virola biblio


Cumala ~ Paricá ~ Epená

Virola preparations in Amazonia

Family Myristicaceae

Virola theidora, V.. calaphylla, V. calophylloidea, V. elongata, V. rufula, V. cuspidata, V. elongata, V. peruviana,

V. surinamensis, V. lorentensis, V. sebifera , other species

A working bibliography of publications on Virola snuffs

Ethnopharmacol 1999 Feb;64(2):173-7

Anti-inflammatory activity of flavone and some of its derivates from Virola michelli Heckel.
Carvalho JC, Ferreira LP, da Silva Santos L, Correa MJ, de Oliveira Campos LM, Bastos JK, Sarti SJ
Laboratorio de Fitofarmacos, Instituto de Farmacia e Nutricao, Universidade de Alfenas, UNIFENAS, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The phytochemical study using Virola michelli Heckel (Myristicaceae) leaves allowed the isolation of a flavone named titonine (7,4′-dimethoxy-3′-hydroxyflavone). Titonine was further submitted to methylation and acetylation reactions yielding a 7,3′,4′-trimethoxyflavone and a 7,3′-dimethoxy-4′-acetylflavone, respectively. These compounds were evaluated for both anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity. The anti-inflammatory activity was evaluated in rats using the paw edema test with carrageenin, while the analgesic activity was determined in mouse using the writhing test method. The different animal groups were treated with three compounds (10 mg/kg -i.p.) thirty min prior to stimuli application. The inhibition levels obtained for each compound were 22, 41 and 68%, respectively. Using the writhing test, oral doses of 5, 10 and 15 mg/kg of natural flavone reduced the acetic acid-induced contortions in a dose-dependent manner. 

Planta Med 1998 Oct;64(7):667-8

Flavonoids and lignans from Virola surinamensis twigs and their in vitro activity against Trypanosoma cruzi.

Lopes NP, Chicaro P, Kato MJ, Albuquerque S, Yoshida M

Dichloromethane extracts from twigs of Virola surinamensis (Myristicaceae) showed in vitro trypanosomicidal activity against trypomastigote form of Trypanosoma cruzi. The extract, fractionated by preparative circular chromatography and preparative high-performance liquid chromatography yielded two steroids, two lignans, five flavonoids, and one polyketide. Among the isolated compounds, the lignans presented the highest trypanosomicidal activity. 

J Ethnopharmacol 1998 Aug;62(1):35-41

In vitro studies on mode of action of antifungal 8.O.4′-neolignans occurring in certain species of Virola and related genera of Myristicaceae.

Zacchino S, Rodriguez G, Santecchia C, Pezzenati G, Giannini F, Enriz R

Farmacognosia, Facultad de Ciencias Bioquimicas y Farmaceuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina.

Neutral racemic antifungal alcohols of 8.O.4′-neolignan type, were evaluated for inhibitory activity towards the fungal cell wall, using the whole cell Neurospora crassa hyphal growth inhibition assay. Results strongly suggested that these compounds could act by inhibiting cell wall polymer synthesis or assembly. Active compounds were tested for their inhibitory activities against (1,3)-beta-glucan synthase, an enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of the major wall polymer (1,3)-beta-glucan. Although these compounds were found to be inhibitors of the enzyme (inhibition ranging between 2 and 72% at 250 micro/ml), comparison of these results with those from agar dilution assays, allow us to infer that these compounds do not act via the inhibition of glucan synthase. In addition, ketones with same pattern of substitution as alcohols, which have no antifungal properties in agar dilution assays, still displayed similar glucan synthase inhibition. 

J Ethnopharmacol 1992 Oct;37(3):225-7

Brine shrimp bioassay screening of two medicinal plants used by the Warao: Solanum straminifolium and Virola surinamensis.

Beloz, A.  New York Botanical Garden, Institute of Economic Botany, Bronx 10458-5126. 

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.

J Ethnopharmacol 1984 Oct;12(1):93-111

Justicia pectoralis: a study of the basis for its use as a hallucinogenic snuff ingredient.

MacRae WD, Towers GH

The use of Justicia pectoralis var. stenophylla as a Virola snuff admixture and also as the sole ingredient of a snuff was investigated. Extracts of the plant did not contain alkaloids, although the ubiquitous compound, betaine, was isolated because of its reaction with alkaloid reagents. Nor did extracts have any significant effect upon the gross behavioral effects, or increased spontaneous motor activity, elicited in mice by 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyl-tryptamine (5-MeODMT), the primary psychotropic constituent of the Virola resin snuff. Coumarin and umbelliferone were identified because they are major constituents of the plant and because of their ability to relax smooth muscle.

J Ethnopharmacol 1984 Oct;12(1):75-92

An ethnopharmacological examination of Virola elongata bark: a South American arrow poison.

MacRae WD, Towers GH

The use of the resin of Virola elongata as an arrow poison was investigated. Aqueous and methanolic extracts of the dried bark were not observed to have toxic effects when administered intraperitoneally to mice. In an attempt to determine if the hallucinogenic indole alkaloid constituents of the bark, which form the basis for the alternate use of this material as a ceremonial snuff, could also be responsible for its use as an arrow poison, alkaloidal and non-alkaloidal extracts were compared with respect to their behavioral effects on mice. The non-alkaloidal extract was more effective in producing an observable alteration in behavior. This consisted of a marked reduction in spontaneous locomotor activity. The extract was fractionated and 13 of the major constituents assayed for their ability to reduce spontaneous locomotor activity. Most of this biological activity of the extract was attributable to the presence of the bis-tetrahydrofuran lignans, epi-sesartemin, sesartemin, epi-yangambin and yangambin. Each of these compounds was also observed to reduce isolation induced aggression when administered to mice.

Rev Farm Bioquim Univ Sao Paulo 1975 Jan-Jun;13(1):91-102

Investigation on fats of Virola surinamenis; I. Glyceride and acid composition, and chemical nature of various unsaponificable components.
[Article in Portugese] Baruffaldi, R., E. Fedeli and N. Cortesi

The A.A. report a work done on the influence of hypophysectomy on fluoride metabolism by the bones of rats. The results obtained indicate that hypophysectomy enhances F concentration in bones and teeth. The F retained is function of the growth of the animals and depends on the type of mineralization of the colagen matrix. All these effects seem related to the thyroid hypofunction subsequent to the pituitary removal.

J Pharm Sci 1973 Sep;62(9):1561-3

Phytochemical investigation of Virola peruviana, a new hallucinogenic plant.

Lai A., M. Tin-Wa, E.S. Mika, G.J. Persinos, and N.R. Farnsworth

Lloydia 1971 Mar;34(1):161-2

The isolation of 6-methoxyharmalan and 6-methoxyharman from Virola cuspidata.

Cassady J.M., G.E. Blair, R.F. Raffauf, and V.E. Tyler

Planta Med 1969 May;17(2):184-8

Constituents of the bark of Virola sebifera.

Corothie E and T. Nakano

Acta Chem Scand 1969;23(3):903-16

Alkaloids in certain species of Virola and other South American plants of ethnopharmacologic interest.

Agurell S., B. Holmstedt, J.E. Lindgren and R.E. Schultes

Medicinal Plants of the Peruvian Amazon

Amazon’s Sacred Healing Plants

Ayahuasca SpiritQuest: Listening To The Plants

Extraordinary Workshop Retreats

Exploring Traditional Ayahuasca Shamanism

and Entheobotany in the Peruvian Amazon

All rights reserved, © El Tigre Journeys, 1999-2012

website design by

Otorongo Blanco

revised November 22, 2004