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Plants of the Veratrum genus have been used throughout history for their emetic properties, rheumatism, and for the treatment of high blood pressure. However, inadvertent consumption of these plants, which resemble wild ramps, induces life-threatening side effects attributable to an abundance of steroidal alkaloids. Several of the steroidal alkaloids from Veratrum spp. have been investigated for their ability to antagonize the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway, a key pathway for embryonic development and cell proliferation. Uncontrolled activation of this pathway is linked to the development of various cancers; most notably, basal cell carcinoma and acute myeloid leukemia. Additional investigation of Veratrum spp. may lead to the identification of novel alkaloids with the potential to serve as chemotherapeutics. V. parviflorum is a relatively uncommon species of Veratrum that resides in the southeastern regions of North America. The phytochemical profile of this plant remains largely unexplored; however, bioactive steroidal alkaloids, including cyclopamine, veratramine, veratridine, and verazine were identified in its extract. The structural elucidation and bioactivity assessment of steroidal alkaloids in lesser abundance within the extract of V. parviflorum may yield potent Hh pathway inhibitors. This review seeks to consolidate the botanical and phytochemical information regarding V. parviflorum.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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