Botany of A. Nervosa

A. nervosa is a climbing vine that belongs to Convolvulaceae and which is found geographically in some regions in

 A. nervosa

Figure: A. Nervosa

Africa, Australia and from India to Sri Lanka. This genus comprises of approximately 90 species that are often difficult to distinguish from A. nervosa. At the present time the plant is cultivated in all the tropical regions as an ornamental and as a narcotic.

A. nervosa has large heart-shaped foliage (hairy from the bottom and 30 cm across), violet colored funnel-shaped flowers and round fruits that contain one to four seeds. The vine can reach 10 meters in height and can be propagated by cuttings and by seeds. This plant is extremely hardy and fun to grow, and can even be cultivated in places with cold winters, since the entire life-cycle of this plant occurs in a single season. At the end of the season, this plant will flower like crazy, dropping plenty of seeds for the next year, where you will need to do nothing to see countless beautiful vines spring up from seemingly nowhere.

Both propagation methods are easy and effective. When the seeds are tamped in a humid soil and the temperature is kept warm (20-25°C) the seeds will germinate within three weeks. The germinating period may be shortend by filing the seed coats gently, without damaging te inner core. Cuttings should be made of a growing twig. These can be sticked into humid soil or be put in a glass of water for two to three weeks.

Phytochemistry

Argyreia nervosa seeds contain 0.3-1 % ergot-alkaloids by weight. Ergine (d-lysergic acid amide), isoergine (l-lysergic acid amide), ergometrine, lysergol, isolysergol, elymoclavine and chanoclavine are present. 6, 7 Lysergol and elymoclavine are reduction products of d-lysergic acid.

Ergot alkaloids have also been isolated from the fungial sclerotium of Claviceps purpurea.

argnervosa

Table 1.7: Lysergic acid derivatives from A. nervosa

R1R2
Lysergic acid derivatives
HH Lysergic acid amide (ergine, LSA)
H CH(CH3)CH2OH Ergometrine
C2H5C2H5 Lysergic acid diethylamide (= LSD, a semi-synthethic)

argnervosa

Pharmacology

Ergine, isoergine, ergometrine, elymoclavine and lysergol are responsible for the psychedelic effects. The structurally similarity between these alkaloids and the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonine might explain the hallucinogenic activity by mutual influence on the active sites of the central nervous system; it appears that the psychoactive constituents are partial agonists on the G-protein-linked a-adrenergic- and on various serotonergic- receptors (the serotonergic receptor-subtype 5-HT2A appears to be involved in hallucinogenic activity).

MODIFIERS :

– Ascorbic acid ( vitamin c ) doesn’t change the intensity of the experience, but it alters it’s quality. One can concentrate better, developes less paranoia and is also less tired at the end of the experience. – MAO-inhibitors and sympathomimetic amines (amphetamine, ephedrine etc.) have positive synergistic effects; they prolong and intensify the experience. – Hashish or marihuana can also intensify the experience. Usually produces a positive feeling. – Tricyclic-antidepressants antagonize the effects.

DANGEROUS COMBINATIONS: Do NOT use when pregnant!

REFERENCES :

  • Etnopharmacological search for psychoactive drugs (proceedings of a symposium held in 1967)
  • Gottlieb, Adam (Legal Highs)
  • Hoffer, Abraham and Humphry Osmond (1967, The Hallucinogens)
  • Hoffmann, Albert and Richard Evans Schultes (1973, The botany and chemistry of hallucinogens)
  • Ratsch, Christian (1998, Enzyklopadie der psychoaktiven pflanzen)
  • Shulgin, Alexander and Ann Shulgin (1997, Tihkal, the continuation)
  • Snyder, Solomon h. (1996, Drugs and the brain)
  • Stafford, Peter (1974, The psychedelic encyclopedia)