The genus Tagetes, belonging to the Asteraceae family, has 53 species distributed in the American continent and more than one hundred secondary metabolites with significant biological activity have been recorded. Within this genus, Tagetes erecta, a native plant of Central America, is used as an ornamental and medicinal plant by some endemic groups and it is also consumed as food in some regions of Mexico. Nevertheless, there are few reports on the compounds and biological effects of this particular species. This article summarizes a recent analysis of the genus Tagetes with emphasis on T. erecta focusing on the main secondary metabolites and its attributed biological properties The analysis revealed that the metabolites with the greatest presence in species of the genus Tagetes were terpenes, tagetone, ocimene and limonene, in addition to the glycoside quercetagetin and a high presence of phenolic compounds, which contribute to enhance their main biological activities as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Keywords: Bioactive compounds, Flower of the dead, Phytochemistry, Tagetes.