Isoquinoline Plants

(Aamna Arif, karachi)


Our aim in this review paper is to find out the constituents that are responsible for pharmacological activities that were recently discovered in isoquinoline plants including Papaver Somniferum and Argemone Mexicana and also to emphasize on how the constituents were tested to find out the particular pharmacological activity in vitro and in vivo testing.


Isoquoline alkaloid has many pharmacological properties. It has largest group in which two plants, Papaver Somniferum and Argemone Mexicana Linn are discussed in this review. Papaver Somniferum (opium poppy) has significant role in health, medicines and decoration. Opium has chemical constituent: Opium alkaloid, benzyl Isoquoline, phenanthrene type which has many Pharmacological activities like anti convulsant, anti tussive and free radical scavenger capacity. Whereas other plant Argemone Mexicana also possess many analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant activity. All the activities of these plants are confirmed by phytochemical screening test.


Isoquinoline alkaloids has many pharmacological properties, in this we have largest group of natural compounds.
They are based upon different degrees such as rearrangement of intramolecular and oxygenation etc., they are subdivided into eight groups;
Phthalideisoquinoline, aporphine, morphine and emetine alkaloids, protoberberine, benzo[c]phenanthridine, protopine and : benzylisoquinoline,
In this subgroup protoberberine group contain 25% of isoquinoline structures. Mostbroad and highly spread secondary metabolites such as containing nitrogen among natural products consist by berberine group.
Isoquinoline alkaloids found in the following family Annonaceae, Berberidaceae,Menispermaceae,Monimiaceae, Papaveraceae and Ranunculaceae.
In this review we are discussing about only two plants which is papaver somniferum and Argenome Mexicana.


The second name of papaver somniferum plant is opium poppy and bread seedpoppy. It belongs to Papaveraceae family the plant from which we extract or derive the poppy seeds and opium. In eastern these plants are valuable in terms of decoration and ornamental purpose. Poppy is used in agricultural crop .There are 3 main purpose of this.
• First one for human food because it is edible
• Second, in the field of medicine for pharmaceutical industries
• Third, for making or producing other alkaloids such as oripavine and thebaine.
It has very significant in terms of health ,medicines and decoration,


ANNUAL GROWTH; 100cm (40 in) tall
COLOR; grayish green color
FLOWERS; 30-100 mm (1-4in) diameter
It is used in food, cultivation, medicine, disease such as asthma, downy mildew etc. it is used as pesticide, fungicide, including virus infection.


BIOLOGICAL SOURCE; dried latex obtained by incision of unripe capsule of papaver somniferum Linn.
FAMILY; Papaveraceae
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENT; opium alkaloid (present as salt of meconic acid)
1. Benzyl isoquinoline; Narcotine (Nascapine) Narceine,papaverine
2. Phenanthrene type; Morphine, codeine and Thebaine
USES; Hypnotic, sedativeanalgesic, morphine potent analgesic, codeine anti-tussive (Cough medicine), papverine anti spasmodic (smooth muscle relaxant) Semisynthetic derivative such as hydromorphone etc.
1. Meconic Acid Test; opium + water then boil it after boiling filter it then add fecl3 the result will be deep reddish purple.
2. Morphine +HNO3 →Orange red
3. Morphine + ferricyanide +Fecl3 →bluish green(8)


Papaver somniferum possess analgesic activity by the active constituent of thebaine. Semisynthetic partial agonist opioids drug Buprenorphine is derived from thebaine which acts on opioid mu receptor. It undergoes first pass metabolism. Through CYP (Cytochrome P450) it is metabolized by dealkylation then eliminated through urine. We performed its activity by introducing very low conc. of morphine in rabbits to show its analgesic action.


By Opium seeds we can even get a antioxidant activity. In order to get such type of activity first of all, poppy seeds fine powder was taken in a flask after addition of ethanol flask was placed in a water bath. As in the end slurry’s filteration was done and residue was been twice times extracted. After extraction, evaporation was done. Once extract‘s evaporation was completed it was stored at room temperature. Then in order to determine the antioxidant activity DPPH method was used in which extract was dissolved in methanol and it was being run on spectrophotometer. After getting a specific wavelength of 517nm lastly its antioxidant activity was calculated by a RSA formula and it was resulted that if we increase the extract dose we can get the increase antioxidant activity of opium poppy as well.

This plant also possess anti convulsant activity by methanolic extract which is extracted from the seeds of this plant. We performed an experiment on male mice we pretreated the animals with intra peritoneal injections with different doses of methanolic extract (12.5mg, 100mg and 200mg) then after 20 minutes injected the 12mg/kg picrotoxin to induce seizures After this we evaluated the onset and duration of seizures, we compared the results of treated animal and controlled animal then we concluded that the onset of seizures is delayed by methanolic extract of the papaver somniferum.(3)


codeine itself is isoquinoline alkaloid which is found in this plant, It acts as anti tussive,it suppress cough reflex in the cough center in medulla It is symptomatic treatment for unproductive cough.(4).we evaluated it’s property by giving codeine with 20mg dose in a chronic stable cough patient and proved that its more effective as anti tussive activity(4). At Tsukuba district, there is a research Centre for different medicinal plants resources where different plants were used and by several experiments and methods many alkaloids were obtained. The part of plant was used which is a source of interest either is dried form or lyophilized form for the process of extraction. For obtaining anti-tussive alkaloids powdered form of capsule of P. somniferum was used along with Juvenile leaves of P. somniferum. 150mg of powdered capsule is weighed and kept 2ml of eppendrof tube, (an instrument used for extraction purpose) along with 1.5ml of required solvent, than allow it to sonicate for 30 min. This mixture was mixed by the help of vortex mixer, then supernant/ frothy part was injected into HPLC system. Through this process alkaloids were analyzed by detecting peaks and each peak represents a specific alkaloid. LIQUID-LIQUID EXTRACTION of this plant was accomplished by this method. Here 50mg of powdered capsule were extracted with 5% acetic acid in a quantity of 5ml under sonication; mix it well with the help of mixer. After filtration 3ml of extract was cleaned with chloroform. The aqueous phase was made alkaline by adding 28% ammonia, after treating with chloroform the extract was allow to dry under nitrogen steam and remaining part was mixed in 50% volume of aqueous methanol and finally analyzed through HPLC technique[9].

2. Argemone Mexicana;
ArgenomeMexicana is found in Mexico. Its latex is bright yellow color. It is usually found in barren areas, its length is 3ft.It is also used medicinally in native areas Mexico, India.It consists of pale yellow non edible oil. And it contains the following isoquinoline alkaloids such as oxyberberine, dehydrocorydalmine,columbamine and jatrorrhizine. Its oil is poisonous for grazing animal
It is used as laxative; relieve kidney pain, to help expel a torn placenta, skin problems, malaria, cleaning of eyesight, cough, asthma, jaundice etc.
It is also possess some anti-microbial activity it is active against some disease such as klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonasaeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis etc.(7)


Argemone Mexicana Linn. Referred to as Ghamoya (Papaveraceae family) is an ancient herb known for its analgesic activity. Recent studies show that the ethanolic extract of A.mexicana leaves was assessed for peripheral analgesic effect by acetic acid prompting squirming reaction in mice, central analgesic by Hot plate method and Tail flicking method in mice. In comparison to Aspirin, A.mexicana metabolic extract shows great peripheral analgesic activity. For the administration of drug in mice 10mg of A.mexicana is dissolved in 100ml of water and another 20mg of drug is dissolved in 100ml of water. So, the drug extract injection of 10mg/100gm and 20mg/100gm is prepared. This injection is then intra-peritoneally injected into mice based on their weight. Firstly, for writhing methods, pains are induced by injecting acetic acid in peritoneal cavity of mice and observed by the behavioral changes. For control group 1ml IP distilled water is used while for treating group aspirin (25mg/kg) and aqueous extract of A.mexicana (10mg & 20mg)used respectively. After a while (10 minutes) result will be recorded. Secondly for tail flick method, the tip of mice tails was placed on radiant heat source. Normal withdrawal time for mice tail was from 3-5 minutes. After injecting A.mexicana 10mg and 20mg extract reaction time was noted down. Last for hot plate method, only distilled water (1ml IP) is used as control while the test group mice received ethanolic extract of drug (10mg & 20mg IP) and aspirin (25mg) respectively. After one hour of administration mice were placed in glass beaker on hot plate at 55 °C for 20 seconds, and recorded its result. (12)


It possess the anti-bacterial activity .methanol extract is derived from the isoquinoline alkaloid plant .Argenome Mexicana seed contain methanol and crude extract which is effective against gram negative such as pseudomonas aeruginosa and E.coli and gram positive such as bacillus subtilis.we identified it’s property by agar well diffusion method. In the method at 37c for 18hours bacterial strain is grown on nutrient agar after that we added the methanol extract 1% v/v then incubated the plates in air at 37c for 24 hours. After this we evaluated the antibacterial activity by measuring the zone where it inhibited the bacterial growth. (5) Methanol extract - After drying, the laboratory plant material was placed on the ground using a grinder. The sunlight was avoided to avoid loss of live components. In combination with 50 grams of 200 millimetres of methanol extract, the powder was converted into the corresponding plant material. The mixture was stored at room temperature in a closed container for 24 hours, protected from sunlight and some sample was mixed with sterile glass rods. A clean sheet of paper and the residue were also adjusted to the indicated concentration (50 ml of methanol per 50 g of the pulverulent residue of plant material) and repeated 3 times with the extraction liquid for extraction in order to obtain a clear solution and colourless. Area.. The extract was evaporated on a rotary evaporator to extract the methanol. The resulting semi-extracted extract was stored overnight in a freezer at -80 ° and then dried under a vacuum of 200 ml at -60 ° C for 24 hours. Then the extract was stored at 4 ° C in the inflamed area of the refrigerator for further use.
Test microorganism - Four bacterial strains were utilized amid the ponder. Gram positive microscopic organisms incorporate S. aureus MTCC 2940 and B. subtilis MTCC 441 and Gram negative microscopic organisms incorporate E. coli MTCC 739 and P. aeruginosa MTCC 2453. All the tried strains are reference strains and were gotten from The Microbiology Research facility of Burdwan Restorative College and Healing centre. The microscopic organisms were developed in supplement broth at 37°C and kept up on supplement agar inclines at 4 ° C.
The methanol extricates of A. Mexicana (takes off and seeds) appeared most extreme antibacterial movement against P. aeruginosa, taken after by E. coli, B. sublitis, and S. aureus.[5]


It is also significant in anti-inflammatory property. Ethanolic extract of ArgenomeMexicana which is isoquinoline alkaloid shows anti-inflammatory property. We injected the 200mg/kg dose of ethanolic extract in mice then after that we investigated its anti-inflammatory action by hot plate test and after this test it was proved that there is a presence of anti-inflammatory property Leaf extract active constituent might be responsible for this action such as cysteine,phenylalaninie and b-amyrin etc.(6).


Argenome Mexicana exhibit activity on CNS.. Approximately 2.15 kg of airborne portion (aerial portion)of plant were cut into little pieces, dried at room temperature and extracted by consecutive maceration with diverse solvents. After removal of solvents three crude extracts were found. two milligrams of each extract were broken up in chloroform (5ml). Dragendorff solution use as a revealing agent for alkaloids.Then perform isolation of alkaloid from ethanolic extract. Two grams of ethanolic extract were mixed with 35 ml of blend of chloroform-ethyl ether-ethyl liquor for 10 min.then add dilute ammonia for 8 hours then add distilled water 10ml and shake. The natural/organic phase with a ether- chloroform mixture and for complete extraction of alkaloid shake with 0.5 N and 5ml H2SO4 .then this acidic extract was filtered and with the dilute ammonia sol., It was alkalize. The obtaining alkaloids finally extract with a chloroform and then with a mix. Of ethanol and chloroform (1:1) it is washed .at last, solvent was totally evacuated employing a revolving evaporator. Then, Intraperitoneally administration of 200mg/kg dose of ethanolic extract and 200 ug/kg of alkaloid rich extract to female rats which were facing elevated plus maze test (EPM) show the anti-depressant activity in female rats, which were identifying by EPM test.(11)


We took two plants of isoquinoline one is papaver somniferum and second one was argemone Mexicana. In papaver somniferum thebaine is present which is proven to show analgesic activity as we discussed in the introduction the other one is methanolic extract which is proven to show anticonvulsant activity. Codeine is also present in papaver somniferum and it is proven to show antitussive activity. Opium poppy’s methanolic extract is proven to be a free radical scavenger. In Argemone Mexicana ethanolic extract of A.mexicana leave is proven to show analgesic activity. Argenome Mexicana seed contain methanol and crude extract which is proven to show antibacterial activity. Ethanolic extract of Argemone Mexicana which is isoquinoline alkaloid is proven to show anti-inflammatory property. Ethanolic extract of argemone Mexicana has proven to show anti-depressant activity.


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