Aglaia is the largest genus in the Meliaceae family (also known as Mahagoni in Indonesia), consisting of over 150 species, of which 65 are indigenous to Indonesia. These species spread through the tropical regions, especially Southeast Asia as well as the Nothern part of Australia, and have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of several diseases. However, preliminary chemical researches commenced in 1965, where dammarane-type triterpenoids, aglaiol was isolated, and the structure was determined by chemical reaction and spectroscopic methods. Several studies have been carried out on the stembark, bark, leaves, seeds and leaves in the last fifty five years, and about 291 metabolites have been isolated from the sesquiterpenoid, diterpenoid, triterpenoid, limonoid, steroid, lignan, and alkaloid groups, as well as flavagline, which known to be the largest. This specifically amounts to 34% of Aglaia species, reported to show cytotoxic and insecticidal potentials, and also the tendency for use as chemical markers for this species. The extracts and compounds obtained from Aglaia species are evaluated for potential biological activities, including cytotoxicity, insecticidal, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, molluscicidal, antituberculosis and antiviral effects. In addition, flavagline (rocaglamide) derivatives have been confirmed to exhibit exceptional cytotoxicity, and are, thus, considered lead compounds for further development. Therefore, the results support the concept of utilizing Aglaia species as a potential source for the production of biologically active compounds.
Keywords: Aglaia; Biological activities; Flavagline; Meliaceae; Phytochemistry.