The few species of Schumanniophyton are found in west central Africa and have been used traditionally for a variety of medicinal purposes including the treatment of snakebite. S. magnificum has been the focus of most research and has yielded several novel chromone alkaloids. The structures of these have had to be revised in the light of spectroscopic studies using advanced NMR techniques. The alkaloids and some semisynthetic derivatives have biological activities of interest and paramount among these is the ability to prevent the growth and replication of Herpes Simplex Virus and HIV. Derivatives of rohitukine have also been developed commercially as anticancer and antiinflammatory agents. Tests have shown that the extract of the bark inhibits the effects of cobra envenomation both in vivo and in vitro. This activity has been traced to a peptide component of the bark.
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