JEOR: Essential Oil Composition of the Leaves and Spikes of Piper carpunya Ruiz et Pavon (Piperaceae) from Peru

Essential Oil Composition of the Leaves and Spikes of Piper carpunya Ruiz et Pavon (Piperaceae) from Peru

Vargas, Liliana


A steam distilled oil obtained from the leaves and spikes of Piper capunya Ruiz et Pavon (syn. Piper lenticellosum C. DC.) grown in the Peruvian Amazon basin was analyzed by capillary GC and GC/MS. In the leaf oil, 38 components amounting to 93.7% of the oil were characterized; in the oil from the spikes, 36 constituents adding up to 98.4% were identified. The oil from the leaves was shown to contain [alpha]-terpinene (12.1%), p-cymene (10.9%), 1,8-cineole (13.0%), safrole (14.9%) and spatulenol (9.8%) as major constituents, whereas the spike oil was shown to have [alpha]-terpinene (9.8%), p-cymene (7.7%), 1,8-cineole (30.2%) and safrole (32.0%).

Key Word Index

Piper carpunya, Piper lenticellosum, Piperaceae, essential oil composition, [alpha]-terpinene, p-cymene, 1,8-cineole, safrole.


Piper carpunya Ruiz et Pavon belongs to the Piperaceae family and inhabits the Amazon Basin (1). Diaz and Dorado (2) and Diaz et al. (3) have found in the leaves of P. carpunya from Colombia only arylpropanoids(elemicin, isosafrole, O-methyleugenol, sarisan, 3,5-dimethoxytoluene, 2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxybenzaldehyde and trans-2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxycinnamaldehyde) as constituents of the oil. Calle and Ferreira (4) found thymol as a component of an oil of P. carpunya from Colombia. The leaves of this plant kown in Peru as ‘carpundia’ and in Colombia as ‘cordoncillo aromotico u oloroso’ have been used in traditional medicine. Its main applications are in the treatment of digestive complaints including stomach and carminative, to reduce swellings and skin inutations, and as an antimicrobial. Recently those uses have been confirmed (5-6). As a part of our research on aromatic plants from South America (7). in this work we report on the chemical composition of the oil obtained from the leaves of P. carymmja, an endemic of the northern regions of South America.


Plant material: Leaves and spikes of P. carpunya were gathered in Cajamarca Department, Peru. Jose Campos, a biologist, identified the plant material. A voucher specimen (no. USM-123153) was deposited at the Herbarium of Museo de Historia Natural of San Marcos University, Lima, Peru.

Isolation of volatile constituents: The air-dried material was hydrodistilled in an all glass apparatus according to the method recommended in the Spanish Pharmacopoeia (1997). The oil was dried over anhydrous sodium sulfate and stored at 4°C in the dark. The yield from the leaves and spikes was 1.5% based on dried weight of sample.

Analyses: Analytical GC was carried out on a Varian 3300 gas Chromatograph fitted with a Silicone MFE1 capillary column (50 m x 0.25 mm), film thickness 0.25 µm, carrier gas N,, flow rate 1.5 mL/min, split mode, temperature programmed from 95°-240°G at 4°C/min. Injector temperature was 250°C, detector used was FID, detector temperature 300°G. Injection volume for all samples was 0.1 µL.

GC/MS analyses were carried out on a Hewlett Packard 5890 gas Chromatograph fitted with a phase bonded poly (5% diphenyl 95% dimethylsiloxane) silicone PTE-5 capillary column (30 in x 0.25 mm), film thickness 0.25 µm. Carrier gas was He, flow rate 1.5 mL/min. Temperature program regimen was 70°C (2 min) and then programmed to 250°C at 2°C/min. Injectortemperature 250°C. The Chromatograph was coupled to an HP 5971 A mass selective detector (70 eV). Many constituents were identified by comparing their retention indices with those of authentic standards available in the authors laboratory. The latter were either purchased, synthesized or identified in oils of other aromatic plants of known terpenoid components. The fragmentation patterns of mass spectra were compared with those stored in the spectrometer database using the NBS54K.L and Wiley.L built-in libraries and with those reported in the literature (8-10).

Results and Discussion

The components of the oil and the percentage of each constituent are summarized in Table I. The components are arranged in their elution order on the silicone columns. The oil from the leaves was characterized by the presence of a high content of [alpha]-terpinene (12.1%), p-cymene (10.9%), 1,8-cineole (13.0%), safrole ( 14.9%) and spathulenol (9.8%), whereas the spikes contained [alpha]-terpinene (9.8%), p-cymene (7.7%), 1,8-cineole (30.2%) and safrole (32.0%). Other important constituents found in the leaves were [alpha]-pinene (3.2%), [beta]-pinene (2.6%), cis-sabinene hydrate acetate (2.7%), germacrene D (3.4%), bicyclogermacrene (6.7%) and [delta]-cadinene (2.3%). In the oil from the spikes, the minor important compounds were [alpha]-pincne (6.2%) and [beta]-pinene (4.5%). It is worth mentioning the high content of 1,8-cineole and safrole in the oil of the spikes. In our oil, we did not find sarisan, isosafrole, thymol, O-methyleugenol, 3,5-dimethoxytoluene, 2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxybenzaldehyde and trans-2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxycinnamaldehyde cited in references (2-4).


1. M.C. Tebbs, Revision of Piper (Pipericeae) in The New World 2. The taxonomy of Piper section Churumayu, Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. (Bot.), 20, 193-236.

2. P.P. Diaz and J. Dorado, Constituyentes qumicos de las hojas de Piper lenticellosum C. DC., Rev. Latinoamer. Quim., 17, 58-60 (1986).

3. P.P. Diaz, B.C. Ramos and G.E. Malta, New C^sub 6^-C^sub 3^ and C^sub 6^-C^sub 1^ compounds from Piper lenticellosum, J. Nat. Prod., 49, 690-691 (1986).

4. J. Calle and S. Ferreira, Estudio Fitoquimico del Aceite esencial de Piper lenticellosum, Rev. Colomb. Cienc. Quim. Farm., 2, 81-125 (1973).

5. L. Vargas, Investigacion de espicies vegetales Peruanas con actividad antifungica. Ph. D. Thesis, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Barcelona (1998).

6. B. de las Heras, K. Slowing, J. Benedi, E. Carretero, T. Ortega, C. Toledo, P. Bermejo, M.J. Abad, P. Gomez-Serranillos, P.A. Liso, A. Villarand X. Chiriboga, Antiinflamatory and antioxidant activity of plants used in traditional medicine in Ecuador, J. Ethnopharm., 61, 161-166 (1998).

7. A. Velasco-Neguereula, M.J. Perez-Alonso, C.A. Guzman, J.A. Zygadlo, L.A. Espinar, J. Sanz and M.C. Garcia Vallejo, Volatile constituents of four Lippia species from Cordoba, Argentina. J. Essent. Oil Res., 5, 513-524 (1993).

8. R.P. Adams, Identification of Essential Oil Components by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy. Allured Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL (1995).

9. D. Joulain and W. A. Konig, The Atlas of Spectral Data of Sesquiterpene Hydrocarbons, E.B.-Verlag, Hamburg, Germany (1998).

10. N.W. Davies, Gas chromatographic retention indices of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes on methyl silicone and Carbowax phases. J. Chromatogr., 503, 1-24 (1990).

Liliana Vargas, Arturo Velasco-Negueruela,* Maria Jose Perez-Alonso and Jesus Pala-Paul

Departamento de Biologia Vegetal I (Botanica), Facultad de Biologin, Universidad Complutense, 2840-Madrid, Spain

Maria Concepcion Garcia Vallejo

Area de Industrias Forestales del CIFO-INIA, Apartado 8111, 28080-Madrid, Spain

“Address for correspondence Received: January 2001

Revised: February 2001

1041-2905/04/0002-0122$6.00/0-© 2004 Allured Publishing Corp. Accepted: March 2001

Copyright Allured Publishing Corporation Mar/Apr 2004

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