opium alkaloids l.
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Opium Alkaloids. Occurrence: Opium is the air-dried milky exudate , or latex, obtained by incising the mature unripe capsules of the opium poppy Papaver somniferum (Fam. Papaveraceae). Sources: Turkey- India- Europe.

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opium alkaloids
Opium Alkaloids
  • Occurrence:

Opium is the air-dried milky exudate, or latex, obtained by incising the mature unripe capsules of the opium poppyPapaver somniferum (Fam. Papaveraceae).

  • Sources:Turkey- India- Europe.
  • Illegal Production:Afganistan- Pakistan- Iran- Purma, Laos, Thiland.
  • Constituent of Opium:

Opium contain more than 40 alkaloids usually combined with a specific acid (Meconic acid) or with other acids e.g. sulfuric and acetic acids.

  • Tests for identification of Meconic acid:

Meconic acid + FeCl3gives purplish red colour

  • Not destroyed by dilute HCl (c.f. from ferric acetate and formate)
  • Unaffected by addition of HgCl2 (c.f. from thiocyanate)

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Opium alkaloids can be subclassified into 3 main groups with different basic nuclei:

  • Phenanthrene alkaloids e.g. morphine and codeine.
  • Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids e.g. papaverine and noscapine (narcotine).
  • Phenylethylamine alkaloids e.g. narceine

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phenantheren group
Phenantheren group:
  • Morphine:


  • Morphine is levorotatory, insoluble in water, sparingly soluble in ethanol (1:250) and chloroform (1:1500), practically insoluble in etherand benzene.
  • It contains 2 OH groups, one is a phenolic at C-3 (gives a soluble phenate with alkali) and the other is a 2ry alcoholic at C-6.

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tests for identification
Tests for identification:
  • Tests due to phenolic properties:

1- Morphine gives a blue color with FeCl3.

2- Nitrous acid test: solution of morphinein dilute HCl + NaN02 +NaOH red color.

3- Morphine + dil H2SO4 + HI→ I2give violet colour when dissolve in CHCl3

  • Tests with alkaloidal color reagents:

1- Liebermann' s reagent black color.

2- Mandalin's reagent bluish-gray color.

3- Marquis' reagent violet color.

4- HNO3→red colour convert to yellow on heating.

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  • Morphine act as a narcotic analgesic (reduce pain & induce sleep) in a dose of 5-20 mg of morphine hydrochloride, sulfate or tartrate, administered orally or parentrally, every 4 hours.
  • Used before and after surgical operations and to terminally ill cancer patients.
  • Suppress peristaltic movement so stops diarrhea.
  • Adverse Effects:
  • Two major problems are associated to morphine use:

Addiction and Tolerance.

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  • It is soluble in H2O, boiling H2O, ethanol, CHCl3 and ether, (c.f. morphine).
  • Codeine is non Phenolic.


  • Codeine + concentrated H2SO4+ FeCl3, warm in water bath bluish violet color + HNO3Red color.


  • It has less narcotic analgesic than morphine.
  • It is mainly used as antitussive.

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  • Papaverine


It is a weak base and is optically inactive.

  • Tests for identification
  • Warren's test (specific for papaverine):

Papaverine + crushed crystal of KMnO4

+ Marqui's reagent  green color  blue.

  • Uses:

Papaverine possesses smooth muscle relaxant activity. It is used as antispasmodicfor GIT spasms, clots andin bronchial asthma in a dose up to 600 mg of papaverine HCl daily.

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semi synthetic derivatives of morphine
Semi-synthetic derivatives of Morphine:
  • Heroin

It is the diacetyl derivative of morphine. It has no any medical applications but it is one of the most dangerous abused substance.

  • Apomorphine

Obtained by heating morphine with coc. HCl in sealed vials. During this reaction rearrangement and elimination of water takes place. Apomorphine is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and erectile dysfunction.

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N atom substitution:

Methyl group in nitrogen resulted in compounds with analgesic effects. Ethyl morphine is also analgesic. Compounds with 3- 5 carbons alkyl group on nitrogen are antagonists. More than 5 carbons the compounds again are analgesic.

  • Ether bridge opening (ring E):

Resulted in group of compounds called morphinans. Synthetic morphinans are racemic compounds. Only the levo isomers have analgesic activity. Levorphanol is 8 times as active as morphine. The dextro isomers as dextromethorphane lack the CNS and analgesic effects, however, they are used as cough suppressants.

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The C-3 Hydroxyl group:

Etherification of this phenolic OH decrease the analgesic activity and the compounds are used mainly as antitussive e.g. Codeine and Pholcodine.

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The C-6 Hydroxyl group and ring c modifications:

Removal or derivatization of the alcoholic hydroxyl group at C-6 increase lipophilicity and consequently the analgesic activity.

Reduction of the 7,8 double bond, oxidation of C-6 hydroxyl and addition of OH group at C-14 all increase the activity.

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  • Narceine
  • Properties:

It is a tertiary Alkaloids. Narceine is an amphoteric alkaloid since it contain a carboxylic group.

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