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

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


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Betaine / pharmacology
  • Coumarins / analysis
  • Female
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lignans
  • Male
  • Methoxydimethyltryptamines / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plants, Medicinal* / analysis
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Tobacco*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless*


  • Alkaloids
  • Coumarins
  • Hallucinogens
  • Lignans
  • Methoxydimethyltryptamines
  • Plant Extracts
  • Betaine