1Faculty of Pharmacy, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, I.R. IRAN
2Department of Pharmacy, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13, 9 PL, ENGLAND
Brassica napus L. and Sinapis alba L. are two cruciferous species for which some medicinal uses are mentioned in the Iranian, Indian and Chinese traditional medicine. Seed oil of B. napus has cathartic action, and is either used as such or after partial hydrogenation for cooking, shortening or as margarines. Sees of S. alba have also cathartic action and some other medicinal uses but, because of the recent reports of anticancer or cancer preventative compounds in the cruciferae family, there is more interest in the nutritional value of crucifers. The anticancer activity of these plants is attributed to the presence of organic sulfur compounds namely the glucosinolates. These glucosides were identified through their volatile degradation products (i.e the aglucones), which are liberated after hydrolysis, using gas-liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Other volatile constituents, including some hydrocarbons and fatty acids were identified as well.