Experiments in connection with the structure of emetine
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Emetine is the principal alkaloid of ipecacuanha root which is obtained from the plant known botanically as Psychotria Ipecacuanha, also called Cephaelis Ipecacuanha, indigenous to Brazil, and from Psychotria Acuminata found in Colombia, both members of the Rubiaceous Order. In this root emetine is accompanied by cephaeline and, in much smaller amount, by psychotrine, 0=methylpsychotrine and emetamine, the five alkaloids being closely related to each other chemically. The two chief medicinal properties of ipecacuanha root, namely its emetic effect and its ability to alleviate dysentery, have long been known, the name “ipecacuanha” itself being derived through Portugese from a native word meaning “road-side sick-making plant”. It is with the investigations into the constitution of the ipecacuanha alkaloids, and particularly with the modern work in this field, that we are concerned in the present dissertation. From considerations of space, in the historical survey much must necessarily be disregarded which to the present author seems irrelevant to the main issue, and in particular on account of the work of many early investigators will be omitted because in no way do their results appear to have disclosed anything of fundamental importance. A chapter is to be included recording the development, scope and modern position of the technique of dehydrogenation, a technique which forms the basis of a large section of the present investigation of which this thesis is a record.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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