The chemistry of Salvia divinorum
AuthorMUNRO, THOMAS ANTHONY
AffiliationScience: School of Chemistry
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsMunro, T. A. (2006). The chemistry of Salvia divinorum. PhD thesis, Science: School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2006 Thomas Anthony Munro.
Salvia divinorum is a hallucinogenic sage used to treat illness by the Mazatec Indians of Mexico. Salvinorin A (1a), a neoclerodane diterpenoid isolated from the plant, is a potent, selective agonist at the kappa opioid receptor (KOR), and is the first non-nitrogenous opioid. The plant is used recreationally as a hallucinogen, but is unpopular due to its dysphoric effects. 1a has been prohibited in Australia under an invalid systematic name. An early report of psychoactive alkaloids in S. divinorum proved to be irreproducible. Similarly, tests in mice suggesting the presence of psychoactive compounds other than 1a were confounded and therefore unreliable. In this work, an improved isolation method for 1a was developed, using filtration through activated carbon to decolourise the crude extract. Six new diterpenoids were isolated: salvinorins D–F (1d–1f) and divinatorins A–C (28a–28c). Five known terpenoids not previously reported from this species were also isolated. The structure–activity relationships of 1a were evaluated via selective modifications of each functional group. Useful synthetic methods are reviewed, including the first thorough review of furanolactone hydrogenations. Testing of the derivatives at the KOR suggests that the methyl ester and furan ring of 1a are required for activity, but that the lactone and ketone functionalities are not. Other compounds from S. divinorum did not bind to the KOR, suggesting that 1a is the plant’s active principle.
KeywordsSalvia divinorum; salvinorin; divinatorin; terpenoid; neoclerodane diterpenoid; alkaloid; Valdes; Diaz; epimerization; kappa opioid receptor; HIV; activated carbon; amorphous solid; legal status; systematic name
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