Biological activity of the alkaloids of Erythroxylum coca and Erythroxylum novogranatense

J Ethnopharmacol. 1984 May;10(3):261-74. doi: 10.1016/0378-8741(84)90015-1.


The cultivated Erythroxylum varieties E. coca var. coca, E. coca var. ipadu, E. novogranatense var. novogranatense and E. novogranatense var. truxillense contain 18 alkaloids, identified so far, belonging to the tropanes, pyrrolidines and pyridines, with cocaine as the main alkaloid. The biological activity of the following alkaloids has been reported in the literature: cocaine, cinnamoylcocaine, benzoylecgonine, methylecgonine, pseudotropine, benzoyltropine, tropacocaine, alpha- and beta-truxilline, hygrine, cuscohygrine and nicotine. The biological activity of cocaine and nicotine is not reviewed here, because it is discussed elsewhere in the literature. Hardly anything is known about the biological activity of the other alkaloids present in the four varieties mentioned. The biosynthesis of the coca alkaloids has been outlined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Anesthetics / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Coca / analysis*
  • Cocaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Mice
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Pyrrolidines / pharmacology
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Tropanes / pharmacology
  • United Nations


  • Alkaloids
  • Anesthetics
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Tropanes
  • tropacocaine
  • hygrine
  • benzoylecgonine
  • tropine
  • Cocaine
  • cinnamoylcocaine
  • ecgonine methyl ester