly triangular, leaves imparipinnate, leaflet petiolate, elliptic to obovate and pod pedicellate, curved, hairy with acute apices [1],[11]. Micromorphological pod characters such as tangentially elongated epidermal cells, the occurrence of two types of sclerenchyma and fused ventral bundles [12]. In addition, their similarities in spermoderm characteristics and seed protein electrophoretic profile [13]. So all points suggested that the two species are very closely related species. From this point of view, the aim of the present review is to highlight the typical flavonoid contents of these two Astragalus species to evaluate the interrelationships between them.

Flavonoids and chemosystematics

A previous phytochemical investigation revealed the isolation of six flavonoids from A. peregrinus [14] and 10 flavonoids from A. bombycinus [3],[15] ([Table 1], [Figure 1]). From the flavonoid profile of both species, 13 flavonoids were isolated and identified. They represented three classes of flavonoids and occurred as six flavones, three flavonols, one C-glycosyl flavone, and three isoflavones. The flavones presented as apigenin and luteolin and their 7-O-glycosides, whereas the flavonols are represented as the 3,7-di-O-β-glycosides of quercetin. Only single C-glycosyl flavone (5, 2′,4′-trihydroxyflavone-8-C-α-arabinopyranosyl-7-O-β-glucopyranoside) was reported for A. bombycinus. The isoflavones are reported as daidzein in the two species and genistein and 7-hydroxy-3′,5′-dimethoxy isoflavones in A. peregrinus only.{Table 1}{Figure 1}

The two species are shared in flavone and isoflavone nuclei ([Table 1]), which confirmed their classification together in one section (Platyglottis) [8] and agrees with the other studies which grouped the two species together according to their pollen grain characteristics [9], chromosomal numbers [10],[16],[17], morphological characteristics [1],[18], a combination of morphological and anatomical characteristics [11], seed protein electrophoretic criteria [13] as well as fruit morphology [14]. A. bombycinus differs by its capability to synthesize flavonol glycosides and C-glycosyl flavones. The presence of such compounds in A. bombycinus without A. peregrinus supported their classification as two distinct species, where A. bombycinus contains flavones, flavonols, C-glycosyl flavones, and isoflavones, whereas A. peregrinus contains flavones and isoflavones only.


The flavonoid profile of A. bombycinus and A. peregrinus shows a difference exists between both species, supporting their classification as two distinct species, which is in disparity with the previous data extracted from the macromorphological and micromorphological as well as protein and chromosomal characteristics which concluded that they are very closely related to each other.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Boulos L. Flora of Egypt. Cairo, Egypt: Al-Hadara Publishing; 1999. 320.
2Isaev MI, Gorovits MB, Abubakirov NK. Progress in the chemistry of the cycloartanes. Chem Nat Comp 1989; 25:131–147.
3Li X, Lu Q, Yongzhe D, Lifeng H, Erwei L, Shiming F et al. A review of recent research progress on the Astragalus genus. Molecules 2014; 19:18850–18880.
4Tang W. Chinese drugs of plant origin. Berlin: Springer; 1992. 191.
5Rios LJ, Waterman PG. A review of the pharmacology and toxicology of Astragalus. Phytother Res 1997; 11:411–418.
6Verotta L, Guerrini M, El-Sebakhy NA, Asaad AM, Toaima SM, Abou-Sheer ME et al. Cycloartane saponins from Astragalus peregrinus as modulators of lymphocyte proliferation. Fitoterapia 2001; 72:894.
7Fu J, Wang Z, Huang L, Zheng S, Wang D, Chen S et al. Review of the botanical characteristics, phytochemistry, and pharmacology of Astragalus membranaceus (Huangqi). Phytother Res 2014; 28:1275–1283.
8Podlech D. Contributions to the knowledge of the genus Astragalus L. (Leguminosae). Sendtnera 2001; 7:163–201.
9Saad SI, Taia WK. Palynological studies of some species in the genus Astragalus L. (Leguminosae) in Egypt. Agric Biol Sci 1988; B6:227–243.
10Badr A, Hamoud M, El-Rabey H. Chromosomal studies in the Egyptian flora V. Chromosomal relationships in the genus Astragalus L. (Fabaceae) and their taxonomic inferences. Cytologia 1996; 61:105–111.
11Sharawy SM. Taxonomic studies on interspecific and infraspecific relationships in the genus Astragalus in Egypt [PhD thesis]. Cairo, Egypt: Ain Shams University; 2001.
12Mourad MM, Sharawy SM. The interspecific relationships of Astragalus species in Egypt assessed by the morphoanatomical characters of the pod. Feddes Repertorium 2010; 121:38–58.
13Al-Nowaihi AS, Khalifa SF, Badar A, Sharawy SM. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference of Science. Egypt: Faculty of Science, Tanta University; 2002. pp. 174–188.
14Abd El-Latif RR, Shabana MH, El-Gandour AH, Mansour RM, Sharaf M. A new isoflavone from Astragalus peregrinus. Chem Nat Comp 2003; 39:536–537.
15Ibrahim LF, Marzouk MM, Hussein SR, Kawashty SA, Mahmoud K, Saleh NAM. Flavonoid constituents and biological screening of Astragalus bombycinus Boiss. Nat Prod Res 2013; 27:386–393.
16Badr A, Sharawy SM. Karyotype analysis and systematic relationships in the Egyptian Astragalus L. (Fabaceae). Inter J Bot 2007; 3:147–159.
17Ledingham GF, Rever BM. Chromosome number of some South West Asian species of Astragalus and Oxytropis. Can J Genet Cytol 1963; 5:18–32.
18Täckholm V. Students’ flora of Egypt. 2nd ed. Cairo: Publications of Cairo University Herbarium; 1974. 261–268.