New methods for the laboratory-scale synthesis of coumarin-based drugs were developed at the University of Eastern Finland, according to the results of a new study. The research team also developed new analytical methods for the fast identification of natural and non-natural coumarins.

Previous methods are typically based on heating of the starting material with a strong acid, but the new approach also works at room temperature. The improvements lower the production costs, since the final products are easier to purify.

Coumarin is an aromatic compound, naturally occurring in many plants. A few of the synthesized coumarins were found to inhibit some specific reactions generally associated with inflammation.

Understanding of this pathway and data on nearly 50 tested coumarins may help in the development of future anti-inflammatory drugs for chronic inflammation diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, according to the authors.