Zanthoxylum Genus as Potential Source of Bioactive Compounds
Natural products have been used for thousands of years for the benefit of mankind, as important sources of food, clothing, cosmetics, building materials, tools, medicines and crop protection agents. They have made enormous contributions to human health through compounds such as quinine, morphine, aspirin (a natural product analog), digitoxin and many others. Researches in this field are becoming more numerous, to the point of getting about half of pharmaceuticals and pesticides from natural sources (Newman & Cragg, 2007). The main reasons because natural products are so important to undertake research are that they can be a source of new compounds because they produce many bioactive secondary metabolites that are used as a chemical defense against predators. Also, in the past, they have provided many new drugs, some of which can’t be obtained by other sources and because they can provide the necessary templates to design new products in the future (Colegate and Molyneux, 2008; Kaufman et al., 2006; Cragg et al., 2005).