Macrolactam indole alkaloid

Ipomoea obscura (L.) Ker-Gawl., or obscure morning glory, is a slender climber common on fences. It is native to tropical East Africa, the Mascarene Islands, tropical Asia, throughout the Malay Archipelago, to northern Australia and Fiji. The leaves are cordate to 5 cm long and the flowers are infundibuliform and creamy white (Fig. 35). In Indonesia, a paste of leaves is applied on sores, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and swellings. The seeds of Ipomoea obscura (L.) Ker-Gawl are known to contain unusual indole alkaloids including ipobscurines B-D, being unique structural types characterized as serotonin hydroxycinnamic acid amide-type conjugates with a second phenylpropanoid moiety forming an ether with the 5-OH position of the indole nucleus (10). It would be interesting to know whether or not these alkaloids hold some potential as promoters of serotoninergic neurotransmission.

Fig. 35. Ipomoea obscura (L.) Ker-Gawl. Flora of Malaya. FRI No 27419. Geographical localization: Kuala Selangor, Malaysia November 10, 1983. Collector: F.S.B Ng. Botanical identification: F.S.B Ng, 4.2.1986.

Ipomoea digitata L. (Ipomoea paniculata var. digitata Kuntze, Quamoclit digitata [L.] G. Don, Convolvulus paniculatus [Burm. f.] Kuntze, Ipomoea paniculata [L.] R. Br, Ipomoea mauritiana Jacq.), or alligator yam, vidari, bhumy kushmanda (Sanskrit), or jari buaya (Malay), is found in India and Southeast Asia. The plant is grown for ornamental purposes. The roots are ovoid, large, and tuberous. The leaves are large, palmately five to seven lobed, ovate, lanceolate, acute, or acuminate. The flowers are infundibuliform and purple and campanulate-infundibuliform. The fruits are small and ovoid capsules. There are four seeds in each fruit that are black and woolly (Fig. 36). In Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, the tubers are used to invigorate, stimulate venereal desire, prevent obesity, and moderate menses. In India, it is used as a general tonic, to treat diseases of the spleen and liver, for menorrhagia, debility, and fat accumulation. To date, the plant is unstudied for its potential as a source of neuroactive compounds. Ipomoea indica (Convolvulus indicus J. Burman, Ipomoea congesta R. Brown), or ocean blue morning, glory, koaliawa (Hawaii), is a slender climber native to South America, and is cultivated and naturalized in coastal habitats and moist forests in several tropical countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pacific Islands. The leaves are cordate to 10 cm long. The flowers are infundibuliform, grow up to 7 cm long and 5 cm in diameter, and are deep blue in color (Fig. 37).

Fig. 36. Ipomoea digitata L. Forest Flora, Malay Peninsula. No 37918. Geographical localization: Peteni Hill, Kelantan, 10/16/1934. Collector: C.F. Symington.
Fig. 37. Ipomoea indica. Forest Flora, Malay Peninsula. No 22249. Geographical localization: Gap Sanitarium garden, 1/20/1930. Collector: Symington. Botanical identification: 1958.

In Taiwan, the roots are used to relieve the bowels from costiveness. To date, the pharmacological potential of this plant is unknown.

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