Botany of A. nervosa
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A. nervosa is a climbing vine that belongs to Convolvulaceae and which is found
geographically in some regions in 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.
Figure: A. nervosa
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
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
Lysergic acid derivatives from A. nervosa
Lysergic acid derivatives
Lysergic acid amide (ergine, LSA)
Lysergic acid diethylamide (= LSD, a semi-synthethic)
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
- 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
- Tricyclic-antidepressants antagonize the effects.
Do NOT use when pregnant!
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)