Chimie des produits naturels  
Nauclea latifolia: biological activities and alkaloid phyto-chemistry of a West African tree  
B. Boucherle, R. Haudecoeur, E. Ferreira Queiroz, M. De Waard, J.-L. Wolfender, R. J. Robins, A. Boumendjel
Nat. Prod. Rep. 2016, 33, 1034-1043
Nauclea latifolia (syn. Sarcocephalus latifolius, Rubiaceae), commonly called the African pincushion tree, is a plant widely used in folk medicine in different regions of Africa, for treating a variety of illnesses, including malaria, epilepsy and pain. N. latifolia has not only drawn the interest of traditional healers but also of phytochemists who have identified a range of bioactive indole alkaloids in its tissues. More recently, following up on the traditional use of extracts in pain management, a bio-guided purification from the roots of the tree led to the identification of the active ingrendient as tramadol, available as a synthetic analgesic since the 1970s. The discovery of this compound as a natural phytochemical was highlighted worldwide. This review focuses on the correlation between extracted compounds and pharmacological activities, paying special attention to infective diseases and neurologically-related disorders. A critical analysis of the data reported so far on the natural origin of tramadol and its proposed biosynthesis is also presented.