Four pentacyclic oleanane triterpenes (β-amyrin, methyl oleanolate, oleanolic acid and 3β-hydroxyolean-11-en-28,13β-olide) were isolated from the fruits of Carissa macrocarpawhilst the ursane triterpene, ursolic acid, was isolated from the leaves. 3 β-hydroxyolean-11-en-28,13β-olide has only been found once previously (in the Lamiaceae) and its lactone ring, which contributes significantly to the expression of antibacterial activity in oleanane triterpenes, makes it an interesting molecule for synthetic and biological studies. The immune boosting properties of the triterpene rich edible fruits of C. macrocarpa are important, especially in South Africa, due to high incidences of Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis in this country.
Key words: Carissa macrocarpa, amatungula, oleanane triterpenes, ursolic acid.
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