Ursolic acid (sometimes referred to as urson, prunol, malol, or 3-beta-3-hydroxy-urs-12-ene-28-oic-acid), is a lipophilic pentacyclic triterpenoid that contributes to the waxy coats on apples, other fruits, and many herbs, including some folkloric herbal medicines for diabetes.
Ursolic acid has been reported to produce antitumor activities and antioxidant activity, and is reported to have an antioxidant activity. Ursolic acid may play an important role in regulating the apoptosis induced by high glucose presumably through scavenging of ROS (reactive oxygen species). It has been found recently that ursolic acid treatment affects growth and apoptosis in cancer cells.
Ursolic acid can serve as a starting material for synthesis of more potent bioactive derivatives, such as experimental antitumor agents.