Chapter 3. The Use of Alkaloids in Traditional Medicine


Rajiv Kumar1,2, Shri Krishna Khandeland Babita Aryal4
University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
2Depatment of Chemistry, NIET, National Institute of Medical Science, India
3Clinical Diagnosis and Investigation (Rognidan), National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur, India
4Biological Chemistry Lab, Central Department of Chemistry, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal

Part of the book: The Essential Guide to Alkaloids


Plants, herbs, and ethnobotanicals have been used for good health and disease treatment since the dawn of humans and are currently used in many parts of the world. Alkaloids are essential components of plants’ defense mechanisms against pests and pathogens. Alkaloids, one element of these, are named plant secondary metabolites. They are well-known naturally occurring nitrogen-containing bioactive compounds. Modern research is being conducted on alkaloids to find novel therapeutic approaches. Many biological processes are known to be aided by alkaloids, some of which can also transform into active metabolites. Numerous natural sources and the synthesis of different alkaloids with significant therapeutic effects are the sources of the hundreds of medicines that are successfully employed in the context of health and the treatment of various disorders. In this regard, this chapter discusses alkaloids used as medicines with scientific and historical evidence and covers plant-derived alkaloids and their therapeutic activities, including acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activity, anti-inflammatory activity, and antioxidant activity. Moreover, the use of alkaloids in treating neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases has been included. Further, the authors cover therapeutic applications of plant-derived alkaloids, explain mediators of neurodegenerative disorders, and inflammatory mediators, explain the therapeutic potential of alkaloids against human coronaviruses, discuss the usage of alkaloids in current medicine and describe plant-derived alkaloids (tetrahydropalmatine, aloperine, tetrandrine, sinomenine, oxymatrine, galantamine, berberine, and harmine); write sections covering mechanisms and methods of treatments for various diseases, elucidate the active use of the alkaloid boldine in traditional medicine as a natural antioxidant; and in the end, the odd brominated alkaloids derived from marine sources are intensely conferred. The ability of alkaloids to form hydrogen bonds with enzymes, receptors, and proteins is also examined. The role of alkaloids in curing numerous illnesses, including Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, depression, neurotoxicity, cerebral ischemia, cognitive decline, dementia, drug addiction, autoimmune encephalomyelitis, brain cancer, psychiatric disorders, and epilepsy have also conversed.

Keywords: herbal medications, novel drug delivery system, ayurvedic formulations, natural products


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