Alkaloid compounds

An alkaloid is a plant-derived compound that is toxic or physiologically active. Alkaloids are naturally occurring chemical compounds containing basic nitrogen atoms. The name derives from the word alkaline and was used to describe any nitrogen – containing base.

Alkaloids make up approximately 20% of the known secondary metabolites founds in plants. Alkaloids act as defense compounds in plants, being efficient against pathogens and predators due to their toxicity.

They also may act as reservoirs for protein synthesis. They may act as protective substances against the animal or insect attacks. Like hormones, they may function as plant stimulants or regulators in activities like growth, metabolism and reproduction.

Plant alkaloids represent a diverse array of secondary plant metabolites exemplified by familiar compounds such as nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, mescaline, ephedrine, and strychnine.

Chemically classified as amines, plant alkaloids are defined by their function as bases generally containing one or more nitrogen atoms within a heterocyclic structure.

Alkaloids have been utilized by humans for years. They have diverse applications in pharmaceuticals. They have been proven to be effective in treating a number of diseases. Several alkaloids isolated from natural herbs exhibit antiproliferation, antibacterial, antiviral, insecticidal, and antimetastatic effects on various types of cancers both in vitro and in vivo.

Despite their obvious importance, these alkaloids are toxic to humans. Their toxicity is dependent on a range of factors, such as specific dosage, exposure time and individual properties.

Alkaloids should be divided into 3 subgroups: Proper Alkaloids, Proto Alkaloids, Pseudo alkaloids
Alkaloid compounds

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