Other Names

Baptitoxin, CYtiton, laburnin, 1,2,3,4,5,6-hexahydro8H-

1,5-methano-pyrido[1,2a] [1,5]diazocin-8-ol,

sophorin, ulexin

Substance type: quinolizidine alkaloid, lupine


Cytisine is found in numerous legumes (Leguminosae)

(Plugge 1895), such as the rain shower

tree (Laburnum anagyroides Medikus [syn. Cytisus

laburnum 1.] ).497

Since cytisine acts to stimulate the central

nervous system, states of excitation and

confusion (with hallucinations, delirium),

muscle spasms, as well as general clonic-tonic

spasms in the extremities not infrequently

occur. (Roth et al. 1994,443*)

Cytisine docks to the acetylcholine (ACh)

receptors of the central nervous system, the

ganglia, and the neuromuscular endplate. The

ganglia-blocking effects of cytisine are similar to

those of nicotine and can induce strychninelike

spasms, especially hallucinations, and even

unconsciousness and ultimately death. However,

the lethal dosage for humans is unknown (Roth et

al. 1994, 801 f. *). The nicotine-like effects also

explain the ethnopharmacological use of plants

containing cytisine as tobacco substitutes.

Other lupine alkaloids and cytisine derivatives

have been found in many plants from the Family

Leguminosae, including Lupinus spp. and Echinosophora

koreensis Nakai (a close relative of the

genus Sophora) (Murakoshi et al. 1977).

Plants Containing Cytisine

(from Bock 1994,75 ff.*; Rompp 1995*; Roth et al. 1994*; supplemented)

Stock Plant Distribution
Ammodendron spp.  
Anagyris spp. southern Europe
Baptisia spp. North America
Colutea.arborescens 1. Mediterranean region
Calutea spp. southeastern Europe, Asia Minor
Cytisus canariensis Canary Islands, Mexico
Cytisus spp. Europe
Eucresta spp. Australia
Genista germanica 1. central Europe
Genista tinctoria 1. Europe
Labttrnum alpinum (Mill.) Bercht.et Presl Alps, southern Europe
[syn. Cytisus alpinusMill.]  
Laburnum anagyroides Medik. [syn. Laburnum vulgare central and southern Europe
Bercht.et Pres!' Cytisus laburnum 1.]  
Lamprolobium fruticosumBenth. Australia
Lampralobium grandiflorum Everist Australia
Hovea acutifalia Cunn. Australia
Hoveaspp. Australia
Plagiocarpus axiUaris Benth. Australia
Sophora secundiflora Mexico, Texas
Sophora tomentosa 1. Australia, Oceania
Spartium junceum 1. Spain, southern Europe
Strongylodon macrobotrys A.Gray Philippines
Templetonia spp. Australia
Thel'mopsis spp. Australia
Ulex europaeus 1. central Europe
Commercial Forms and Regulations

Cytisine is sold in its pure form and is not subject

to any regulations (Roth et al. 1994, 802).


See also the entries for Cytisus spp. and Sophora


Hayman, Alison R., and David O. Gray. 1989.

Hydroxynorcytisine, a quinolizidine alkaloid

from Laburnum anagyroides. Phytochemistry 28

(2): 673-75.

Murakoshi, Isamu, Kyoko Fukuchi, Joju Haginiwa,

Shigeru Ohmiya, and Hirotaka Otomasu. 1977.

N-(3-oxobutyl)cytisine: A new lupin alkaloid from Echinosophora koreensis. Phytochemistry


Plugge, P. C. 1895. Uber das Vorkommen von Cytisin

in verschiedenen Papilionaceae. Archiv fur

Pharmazie 233:430 ff.

Plugge, P. C., and A. Rauwerda. 1896. Fortgesetzte

Untersuchungen Dber das Vorkommen von

Cytisin in verschiedenen Papilionaceae. Archiv

fur Pharmazie 234:685 ff.

Seeger, R., and H. G. Neumann. 1992. Cytisin.

Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung 132:303-6.

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