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Psychotria colorata (plant)


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Psychotria colorata is a member of the Rubiaceae family native to Brazil. It has been recorded as being used among the Ka’apor people of Maranhão, Brazil. Aqueous extracts of the flowers and leaves contain pyrrolidinoindoline alkaloids such as hodgkinsine. Flowers have the highest concentration, followed by the leaves. Early reports suggest it was only used externally in a traditional setting, while more recent experimentation with it has focused on eating the leaves.

An ethnopharmacological survey showed that home remedies prepared with flowers and fruits of Psychotria colorata are used by Amazonian peasants as pain killers. Psychopharmacological in vivo evaluation of alkaloids obtained from leaves and flowers of this species showed a marked dose-dependent naloxone-reversible analgesic activity, therefore suggesting an opioid-like pharmacological profile. This paper reports an inhibitory effect of P. colorata flower alkaloids on [3H]naloxone binding in rat striata as well as a decrease in adenylate cyclase basal activity. The alkaloids did not affect [3H] GMP-PNP binding. These findings provide a neurochemical basis for the opioid-like activity previously detected in vivo and point to Psychotria alkaloids as a potential source of new bioactive opiate derivatives.

Amador TA, Elisabetsky E, Souza DO. Effects of Psychotria colorata alkaloids in brain opioid system. Neurochem Res. 1996 Jan;21(1):97-102.

Care and Cultivation of Psychotria colorata

Psychotria colorata prefers a part shade, moist, well-drained position in the garden and a rich loam soil with adequate fertiliser. Plants are quite water hungry and wilt easily when the soil dries out, so keep well watered.

1 plant


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