The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: What medications could you isolate from plants in your backyard?  (Read 612 times)

Offline A.Carter

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Thanked: 2 times
    • View Profile
It was brought to my attention recently that my region is awash in Jimsom Weed (Datura stramonium). Evidently, Jimsom Weed is a natural producer of atropine, hyosciamine, and scopolamine and of the three, the first is listed as an essential medication by the WHO. I have wondered how much of that list could be isolated or synthesized from local plant life. I am inclined to see if I can isolate atropine from Jimsom Weed, just to see if I can. As for the rest of the list, about 350 entries, I don't imagine I will be making much headway by myself, especially considering that I know almost nothing about plants in general and the number of local fauna I can identify can be counted on one hand. However, if any of you are aware of the name of such plants in your area, and what they produce, I would be glad to know what they are.   


 

Offline Colin2B

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1906
  • Thanked: 122 times
    • View Profile
Digitalis from foxgloves
Aspirin from apples and willow bark
Atropine from deadly nightshade

 
The following users thanked this post: A.Carter

Offline chiralSPO

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1867
  • Thanked: 143 times
    • View Profile
I would NOT recommend trying to isolate any significant quantity of atropine! (or any of the other alkaloids in datura stromnium)

If you do try to isolate atropine from jimson weed, just be VERY careful. While it is used as medicine, it is also highly toxic (lethal) to those who don't need it, or at doses higher than prescribed. Toxic effects can begin to manifest as low as 33 g/kg (2.5 mg for a 75 kg person), and can be fatal at significantly higher dosages. You will need gloves and a jacket and eye protection (it can be absorbed through your skin, and some of the compounds required for purification aren't so friendly either.)

MSDS for atropine: https://www.caymanchem.com/msdss/12008m.pdf
 
The following users thanked this post: A.Carter

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8645
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Strictly, you can get salicylic acid from willow, but not acetylsalicylic acid- which is aspirin..
It's perfectly possible to grow opium poppies in your garden.
I had a look through the list. As far as I can tell you can get these
Oxygen
ephedrine (f ephedra sinica)
Atropine (atropa belladonna)
Morphine (papaver somniferum)
Codeine  (papaver somniferum)
Hyoscine (hyoscyamus niger)
senna (Senna alexandrina)
Penicillamine (derived from penicillin from various fungi)
magnesium sulphate (possibly- it's present in some mineral waters so you might be able to get it if you have a mineral spring in your garden)
Ivermectin (Indirectly from Streptomyces avermitilis)
amoxicillin along with the penicillins and Cephalosporins, chloramphenicol etc (Again, indirectly, from some fungi).
amphotericin (Streptomyces nodosus)
Artemether (Indirectly from Artemisia annua )
quinine (Cinchona officinalis)
Asparaginase (from Escherichia coli which isn't a plant- but there's probably some in your garden anyway)
Bleomycin (possibly- it depends on finding the bacterium Streptomyces verticillus in your garden)
dactinomycin (Streptomyces)
Doxorubicin (Streptomyces peucetius)
paclitaxel (Indirectly from taxus baccata)
Vinblastine (Catharanthus roseus)
vincristine (ditto)
vinorelbine (ditto)
folic acid (almost anything with leaves)
phytomenadione (ditto)
warfarin (possibly as rat poison- but also possibly from mouldy clover)
digoxin (digitalis purpurea)
Streptokinase (Streptococcus)
simvastatin (indirectly from Pleurotus ostreatus)
mupirocin (Pseudomonas fluorescens)
calamine  (if you happen to live somewhere that this mineral occurs)
salicylic acid (from willow (and distinct from aspirin))
Benzyl benzoate (in the essential oils of hyacinth etc)
barium sulphate (Again- it's a mineral an you might be lucky)
ethanol (by fermentation of pretty much any fruit by Saccharomyces species)
mannitol  (lots of fungi, and bacteria: also Fraxinus ornus)
Spironolactone (well it looks like a biologically derived molecule to me, but I can't easily find the source)
Gentamicin (Micromonospora purpureochromogenes)
Pilocarpine (Pilocarpus microphyllus)
Ergometrine (Claviceps purpurea)
glucose (most plants)
water (well- a well)
nicotinamide (meat, nuts + mushrooms)
(And similar stories for the other vitamins)
caffeine (A number of plants notably coffee, tea and cola)


Not a bad haul.
There are others that are not directly derived from plants but are synthetic analogues of plant products. for example the local anaesthetics are based on the anaesthetic aspects of cocaine but without the psychoactive aspects
The streptomyces seem to be worthy of a special mention
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streptomyces
 
The following users thanked this post: A.Carter

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3810
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
What are the tomato like fruits that grow on potato plants ?
I have been told they are pretty poisonous
My Latin is weak did you miss out cannabis ?
« Last Edit: 13/08/2016 21:32:41 by syhprum »
 
The following users thanked this post: A.Carter

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8645
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
The berries of a potato plant solanum tuberosum are toxic- due largely to solanine- but it's not useful as a dug.
Whether canabis sativa is useful or not is a matter of perspective, but it's not on the WHO list of essential drugs.
 

Offline A.Carter

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Thanked: 2 times
    • View Profile
I would NOT recommend trying to isolate any significant quantity of atropine! (or any of the other alkaloids in datura stromnium)

If you do try to isolate atropine from jimson weed, just be VERY careful. While it is used as medicine, it is also highly toxic (lethal) to those who don't need it, or at doses higher than prescribed. Toxic effects can begin to manifest as low as 33 g/kg (2.5 mg for a 75 kg person), and can be fatal at significantly higher dosages. You will need gloves and a jacket and eye protection (it can be absorbed through your skin, and some of the compounds required for purification aren't so friendly either.)


Never fear. I wouldn't dream of attempting something like this without the proper safety equipment. I have no desire to earn myself a Darwin award.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length