Saving the endangered medicinal plant Mappia from being eroded in forest patches and encouraging farmers to cultivate the plant as an inter-crop Mappia foetida is a medium-sized tree, which belongs to Olacaceae plant family. It is found to contain 16.0% of 3-keto-octadec-cis-15-enoic acid previously hitherto unknown in the Olacaceae plant family. It also contains other normal fatty acids such as palmitic acid (12.3%), stearic acid (4.2%), oleic acid (16.2%), linoleic acid (11.6%) and linolenic acid (39.7%)

Mappia foetida, foetidine 1 and 2, having anticancer and antiviral properties. These alkaloids, soluble in water, are present in all the parts of the plant, and are the precursors of camptothecin and of 9-methoxy-camptothecin, which are alkaloids known to have pharmacodynamic properties but also to be insoluble in water. The particular water solubility of the novel compounds make them particularly suitable for the treatment of the patients by the parenteral route, avoiding the use of toxic excipients or of unsuitable chemical derivatizations.