HBWR Chemistry

The substances that cause a lot of the sickness in morning glory seeds are essential oils that are irritants. The sickness from seeds that were consumed before it was illegal to do so, came from the the essential oils contained within the seeds. (See the section below for a more detailed discussion.) Essential oils are fats, so soaking the seeds in a fat-absorbing solvent such as Naptha (Zippo lighter fluid) for thirty minutes, then throwing the solvent away, then drying the remaining seed mass would remove these oils. (THIS IS VERY ILLEGAL TO DO, THOUGH, SO PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS!)

LSA is water-soluable, not fat soluable, so the Naptha would carry away the essential oil poisons, leaving behind the toxic D-Lysergic Acid Amide in the Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds of the Morning Glory seeds instead. The active constituents are largely lysergic amides but also include chanoclavine, a tricyclic ergoloid which has the ring that contains the carboxyl opened. This is the biosynthetic precursor to the lysergoids. Chanoclavine is reported to be psychoactive in man, although the studies of its action are paultry (Experientia 16, 414 (1960), Albert Hofmann).

Also it’s presence hasn’t actually been confirmed in the morning glory species in question, I. violaceae (tricolour), but in Rivea corymbosa. But it’s presence in R. corymbosa should be a hint that it is also in I. violaceae because in R. Corymbosa it is a precursor to an alkaloid that has been confirmed in I. violaceae as well.

Amerindian shamans made a cold water extraction of the seeds, and report that this is the best method. A pinch of tartaric acid in the water would aid the extraction, especially if using city water which is made basic to prevent lead leaching from old plumbing.

The most important thing with MG seeds is to grind them to a VERY FINE powder, since the 4 or 5 lysergic acid amides which are psychoactive reside in the embryo of the seed which must be well pulverized for efficient extraction. The rest of the seed parts contain no alkaloid but other compounds which may largely account for side effects.

Most lysergic acid alkaloids are vasoconstricting, and the medieval disease St. Anthony’s Fire or ergotism, was the result of eating high doses of ergotamine in bread made from infected grain. At first tingling in the extremities, and finally gangrene plus mental disorders was the result. Taking MG seeds every couple of days just begins to approach the dose level where first symptoms are possible. Taking them once a month should entail no risk whatsoever.