Pharmacognosy - medicinal plants (herbs)

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Opium Alkaloids. Morphine, Codeine, Heroin, Papaverine.

Opium Alkaloids

These alkaloids are divided into 5 chemical groups:

1. Benzylisoquinoline (codamine)

2. Phenanthrene (codeine, morphine)

3. Tetrahydroquinoline (hydrocotamine)

4. Cryptopine

5. Alkaloids of unknown structures (papaverine)

Opium plant

The groups of most pharmaceutical importance from the ones above are derived from first and second groups. Examples:


Powerful reliever for chronic pain. It's toxic and addictive.

Its effects are softer than morphine but is less addictive. It is used to reduce coughing.

Semisynthetic derivative that produces analgesia similar to morphine. It is a highly addictive drug so its use is restricted to extreme situations under medical authorization.


Antispasmodic of the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal, biliary and genitourinary tract.


Morphine and related opioids are active ingredients that should be used with extreme caution as they have various effects that can be analgesia, drowsiness, changes in mood, respiratory depression, decreased gastrointestinal motility, nausea, vomiting and alterations of the endocrine and nervous systems.

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