[en] South American Strychnos ; Ethnobotany ; Ethnopharmacology ; Alkaloid screening
[en] The ethnobotanical uses of South American species of Strychnos L. (Loganiaceae) are reviewed, with the exception of their major role in the preparation of curare, which will be dealt with in detail elsewhere. Medicinal uses are less common than is the case with the African and Asian species of the genus. About 140 samples, mostly of leaves, belonging to 53 species, have been screened for alkaloids. As with species from other parts of the world, the stem bark and root bark tend to be a richer source than leaves. Nor-harman is present in extracts from S. barnhartiana leaves. Pyridino-indolo-quinolizidinone (angustine-type) bases are also found in several species. The occurrence and pharmacology of the (non-curarizing) alkaloids known to be present in South American Strychnos species is reviewed.