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Indole alkaloids comprise serotonin chemically know as 5-hydroxyltryptamine or 5-HT and others of their kind. These comprise the anesthetizing alkaloids of the passion flower , ophthalmic alkaloids associated with the physostigmine derived from the calabar bean as well as the uterine tonics such as ergotamine. This variety of alkaloids also comprises the Indian snakeroot or the Rauwolfia serpentaria that consist of reserpine. It may be mentioned here that reserpine contains potent hypotensive and when isolated from the entire plant possess depressive consequences. Among the numerous central nervous stimulants such as strychnine, psilocybin and johimbine, indole alkaloids comprise indole carbon-nitrogen loop. Indole carbon-nitrogen ring is also present in the fungal alkaloids ergine and psilocybin, the neurotransmitter serotonin as well as the mind jerking medication LSD. Researches have shown that these alkaloids may often impede, obstruct or even contend with the action of serotonin in the brain.
Long before the era of high-throughput screening and genomics, drug discovery relied heavily on natural compounds. In fact, many of the drugs available today contain active ingredients extracted from natural products. Since 1994, nearly half of all drugs were discovered using natural products. Furthermore, between 2005 and 2007, there were 13 new drugs based on natural products that entered the commercial market, including the following 5 new products: small molecule ixabepilone, retapamulin, trabectedin, and the peptides exenatide and ziconotide. Clearly, natural product drug discovery programs continue to play a significant role in the clinical development of new therapies in the biopharmaceutical industry.