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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Alkaloids

The drug consists of the leaves of Pilocarpus jaborandi, belonging to family Rutaceae






Jaborandi, Arruda do Mato, Arruda brava, Jamguarandi, Juarandi.


Biological Source


The drug consists of the leaves of Pilocarpus jaborandi, belonging to family Rutaceae


Geographical Source


It is indigenous to South America and especially grown in Brazil also it is found in Venenzuela, Caribbean islands and Central America.




Dr. Coutinho in 1874 sent the plant to Europe from Pernambuco, hence the name Pernambuco jaborandi or Pilocarpus jaborandi. Later, Byasson in 1875 showed its alkaloidal nature and further Gerrard and Hardy isolated the main alkaloid pilocarpine.




The shrub grows from 4 to 5 feet high; the bark is smooth and greyish; the flowers are thick, small and reddish-purple in colour, springing from rather thick, separate stalks about 1/4 inch long. The leaves are large compound, pinnate with an odd terminal leaflet, with two to four pairs of leaflets.

                     Pilocarpus jaborandi  

Chemical Constituents


The drug contains imidazole alkaloids among, which pilocarpine is most important. Other alkaloids are isopilocarpine, pilocarpidine, pilosine, pseudopilocarpine and isopilosine. The range of total alkaloids in different species is between 0.5% and 1%.



Chemical Test


To the drug containing pilocarpine, small quantities of dilute sulphuric acid, hydrogen peroxide solution, benzene and potassium chromate solution is added and shaken, organic layer gives bluish-violet colour and yellow colour appears in aqueous layer.




Pilocarpine is antagonistic to atropine, stimulating the nerve endings paralysed by that drug, and contracting the pupil of the eye. Its principal use is as a powerful and rapid diaphoretic. It induces also free salivation and excites most gland secretions, some regarding it as a galactagogue. It is also used in ophthalmic practice in the treatment of glaucoma.


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