Phytochemistry and Pharmacology of Anamirta cocculus Willd.
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Anamirta cocculus is a woody climber of Menispermaceae family remains popular folk remedy in Asia and adjacent regions. It crude drug is officially listed in many Pharmacopoeias. The fruits, especially the seed contain picrotoxin, a very strong poison that was toxic to all vertebrates affecting the CNS, stimulating the respiratory and vagus centres in the medulla and acting on the heart and lungs with diminished pulse. The toxicity results in vomiting, purging, profuse sweating, dimness of vision, unconsciousness and clonic convulsions. Death occurs rapidly due to respiration failure, or slowly from gastro-intestinal symptoms, particularly the medulla oblongata and respiratory centre. In South-East Asia the fruit of Anamirta cocculus is used mainly as a fish poison and as an insecticide. The plant was large-stemmed and, stem and roots contains quaternary alkaloids, such as beriberine, palmatine, magnoflorine, columbamine, oxypalmine, stepharine and the major tertiary alkaloid as 18-oxotetrahydropalmatine. The alkaloids of Anamirta cocculus have antibacterial, antimicrobial, sympatholytical (acetylcholine), and antifertility activities and the isolated alkaloids were confirmed and characterized by UVspectrophotometry, Mass spectroscopy, H1-NMR and C13-NMR spectroscopy.
Anamirta cocculus, Picrotoxin, Quaternary alkaloids, Tertiary alkaloids, Mass spectroscopy.