Friday, November 03, 2006


The beta-carbolines were first isolated in 1841 from the seeds of Peganum harmala, a small, bushy herb known as Syrian Rue which grows along the Mediterranean and throughout Central Asia.

It is also reported to have escaped cultivation and can now be found throughout the American southwest. Middle Eastern people have long used Syrian Rue as a folk medicine and for the unique red dye in Turkish and Persian rugs. Egyptians employed the seeds as an aphrodisiac and the plant has been considered as a possible (although unlikely) candidate for the mysterious Soma described in the Rig-Veda. Beta-carbolines have since been identified in several more plants including Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica), and even within the human pineal gland.

The beta-carbolines are members of the indole family of alkaloids which includes the highly illegal drugs LSD, Psilocybin, DMT, Bufotenin, and Ibogaine. Interestingly, the beta-carbolines have never been scheduled as illegal substances. All of the indoles possess a structural similarity to the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

Neuro-Alchemy: Beta-Carbolines as Potentiating Agents
by J.B. Fleming

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