Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Myristica sebifera

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Trituration of red, acrid, very poisonous gum obtained by incising bark

Constituents – The bark contains indole alkaloids derived from the amino acid tryptophan, and its decarboxylation product tryptamine.
The main alkaloid is N,N-dimethyltryptamine.
Other alkaloids are dimethyltryptamine-N-oxid, 5-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine( Bufotenine), 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, N-methyl-N-acetyltryptamine, N-methyl-N-formyltryptamine, N-monomethyltryptamine,and 2-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-__carboline.
Additional constituents are leucanthocyanes, tannic acids, and carbohydrates.(EDRA).
The seeds contain capric acid, decanoic acid, fat, lauric acid, linoloeic acid,laurodimyristin, myristic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and trimyristin.
The leaves contain elemecine, galbacine, surinamensine, veraguensine, and violine.

Toxicology – The major tryptamines possess psychoactive potency, and can produce central nervous system effects in human similar to those of lysergic acid diethylamide. These effects include behavioural changes, hyperreflexia, hallucinations, tachycardia, tachypnea, and mydriasis.) (EDRA)
Long term use of the snuff obtained from the bark leads to degenerative changes of nasal mucous membrane.
There is no available information as to genotoxic or carcinogenic effects of Myristica sebifera.

Pharmacology –Pharmacological activity of Myristica sebifera constituents can mainly be attributed to the tryptamine like alkaloids.
 Tryptamine derivatives have a neurophysiological function as neurotransmitters of the central nervous system and intracellular mediators.
These substances act as antagonists on some types of serotonin receptors in the brain. N,N-dimethyltryptamine and 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, in very small amounts occur as endogenous products of tryptophan metabolism.

Nat Prod Res. 2005 Oct;19(7):661-6.
Antioxidant activity of aryltetralone lignans and derivatives from Virola sebifera (Aubl.).
Rezende KR, Davino SC, Barros SB, Kato MJ.
Faculdade de Farmacia, Universidade Federal de Goias, Goiania, GO, Brazil.

Aryltetralone lignans bearing methylenedioxy groups (1a-b; 2a-b) were isolated from seeds of Virola sebifera. Their antioxidant activities were evaluated by inhibition of lipid peroxidation as indicated by TBARS and chemiluminescence emission (CL) assays. The lignan 1c, 'having a 2'-hydroxy-4',5'-methylenedioxyphenyl group, was the most active compound with TBARS/CL Q 1/2 values of 0.89 and 0.10 microg/mL, respectively. The catechol derivatives 3 and 4, obtained by demethylenation of lignans 1a and 2a, were of similar activity to 1c, and all were much more effective as antioxidants than alpha-tocopherol.

J Psychoactive Drugs 1990 Jul-Sep;22(3):357-61
Virola: a promising genus for ethnopharmacological investigation.
Plotkin, M. J. and R.E. Schultes
Plant Conservation, Conservation International, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Data are now available on the antifungal use of Virola from four countries and some 14 different tribes of Indians in these countries who employ the Virola exudate for the same or similar purposes. Three of the five methods of ethnobotanical investigation proposed by Schultes and Swain in 1976 have been employed in this ethnobotanical research. Furthermore, both of the present authors have successfully employed this antifungal treatment themselves. Given that deep fungal infections of the skin are often considered incurable with medications currently in use, further laboratory analysis of Virola resin should be undertaken as soon as possible.  

J Ethnopharmacol 1985 Mar;13(1):3-49
A multidisciplinary overview of intoxicating snuff rituals in the western hemisphere.
de Smet, P.A.
Part one of the paper discusses ethnobotanical, chemical and general pharmacological aspects of intoxicating snuff rituals in the western hemisphere. Four categories of ritual snuff ingredients arise from this multidisciplinary approach: It is well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles and the Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is confirmed or quite probable: Anadenanthera, Erythroxylum, Nicotiana, Virola; It is well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles, but the Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is not well recorded or even unlikely: Banisteriopsis, Cannabis, Datura, Ilex guayusa; The Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is confirmed or quite probable, but it is not well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles: Justicia pectoralis, Pagamea macrophylla, Tanaecium nocturnum; The Indian use of the plant as a ritual snuff ingredient is not well recorded, and it is not well established that the plant contains one or more psychoactive principles: Acorus calamus, Capsicum, Macquira sclerophylla, Piper interitum. Part two of the paper discusses the nasal pharmacokinetics and efficacy of possible ritual snuff constituents. The literature yields convincing clinical evidence that atropine, cocaine, nicotine and scopolamine are effective following nasal application, but experimental confirmation of the efficacy of nasal tryptamine alkaloids is still awaited. In self-experiments, 6.4 mg/kg of caffeine produced substantial plasma levels via the nasal route, but 0.5 mg/kg of harmine did not produce measurable plasma levels, when taken as a nasal powder. Without additional experiments, it is difficult to give a definite explanation for this negative result.  

J Ethnopharmacol 1984 Nov;12(2):179-211
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors in South American hallucinogenic plants Part 2: Constituents of orally-active Myristicaceous hallucinogens.
McKenna,  D.J., G.H. Towers and F.S. Abbott
Alkaloid constituents in Myristicaceous bark and leaf samples and in purportedly hallucinogenic preparations derived from Myristicaceous sources were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed using TLC, GC, alkaloid precipitation tests and GC/MS. Fourteen of the 27 bark and leaf samples analyzed contained detectable amounts of alkaloids. The major bases were N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and/or 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT); much smaller amounts of tryptamine and/or N-methyl-tryptamine (NMT) were also usually present. beta-Carbolines were not detected in the bark or leaf samples. Considerable variation in alkaloid profiles was found, extending to different collections of the same species. Fourteen of the 20 Virola samples contained alkaloids; none of the 6 Iryanthera species had detectable alkaloids. Osteophloem platyspermum contained an indolic base, identified as N-methyl-tryptophan methyl ester. Seven samples of an orally-ingested drug made from Virola spp. were analyzed. All except one contained substantial amounts of tryptamines; the types and proportions of tryptamines present varied greatly between samples. Samples of Yanomama snuff including various admixtures were analyzed and all components but one contained tryptamines.
The drug samples having the highest concentrations of alkaloids contained 15-20 mg/g dry wt while the Myristicaceous bark and leaf samples had much lower concentrations ranging from 0.04 to 0.25 mg/g dry wt. beta-Carbolines were detected as trace constituents in only two of the Myristicaceous drug samples. Four Myristicaceous paste samples were bioassayed in self-experiments. Two of the samples were devoid of detectable hallucinogenic or physiological activity, while some degree of oral activity was detected in two other samples. The activity of a number of tryptamine derivatives as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) was investigated using an in vitro enzyme assay. Activity was measured using single compounds and mixtures of compounds and the results were compared to the activity of samples of orally-ingested Myristicaceous pastes. Tryptamine derivatives had significantly less MAOI activity than the activity of beta-carboline derivatives measured in a previous study. Some structural correlations for MAOI activity were found for the tryptamine derivatives. Samples of orally-ingested Myristicaceous pastes were assayed for MAOI activity. The inhibition elicited by the paste samples was closely matched by mixtures of tryptamine standards having comparable proportions and concentrations.