Ibogaine protects the N-methyl-D-aspartate neuron receptors against excessive release of excitatory amino acids and represents, therefore, a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's chorea, and other
brain diseases. The flora of tropical Asia is a rich source of Apocynaceae, including medicinal species, and represents therefore an exciting source of potentially sero-toninergic alkaloids for the treatment of depression. In this section, two species belonging to the genus Ervatamia, which is closely related to the genus Tabernanthe, are described.
Ervatamia pandacaqui (Poir.) Pichon (Tabernaemontana cuminingiana A. DC., Taber-naemontana pandacaqui Poir., Tabernaemontana semperflorens Perr., Tabernaemontana thailandensis P. T. Li.), or ping mai gou ya hua (Chinese) or susun kepala (Philippino), is a shrub that grows to a height of 4 m. The plant grows wild in China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand; Australia, and the Pacific Islands. The leaves are decussate and elliptic. The corolla is white and salver-shaped, with five lobes obliquely oblong and falcate. The fruits are pairs of follicles obliquely ellipsoid (Fig. 38). In the Philippines, the plant is used to soothe bruises and swellings. A decoction of the root and bark is used to treat intestinal disorders and to treat the bites of poisonous animals.
A crude alkaloidal fraction from the stem of Tabernaemontana pandacaqui decreased the motor activity, respiratory rate, induced ataxia, antinociception, and loss of screen grip in rats, suggesting a CNS depression. The extract brought about the prolongation of pentobarbital sleeping time and the oxotremorine-induced salivation, hence possible cholinergic effects (13).
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