The Logan botanical family Loganiaceae

The Logan plant family (Loganiaceae Lindl.) is abundant in species containing L-tyrosine (Figure 12) derived alkaloids (Table 4). Thirty genera and more than 500 species belong to this family although new systematic research has proposed that Loganiaceae should be divided into several families319. The Logan plant genus (Strychnos L.) is especially rich in many of alkaloids such as strychnine,


Figure 12. L-tyrosine, with its aromatic side chain, is a precursor of phenylethylamino- and isoquinoline alkaloids.


Figure 12. L-tyrosine, with its aromatic side chain, is a precursor of phenylethylamino- and isoquinoline alkaloids.

Table 4 General botanical characteristics of the Logan family312-313-316-319

Botanical Forms and Parts


Botanical forms Some typical genera

Leaves Flowers

Fruits Seeds









Opposite Simple

Regular in cymes or panicles



2 carpels


Rarely a berry-like or a drupe


Sometimes winged brucine and curare. From the genus Strychnos L., which contains 190 species, more than 300 different alkaloids have been isolated. This genus provides alkaloids which have important biological activities and strong medicinal impact.

Species containing strychnine are as follows: Strychnos nux-vomica L., Strychnos ignatii P. Bergius and Strychnos wallichiana Steud ex DC. These are found throughout Asia, while Strychnos lucida R. Br. is located in Australia. Strychnos icaja Baillon and Strychnos tienningsi grow in Africa and Strychnos panamensis L. in South America. Curare alkaloid exists in S. usambarensis, the species distributed throughout tropical Africa, and Strychnos guianensis, the species found in the South American Amazonian region. Lansiaux et al.75 report on sungucine and isosungucine, isolated from S. icaja Baillon, and their strong bioactivity. Sungucine and isosungucine interact with DNA, inhibit the synthesis of nucleic acids and induce apoptosis in HL-60 leukemia cells. Frederich et al.76 reported on the isolation and biological testing of isostrychnopentamine, an alkaloid in the leaves of S. usambarensis with strong antiplasmodial activity. Dolichanto-side, strictoside and palicoside have been detected in the stem bark of Strychnos mellodora, a tree found growing in the mountainous rain forests of east Africa, particularly in Tanzania and Zimbabwe77. Brucine and strychnine have been extracted from S. nux-vomica178.

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