Wednesday, February 24, 2016

1833: Atropine Discovered as active ingredient in asthma cigarettes

Figure 6 -- A variety of asthma cigarettes were available.
There had to be something in the nightshade family of plants that produced the medicinal effect, and this component was the alkaloid Atropine.

Atropine was first derived from the belladonna plant in 1833.   By 1867 Atropine was isolated by von Bezold.  It was then determined to be a component alkaloid of the various nightshade plants found in India, including the datura strammonium, atropa belladonna, and the hyoscyamus niger (black henbane), and Lobelia inflata (According to

Early studies showed atropine was the potent component in the plant, the same component that dried secretions, increased heart rate, opened air passages, and produced a hallucinogenic effect.  It was the ingredient that that made the nightshade family of plants so sought after.

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