Scientific Name(s): Parthenium argentatum A. Gray.
Common Name(s): Guayule, Mexican rubber
Guayule is a common shrub native to the deserts of northern Mexico and the adjacent region of Texas. The plant can be readily grown in the arid regions of the southwestern United States. The perennial shrub, which produces white to yellow flowers, grows to 1 m in 2 years, at which time it can be harvested by cutting off the whole plant just above the ground. Regrowth occurs after 12 to 18 months, allowing for further harvesting. The plant produces terpene resins, which are natural pesticides, making it resistant to many pests and diseases.PLANTS 2010, Ray 1993, Wood 2010
The use of guayule as a source of rubber for making balls for games has been attributed to the indigenous people of the Americas during the Mayan civilization. The plant was chewed to separate the fibrous material from the resin.
In the early 1900s, guayule accounted for almost 50% of all the natural rubber consumed in the United States and 10% of worldwide consumption; however, it later lost favor to the cheaper Hevea rubber. Interest in guayule as an alternative to latex in allergenic people has surged, and in 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave marketing approval to Yulex gloves, which conform to Category 4 American Society for Testing and Materials rubber standards. The US Agricultural Research Service is evaluating the energy-rich byproduct bagasse, which is produced after the resin has been extracted as a source of biofuel; its production is not likely to affect food crop areas because it is grown on agriculturally marginal land.Mooibroek 2000, Ray 1993, van Beilen 2007, Wood 2010
The physical and chemical properties of guayule rubber, which is composed of polymeric cisisoprenoid units, are essentially identical to those of Hevea rubber. Guayule rubber is found in parenchymatous cells of the stem and root tissue as latex.
Major components of the acetone extracts of woody guayule tissue are sesquiterpene esters (10% to 15% of the total), triterpenoids (7%), and fatty acid triglycerides (7% to 19%). The sesquiterpenes are, in part, artifacts of heat processing. The major triterpene compounds are C-30 argentatins, which may possess antifungal and antibacterial activity. Organic acid content varies, but the major aromatic acid is cinnamic acid and the major fatty acid is linoleic acid. The presence of unsaturated fatty acid triglycerides facilitates oxidative degradation of the latex product.Maatooq 2002, Parra-Delgado 2005, van Beilen 2007
Uses and Pharmacology
There are no clinical studies using guayule.
In vitro studies have shown triterpene argentatins to possess cytotoxic activity against some human cancer cell lines. In in vitro studies, argentatin B demonstrated noncompetitive inhibition at estradiol binding sites in hormone-dependent breast cancer.Parra-Delgado 2005
Natural rubber latex
Clinical studies have routinely shown a lack of cross-reactivity to Hevea brasiliensis latex antibodies; thus, guayule provides an alternative source of rubber products for use in individuals with Hevea latex hypersensitivity. The FDA approved marketing of guayule-based Yulex gloves in 2008.Cornish 1999, Mooibroek 2000, Siler 1996, van Beilen 2007, Wood 2010 A study evaluating guayule latex gloves 4 years after storage found that the latex remained impermeable to 27 nm viruses (of the order of the smallest human viral pathogens).Cornish 1999
There are no clinical applications for guayule.
Pregnancy / Lactation
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.
None well documented.
The P. argentatum plant contains cinnamic acid, present in stems and leaves, that can elicit immune reactions. Cross sensitivity to the plant and its proteins is possible in people sensitized to other species of Asteraceae, such as ragweed and feverfew.Siler 1996 The processing of guayule for its rubber results in a low-protein–content product.Cornish 1999, Wood 2010
Information is lacking; 1 study demonstrated a lack of genotoxic effects via clastogenic or aneugenic mechanisms for the constituents argentatin A and B.Parra-Delgado 2005
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