Poppy sleeping pills

Sleeping pill poppy is not found in the wild. Culture originated in prehistoric times. Currently, it is widely bred in the states of Asia Minor, Iran, Afghanistan, the states of Hindustan and Indochina, China, Japan, Egypt, etc. Several subspecies and many varieties are known, among which opium and oilseeds are distinguished. In the USSR, only oilseed varieties are bred. Opium varieties are grown for opium; its smoking is the greatest social scourge, but is still found in a number of countries. In 1936, 3.5 million people died from opium in China.

An annual powerful herbaceous plant up to 1-1.5 m high, rich in milky juice. The stem is densely leafy, bluish-green. Basal leaves up to 30 cm long, collected in a rosette, short-petiolate, elliptical, large-serrate or notched-lobed with a sharp-toothed edge. Stem leaves amplexicaul, from 20 (bottom) to 10 cm (top of the stem) long, broadly elliptical, sharp-toothed; all leaves are gray, glabrous or with sparse hairs along the veins. Flowers (from 1 to 10) are large, on long thick peduncles. The buds of opium varieties are large (3-4.5 cm long), bluish, drooping before flowering. The calyx is two-leaved, falling off before flowering. Corolla 4-petal; petals of different colors (white, purple, red, pink), up to 10 cm long; there are darker spots at the base of the petals. The fruit is a box with a diameter of up to 5 cm, rounded outlines, at the top with the remaining stellate stigma, the rays of which are connected into a disk by a leathery (in opium varieties) membrane. The seeds of opium varieties are white or light yellow, those of oilseeds are blue to grayish-black.

All organs of the plant contain alkaloids, the largest amount of which (up to 2.5%) accumulates in the milky juice of succulent capsules during their “opium maturity”. During this period, the collection of raw materials for opium begins by cutting boxes “on the vine”. Special knives allow you to apply 2-3 parallel cuts at the same time. In order to open probably more lactiferous tubes, incisions are made around the circumference of the boxes and so that they do not cut through the walls of the boxes. The incisions are made in the afternoon. Until the morning, the juice that has come out has time to dry; with all this, he turns brown. In the morning, dried juice is removed with crescent scrapers. The collected juice has a semi-liquid consistency, contains up to 45% water. After drying, raw opium is made from it, that is, it is molded into briquettes or blocks of other shapes. After full ripening, seeds are knocked out of the boxes,

More than 20 alkaloids have been isolated from opium, which belong to different subgroups of isoquinoline alkaloids.

A subgroup of morphine is morphine, codeine, thebaine, etc.

A subgroup of benzylisoquinoline and benzyltetrahydroisoquinoline – papaverine, narcotine, narcein, etc.

A subgroup of protoberberine – coptisine, berberine, etc.

A subgroup of protopin is protopin, cryptopin, allocryptopin, etc.

The quality of opium is regulated by the content of morphine in it – not less than 10%.

Opium (Opium) serves as a raw material for the production of salts of morphine, codeine, papaverine and a number of galenic products. In the USSR, morphine is extracted from broken bolls of oilseed poppy after threshing seeds from them. The content of morphine in this raw material reaches 0.3%. Codeine is obtained from morphine by methylation.

Morphine hydrochloride is used as an analgesic for all kinds of diseases and injuries, accompanied by severe pain. Extremely dangerous addiction and addiction (morphinism) develop to morphine. For this reason, new synthetic products free from this drawback are being introduced into medicine in the USSR. Codeine phosphate and pure codeine reduce the excitability of the cough center and are prescribed mainly for coughing.



Papaverine hydrochloride is used as an antispasmodic for spasms of blood vessels (hypertension, angina pectoris, migraine), spasms of smooth muscles of the abdominal organs and bronchial asthma.

The plant contains isoquinoline alkaloids.



Alkaloids are called natural nitrogen-containing compounds of the main nature, formed in plants. Groups of proteinogenic amines (for example, tyramine) and betaines (stakhidrin, trigonelline, etc.) adjoin the alkaloids, which are considered as transitional compounds from the simplest nitrogen-containing compounds (methylamine, trimethylamines, etc.) to the alkaloids proper.

Of natural pharmacologically active substances, alkaloids are the main group from which modern medicine draws the largest number of highly effective drugs.

According to world literature, by the end of the past decade, the number of alkaloids isolated from the higher plants of the Earth’s flora exceeded 5000. According to modern concepts, alkaloid-bearing plants make up 10% of the entire world flora. The families Equisetaceae, Lycopodiaceae, Ephedraceae, Liliaceae, Amaryllidaceae, Dioscoreaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Nymphaeaceae, Ranunculaceae, Berberidaceae, Menispermaceae, Papaveraceae, Fabaceae, Rutaceae, Cactaceae, Punicaceae contain the largest number of alkaloid-bearing genera and species. Loganiaceae, Apocynaceae, Borraginaceae, Solanaceae, Rubiaceae.

Usually plants that are phylogenetically close contain alkaloids that are very similar in structure, thus forming a natural group of genera. For example, plants of the genera Atropa, Datura, Hyoscyamys, Scopolia, Physochlaina, Duboisia. Mandragora (all from the same Solananeae family) contain a well-defined group of tropane alkaloids. This far-reaching pattern, however, has exceptions that have not yet been explained. So, for example, caffeine is found in plants that are not systematically related to each other: tea (Theaceae), coffee (Rubiaceae), cocoa (Sterculiaceae), mate (Aquifoliaceae), guarana (Sapindaceae), erodium (Geraniaceae). Along with this, there are cases when their 2 very close systematically species, one is rich in alkaloids, and the other either does not contain them at all, or contains alkaloids of a different structure.

Alkaloids can be found throughout the plant, or they can be formed and accumulated only in one or more specific organs. The plant traditionally contains not one, but several alkaloids. In individual plants, there may be 20 or more of them (cinchona, hypnotic poppy, etc.), and they may be similar in structure or belong to different chemical groups. In the sum of alkaloids, 1–3 traditionally predominate quantitatively (the main alkaloids). In plants, alkaloids are dissolved in the cell sap of the main parenchyma, phloem, and other tissues in the form of salts, mainly organic acids (malic, succinic, citric, oxalic, fumaric, quinic, etc.); of mineral acids, phosphoric acid is more often involved.

The quantitative content of alkaloids is, in principle, a species characteristic, and it varies over a very wide range. For example, in black henbane they are only 0.05-0.1%, and up to 15% accumulate in the cinchona bark. In the process of ontogenetic development of plants, their alkaloid content undergoes quantitative and sometimes qualitative changes, and each species has its own regularities.

The content of alkaloids in plants is influenced by their geographical location and various factors (air and soil temperature, precipitation, duration and intensity of sunlight, shading, height above sea level, etc.), as well as human impact in the case of transferring the plant to cultivation or its acclimatization. The largest number of alkaloid-bearing species, moreover, with a high content of alkaloids, is common in subtropical and tropical states with a humid climate. Alkaloids of different structure are confined to certain latitudes, and in connection with this, their pharmacological activity changes.

There is no consensus on the biological role and causes of the formation of alkaloids in plants. The main hypotheses proposed at different times interpret alkaloids as: 1) waste products of the vital activity of a plant organism; 2) spare substances; 3) protective substances; 4) active substances necessary for biosynthesis. The latter hypothesis is currently considered by most scientists to be the most general one, which, however, does not exclude other biological functions of alkaloids.

The exceptional diversity in the structure of alkaloid molecules does not allow us to imagine a single way of their formation in plants. Their biosynthesis proceeds according to specific schemes with the most complex chemical transformations (ring opening and closing, oxidation, deamination, ring condensation, etc.) through many intermediate products. Some alkaloids begin biogenesis from amino acids, others from acetic acid (in other words, from carbohydrates).

The modern classification of alkaloids is based on the nature of the heterocycles included in their molecules, with the release into a separate group of alkaloids with an aliphatic structure and with nitrogen in the side chain.

1. Alkaloids with an aliphatic structure or with nitrogen in the side chain;

2. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

3. Piperidine and pyridine alkaloids.

4. Alkaloids with condensed and pyrrolidone and piperidine rings.

5. Quinoline alkaloids.

6. Quinazoline alkaloids.

7. Isoquinoline alkaloids.

8. Indole alkaloids.

9. Alkaloid of the imidazole group.

10. Purine alkaloids.

11. Diterpene alkaloids.

12. Steroid alkaloids (glycoalkaloids).

13. Alkaloids of unknown structure.

In conclusion of this brief review, it should be pointed out that most alkaloids are highly active substances with selective pharmacological action. The selectivity of the action of alkaloids determines their widespread use for medicinal purposes. The main forms are extraction products (tinctures, extracts, novogalenic preparations, etc.) and pure alkaloids isolated from plants, converted into soluble salts of certain inorganic and organic acids.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *