Convolvulus Seeds: Lysergic Acid Alkaloids

Convolvulus is a large group of flowering plants that includes the morning glory plants (of which there are over 1000). Medicinally, convolvulus has been shown to have significant beneficial effects on mood. Extracts of both flowers and leaves show particular antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. However, the seeds of morning glory, and other convolvulus plants may contain lysergic acid alkaloids, including ergine, isoergine, ergometrine, ergometrine, elymoclavine, penniclavine, and chanoclavine. In addition, it has been found that variations in the content of these alkaloids are found between plants, with some plants being devoid of these alkaloids altogether. Interestingly, while it is the seeds of the convolvulus plants that are thought to contain the lysergic acid alkaloids, some plants do contain these alkaloids in the leaves and stems. Convolvulus therefore appear to metabolise compounds that result in the production of a number of lysergic alkaloids, but the medical significance of this is not fully understood. 

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Taber, W. A., Vining, L. C. and Heacock, R. A. 1963. Clavine and lysergic acid alkaloids in varieties of morning glory. Phytochemistry. 2(1): 65-70

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Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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