Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Alkaloids
in Coca Leaf

We received an email regarding volatile and involitile alkaloids and there is a lot of margin in the subject to create confusion , so, we are going to make it as simple as possible:

An alkaloid is, strictly speaking, a naturally occurring amine produced by a plant, but amines produced by animals and fungi are also called alkaloids. Many alkaloids have pharmacological effects on humans and other animals. The name derives from the word alkaline; originally, the term was used to describe any nitrogen-containing base.
Certain alkaloids like Nicotine found in coca leaf , Cocaine, Ecgonine, etc are volatile alkaloids, Volatile Alkaloids means that they can be extracted from plants by extraction with organic solvent. For example seeds which are rich in oils can be extracted with petroleum ether. Methanol is also used to extract the alkaloids and after filtration and evaporation the extract is diluted with water acidified and steam distilled to remove the last traces of methanol. After several days at 0 - 5oC the aqueous residue usually clears and it is then possible to separate the organic layer. The organic material is extracted with ether or chloroform, the extracts evaporated and steam distilled again. Volatile alkaloids are separated. The aqueous residue is made alkaline and extracted yet again. The extracts are evaporated and then begin the task of trying to separate the constituents in crystalline form either as the free base or if not as acid salts.
There is a wide variety of structural types of alkaloid e.g. monocyclic, dicyclic, tricyclic, tetracyclic etc. as well as cage structures.
So… cocaine is a volatile alkaloid, you can extract cocaine from coca leaf using different compounds and solvents. Pure cocaine remains legal (though uncommon and highly regulated) for medical use as a local anaesthetic, even in children, in many jurisdictions, used particularly for dental, throat, and nasal surgery

A different example is the coca cola syrup, they discard the cocaine alkaloid but they extract other volatile alkaloids used as part of their "secret recipe" which alkaloids?? .... there is the secret!

Involatile compounds, include organics, organometallics, peptides, proteins and other polymers. Besides cocaine, coca leaf contains a number of other alkaloids, including methylecgonine cinnamate, benzoylecgonine, truxilline, hydroxytropacocaine, tropacocaine, Ecgonine, cuscohygrine, dihydrocuscohygrine, nicotine and hygrine; some volatile and some involitile which are used for different reasons, that's why coca leaf is so complex, not only because it contains the alkaloid cocaine but also contains other alkaloids, proteins, vitamins & mineral.
And no coca tea is not addictive, it contains translamilcocacine and sinamilcocacine (molecules that are lost in cocaine), that prevent addiction. http://mysteriousbolivia.blogspot.com/search?q=interview+oruro

C.B.R.A.
references:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine
http://www.staffs.ac.uk/schools/sciences/chemistry/tebby/alkaloids.html

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