Diterpene, diterpenes, diterpenoids, diterpenos
Diterpenes are not alkaloids but non-nitrogenous
natural substances composed of four isoprene
groups. They are related to the monoterpenes and
sesquiterpenes and belong to the terpene group.
Diterpenes occur in numerous plants and several
Some diterpenes regulate plant growth. Termites,
sponges (Spongia spongens 1.), and coelenterates
contain bioactive diterpenes that have
inhibiting effects upon certain bacteria (Buchbauer
et al. 1990, 28). There are even sweet-tasting
diterpenes, such as the natural sweetening agents
in Stevia rebaudiana (Bert.) Hemsl., the leaves of
which are used to sweeten mate (cf. Ilex
The first psychoactive diterpene to be
discovered was salvinorin A. It is very likely that
there are other psychoactive diterpenes that have not yet been isolated, pharmacologically tested, or
chemically described. Some psychoactive alkaloids
are diterpene derivatives. Aconitine, the primary
active constituent in monkshood (cf. Aconitum
ferox, Aconitum napellus), is a diterpene alkaloid.
Diterpene alkaloids also occur in Delphinium andSpiraea.
| Diterpenes in Psychoactive Plants
(from Buchbauer et al. 1990; Rein 1979; supplemented)
See also the entries for Coleus blumei, Salvia
divinorum, and salvinorin A.
Buchbauer, Gerhard, Helmut Spreizer, and Gabriele
Kiener. 1991. Biologische Wirkungen von
Diterpenen. Pharmazie in unserer Zeit 19 (1):
Reid, W. W. 1979. The diterpenes of the Nicotiana
species and N. tabacum cultivars. In The biology
and taxonomy of the Solanaceae, ed. J. G. Hawkes,
R. N. Lester, and A. Skelding, 273-78. London:Academic Press.