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amphetamines-in-plants



Posted in: Ask the Experts | May 7, 2009



I heard about a plant that was a natural source of amphetamines - any truth to this?

I’m guessing you are talking about Acacia rigidula (also called blackbrush), a shrub found in southern Texas. Acacia rigidula has been known for some time to contain toxic alkaloids. Sheep and goats that graze on the shrub have developed uncoordinated muscle movements referred to as locomotor ataxia. In an effort to identify potential compounds of the plant that might cause this condition, researchers performed a detailed chemical analysis of leaves and stems from Acacia rigidula. The report published almost 10 years ago indicated more than 40 amines and alkaloids were detectable using highly sensitive gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GCMS). The level of amphetamine was extremely low (11.8 parts per million). The most abundant compound was N-methylphenethylamine (5265), followed by tyramine (1699 ppm), and N-methyltyramine (1238 ppm), and phenethylamine(1136 ppm). With the exception of amphetamines, these compounds are naturally found in foods and extracts. At higher levels they could possess psychoactive effects, but at these very low levels any biologic effects would likely be minimal. There could be side effects with higher intakes of tyramine compounds especially in individuals taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The plant does have an interesting mixture of chemicals, but considering the low concentrations and adverse effects seen in animals foraging on the shrub, I don’t think there is any good reason to supplement with Acacia rigidula



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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.



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