A member of the pea family, licorice root has been used since ancient times both as food and as medicine. In Chinese herbology, licorice is an ingredient in nearly all herbal formulas for the traditional purpose of "harmonizing" the separate herbs involved.
The herb licorice contains a substance called glycyrrhizin. When taken in high enough amounts, glycyrrhizin produces effects similar to those of the natural hormone aldosterone, causing fluid retention, increased blood pressure, and loss of potassium. To prevent this, manufacturers have found a way to remove glycyrrhizin from licorice, producing the safer product deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL).
The new 29-norcucurbitacin, desacetylfevicordin A (1), together with three known 29-norcucurbitacin derivatives (2-4) were isolated from seeds of the Indonesian medicinal plant, Phaleria macrocarpa (Scheff.) Boerl. The structures of 1-4 were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic analyses and chemical transformation. These compounds exhibited toxicity against the brine shrimp (Artemia salina).