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Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 1871-5249
ISSN (Online): 1875-6166

Psychoactive Plants Described in a Brazilian Literary Work and their Chemical Compounds

Author(s): Rafaela Denise Otsuka, Joao Henrique Ghilardi Lago, Lucia Rossi, Jose Carlos Fernandes Galduroz and Eliana Rodrigues

Volume 10, Issue 3, 2010

Page: [218 - 237] Pages: 20

DOI: 10.2174/1871524911006030218

Price: $65


Ethnopharmacological research investigates the plants and other medicinal and toxic substances utilized by different traditional populations. One approach in this field is a literature search of the available publications on medicinal plants. The purpose of the current study was to select plants with psychoactive effects described in a Brazilian literary work written by Pio Correa in 1926. Those mentioned plants were classified in accordance with their indications for use as stimulants and depressors of the central nervous system. For the phytochemical study herein, we researched these species via a database search, and all the obtained information was compiled into a new database to analyze possible correlations between the chemical compounds and the psychoactive categories. Of the 813 plants searched in the literary work, 104 presented chemical data in the scientific periodicals consulted. Seventy-five of them belong to the stimulant category, while 31 are depressors and two of them belong to both categories. Phenols and flavonoids were the main compounds observed in plants of both categories, though at different frequencies. Monoterpenes (29.9%) and sesquiterpenes (28.6%) were also observed in plants from the stimulant category, while 25.8% of plants from the depressor category were comprised of carotenoids and 22.6% of steroids. The main specific compounds were identified as ferulic acid, α-pinene, limonene, α-humulene and kaempferol among the stimulant plants. Otherwise, in depressor plants were characterized caffeic acid, kaempferol, quercetin, β-carotene, physalins and withanolides as specific compounds. The association between ethnopharmacological and chemotaxonomic data, as presented in this study, could support plant selection in further investigations by research groups whose studies focus on psychoactive plants as potential therapeutics.

Keywords: Database, ethnopharmacology, medicinal plants, psychoactive plants, phytochemistry.

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