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Author Topic: Is taxane an alkaloid?  (Read 5136 times)

Offline Bill.D.Katt.

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« on: 26/10/2010 02:59:03 »
I recently consumed the red aril of a yew berry. I made sure to be extremely careful with the seed. The aftertaste was quite bitter, and I seemed to remember that alkaloids quite often taste bitter. Is taxane an alkaloid, and could this be the source of the bitterness?
« Last Edit: 26/10/2010 12:13:51 by chris »


 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #1 on: 26/10/2010 10:24:16 »
Taxane is an alkaloid extracted from the Pacific Yew and more recently from the needles of the Canadian Yew. These days the taxanes used in the production of various chemotherapy drugs are artificially produced.

I would think they would be the cause of the bitterness.
 

Offline Bill.D.Katt.

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #2 on: 26/10/2010 16:30:23 »
Then why am I not dead yet? Is the concentration just really low in the aril? And if so, how many would someone have to eat before s/he died? I have about 30 yew berries that have been pitted, would it be safe to eat all of them in one sitting?
 

Offline Don_1

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #3 on: 26/10/2010 19:08:46 »
I don't think it would be safe to eat any more at all, especially if you do not know which species of yew these berries come from.

It is only the Pacific and Canadian Yew which have been found to have useful medicinal properties.

The English Yew is one of the deadliest of trees. All parts, except the flesh of the berry are highly toxic. Hence the Yew tree's Latin name of Taxus, meaning toxic.

Even the berries of this tree are dangerous. If eaten, the seed within the berry can be extremely dangerous. There is no known antitoxin. And the flesh itself may also contain a very dilute toxin to which individuals may have a tolerance level.

As you are probably aware, most of the cocktails used in chemotherapy are very powerful drugs which should be treated with great care. I would certainly not recommend experimentation with these drugs or their individual ingredients.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #4 on: 26/10/2010 19:26:16 »
The chemistry of the alkaloids from yew trees is quite complicated.
I think that, strictly speaking, taxane is the parent hydrocarbon from which they can be considered to be derived and is not an alkaloid. Paclitaxel isn't an alkaloid either- it's am amide so it's not basic enough.
There are lots of other alkaloids in the plant.
It isn't just alkaloids that are bitter.

Anyway, What's the point of eating something that tastes nasty?
 

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #5 on: 26/10/2010 19:42:48 »
Thus Spake Zarathustra Bored Chemist, and I for one will bow to the superior knowledge.
 

Offline Bill.D.Katt.

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #6 on: 07/11/2010 23:22:39 »
Sorry to bring this up again, I believe the plant is the Pacific Yew. What medicinal properties does it have? And are certain parts of the plant still very poisonous?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #7 on: 08/11/2010 19:24:17 »
Yew species are generally rather toxic. The pacific yew contains a compound that's used in some cancer treatments (strictly I think it's a derivative that gets used).
It's pretty much certain to contain other toxic materials.
Also, remember that many drugs used in the treatment of cancer are nasty- they generally wouldn't be accepted for other, less threatening, diseases.
If you think you might benefit from these chemicals then you need to see a doctor and get hold of the cleaned up version without the toxic dross.

From WIKI
"... 28 kg of crude extract had been isolated from almost 1,200 kg of bark, although this ultimately yielded only 10g of pure material."
That's less than half an ounce of the right stuff from over a ton of bark- you have to worry about the rest of the stuff don't you?
 

Offline Bill.D.Katt.

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #8 on: 09/11/2010 05:32:41 »
Thanks. I was primarily concerned with the seed and the red aril, but from the little that I have researched it sounds like the seed is one of the most toxic parts. I guess I will throw out my 1/4 cup of arils. Thanks to all.

Wooooo, Junior member!
 

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Is taxane an alkaloid?
« Reply #8 on: 09/11/2010 05:32:41 »

 

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