Other Names

Indolalkaloide, indolamine alkaloids, indole,


Indole alkaloids are derived from the indole ring

system and appear almost exclusively in the

families Apocynaceae501 (Alchornea spp., Alstonia

scholaris, Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco, Catharanthus

roseus, Rauvolfia spp., Tabernaemontana

spp., Tabernanthe iboga, Vinca spp., Voacanga spp.),

Loganiaceae (Gelsemium sempervirens, Strychnos

nux-vomica, Strychnos spp.), and Rubiaceae (Corynanthe

spp., Mitragyna speciosa, Pausinystalia

yohimba). Indole alkaloids also occur in certain

ascomycetes (Balansia cyperii, Claviceps paspali,

Claviceps purpurea, Claviceps spp.), other fungi

(Tyler 1961), and several climbing vines (Ipomoea

violacea, Turbina corymbosa) (Hofmann 1966; cf.

ergot alkaloids).

Included among the large group of indole alkaloids

(Trojanek and Blaha 1966) are the ~-carbolines

with harmaline and harmine; the tryptamine

derivates bufotenine, N,N-DMT, 5-MeO-DMT,

psilocybin, and psilocin; the ergot alkaloids; and

the alkaloids of the ibogane type (ibogaine, voacangine),

yohimbane type (yohimbine), and

strychnane type (strychnine). Indoles are also found

in the genus Uncaria, several species of which are

used as ayahuasca additives (Phillipson and

Hemingway 1973).

Many indole alkaloids are psychoactive or

occur in plants that are utilized for traditional

psychoactive purposes (Lindgren 1995; Rivier and

Pilet 1971; Schultes 1976).

See also the entries for ~-carbolines, ergot

alkaloids, and yohimbine.

Gershon, S., and W. J. Lang. 1962. A

psychopharmacological study of some indole

alkaloids. Archives Internationales de Pharmacodynamie

et de Therapie 135 (1-2): 31-56.

Hesse, M. 1968. Indolalkaloide in Tabellen. Berlin:


Hofmann, Albert. 1966. AlcaloYdes indoliques isoles de

plantes hallucinogenes et narcotiques du Mexique.

In Colloques internationaux du Centre National de

la Recherche Scientifique: Phytochimie et plantes

medicinales des terres du Pacifique, Nomea

(Nouvelle Caledonie) 28.4-5.5.1964, 223-41. Paris:

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Lindgren, Jan-Erik. 1995. Amazonian psychoactive

indols: A review. In Ethnobothany: Evolution ofa

discipline, ed. Richard Evans Schultes and Siri von

Reis, 343-48. Portland, Ore.: Dioscorides Press.

Phillipson, John David, and Sarah Rose Hemingway.

1973. Indole and oxindol alkaloids from Uncaria

bernaysia. Phytochemistry 12:1481-87.

Rivier, Laurent, and Paul-Emile Pilet. 1971.

Composes hallucinogenes indoliques naturels.

Annee BioI. 3:129-49.

Schultes, Richard Evans. 1976. Indole alkaloids in

plant hallucinogens. Journal ofPsychedelic Drugs

80 (1): 7-25.

Trojanek, J., and K. Blaha. 1966. A proposal for the

nomenclature of indole alkaloids. Lloydia 29 (3):


Tyler, Varro E. 1961. Indole derivatives in certain

North American mushrooms. Lloydia 24:71-74.

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