Food, medicine or a poisonous plant: Arum maculatum L.

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Journal of Research in Pharmacy, vol.27, no.2, pp.493-507, 2023 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.29228/jrp.332
  • Journal Name: Journal of Research in Pharmacy
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.493-507
  • Keywords: Arum maculatum, bioactivity, cuckoo pint, phytochemistry, traditional medicine
  • Ankara University Affiliated: Yes


Arum maculatum L., which is known with various names such as cuckoo pint and sneakshead, is a perennial, deciduous woodland plant distributed in Europe, East Ukraine and Anatolia. The phytochemical studies revealed that the plant contains different groups of bioactive components, such as alkaloid, saponin, cyanogenic glycosides, terpenic compounds, proanthocyanidins, carotenoids, volatile amines, lectin, mucilage, gum and starch. Various traditional uses are recorded such as antihypertensive, antirheumatic, antihemorrhoidal, analgesic, antidiabetic as well as its use against burns and wounds, Fasciola hepatica, sore throat and cold. It is also consumed as vegetable in different cultures. In the Southeastern region of Turkey, a traditional soup called “tirşik soup” is prepared from the leaves of A. maculatum and used for the treatment of hemorrhoids, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders and cancer. It is very crucial to apply a specific process for the preparation of the dish or medicinal remedy, since all parts of the fresh plant are known to be toxic. The toxic effect majorly rises from the oxalate crystals found in the content of the plant, along with some other components, such as cyanogenic glycosides, volatile amins, alkaloids etc. Although the bioactivity studies showed antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiinflammatory, analgesic, antiangiogenic and insecticidal activities as well as its protective activity against hemorrhoids; further research is needed on the bioactivity, cytotoxicity and phytochemistry of the plant in order to clarify the mechanisms of action and provide the safe use of the drug.