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Related to Saponins: steroidal saponins


see soap plantsoap plant,
any of various plants having cleansing properties. A few are of commercial importance, but most soap plants are used locally, as in early times, for toilet and laundry purposes.
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any of the complex organic nonnitrogenous compounds of the plant glycoside group. Upon acid or enzymatic hydrolysis, saponins are split into monosaccharides (one or several molecules) and a noncarbohydrate part called the aglycon (sapogenin). Depending on the chemical structure of the aglycon, a distinction is made between triterpenoid saponins, in which the aglycons are triterpenoids, and steroid saponins, in which the aglycons are steroids. Uronic acids may also be components of saponins.

Saponins are found mainly in plants (in the Rosaceae, Caryo-phyllaceae, and Sapindaceae families) and in certain marine animals (starfish and holothurians). Saponins are characterized by the capacity to give, like soaps, collodial solutions that readily form foams. With phenols and higher alcohols, for example, sterols, saponins form stable molecular compounds that are used for the separation, purification, and quantitative determination of saponins themselves and such sterols as cholesterol.

Saponins have a bitter, sharp taste. Upon intravenous injection, they are highly toxic; extremely low concentrations lead to the destruction of erythrocytes (hemolysis). However, saponins are not toxic upon ingestion because they either are not absorbed or else are destroyed in the intestines.

Steroid saponins are used as an inexpensive raw material for the production of steroid hormones. As foaming agents, saponins are used in charging foam fire extinguishers and in the production of soft drinks and beer. Saponins are contained in many medicinal plants (soapbark, licorice, jalap, senega root), which are used as expectorants and diuretics. Espin and other saponins of the horse chestnut, as well as aralosides from the Japanese angelica tree, have a cardiotonic effect.


Lekarstvennye sredstva iz rastenii. Edited by A. D. Turova. Moscow, 1962.
Fieser, L., and M. Fieser. Steroidy. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from English.) T. V. Iliukhina


(organic chemistry)
Any of numerous plant glycosides characterized by foaming in water and by producing hemolysis when water solutions are injected into the bloodstream; used as beverage foam producer, textile detergent and sizing, soap substitute, and emulsifier.
References in periodicals archive ?
The natural protopanaxatriol saponins (40.0 g) were dissolved with 80% acetic acid (400 ml) and stirred vigorously at 60 AdegC for 3 h.
Supplementation of saponin results in an increased seminiferous tubule diameter and testis size in male broiler birds [10].
The presence of cyanogenic glycosides was not found in any of the analyzed species, but in some species the presence of saponins was recorded (Table 2).
Phytochemical analysis showed alkaloids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids and phenolic compounds are present in seed extract.
For inhibition studies, Neem derived saponins were purchased from local market in Pakistan (United chemicals, Anarkali, Lahore), which were further purified by extraction with butanol.
Regarding the serum biochemical panel, the group that received saponins showed the highest mean value (P<0.05) of albumin than other groups (Table 3).
Previous findings have shown that saponins promote the production of IgG2 over IgG1 antibody subclass and favor Th1 and cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses in contrast with conventional adjuvants such as aluminum salts and emulsions in murine models [9, 11].
riuminiana tested positive for the phytochemicals that are known to provide antihyperglycemic and antihypercholesterolemic properties, namely, saponins, tannins, and alkaloids.
prepared saponin fraction from TFGs and treated on rats fed with high-fat-diet.
The bitter polar components of the kernels, the saponins, presumably remain in the water phase.