Jump to content
The Corroboree
Sign in to follow this  

Nicotiana alata - bringing the "rest of Tobacco's Medicine" to the picture

Recommended Posts

If you want a nicotine buzz, seek elsewhere. If you want a healing tobacco, this may be of interest to you.




My review on Nicotiana alata, which is grown mainly as an ornamental plant, although some authors classify it as traditionally used as smoking tobacco, mainly for religious purposes. It is often referred to as “jasmine tobacco” or “flowering tobacco” due to its abundant, beautiful flowers and mild sweet nocturnal fragrance.


It's a different spirit to interact with than the majority of Nicotiana's, it seems useful for tapering off high nicotine content plants.


We are used to interacting with the nicotine in tobacco, we often don't get the full spectrum of interacting with the Tobacco Spirit.


Nicotiana alata is a nice ally to connect with for doing that. Phytoconstituents include alkaloids, tannins, phenolic compounds, proteins, terpenoids and saponins.


I find it brings "the rest of Tobacco's Medicine" to the picture. For growth, it's super easy to maintain as a beautiful compact aesthetic plant. I didn't find it set seed prolifically, it was a struggle to get some seed.


In my opinion, it could potentially be a better healing Tobacco for some situations, particularly Tobacco dieta - I included some of this plant orally and it seems friendly. That said, it's not suggested or recommended.


While generally considered alkaloid-poor - one analysis puts nicotine concentration as low as 0.06%, it's often higher (it's possible it is actually more a nornicotine/anabasine/anatabine ally) - Nicotiana alata is a nice plant to grow and seems to have a subtlety of interacting with that is nice. Interacting with it attunes you to the subtlety of the tobacco's other healing constituents while putting aside the fiendish nature of nicotine.


Alkaloid content seems to depend strongly on growing conditions. The total-alkaloid content in leaves from greenhouse-grown plants of N. alata was 0.2 μg.g-1 (of which – 68.8 % nicotine, 9.5 % nornicotine, 21.3 % anabasine, 0.4 % myosmine), while that in leaves from field-grown plants was only 0.04 μg.g-1 (100 % nicotine).


Many of it's constituents are very healing, from the phenolic/flavonoids to the triterpenes which may be anxiolytics


"HPLC analysis of triterpenes identified only betulin (251.12 μg/g) in the leaves of white flowers genotype, and betulin (284.30 μg/g) and betulinic acid (393.75 μg/g) – in that with pink flowers. Totally, 12 phenolic acids and 7 flavonoids were determined in the leaves. The most abundant free phenolic acid were chlorogenic (3796.21 and 2523.37 μg/g, respectively in white and pink forms) and other hydroxycinnamic acids (rosmarinic, sinapic, caffeic), and conjugated - vanillic acid (3077.34 and 4926.68 μg/g, respectively). The major flavonoids of both genotypes were: free - hyperosid (35.85 and 107.30 μg/g), and conjugated – apigenin (249.55 and 211.74 μg/g), luteolin, hesperetin and kaempferol. 19 components were determined (by GC/GC-MS) in the essential oils (representing 83.86 % and 67.09 % of oil content), among which the major were: phytol, solanone, cis-5-butyl-4-methyldihydrofuran-2(3h)-one, dihydro-β-ionone, α-ionene, β-damascenone, 1-methylnaphthalene. In the concretes were identified 19 components (82.03 % and 65.63 %, respectively), of which over 3 % were: isoamyl alcohol, oxynicotine, phytol, 4-mеthyl-1-penthanol, cotinine, 3-metyl-3-penthanol, 3-penthanone. The number of identified volatiles in the resinoids was 16 (94.93 % and 75.94 %), with major components: nicotine, phytol, eicosane, diethyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, solanone, furfuryl alcohol."


Root cultures of Nicotiana alata Link and Otto, growing in a Murashige and Skoog medium, contained the following alkaloid composition: nicotine (5 %), nornicotine (58%), anabasine (10%), and anatabine (27%), all with the (S)-configuration with high enantiomeric excess.


It intrinsically seems to have a better burn rate without complicated curing, that said I don't think it's a good smoking tobacco as the healing constituents probably don't smoke well. It's pleasant as a low nicotine snuff.

Edited by Alchemica
  • Like 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another good one Alchemica.


If you are interested in 'the rest of tobacco's medicine', you might enjoy this excellent article about pituri use.





  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Do any of the nornicotine dominant Nicotiana have a history of traditional interesting use?
I'm trying to suss out the novel tobacco's. I'm sick of relapsing on boring NRT nicotine only.
From what I can find, N. tabacum, N, rustica, N. alata, N. langsdorffii all contain nicotine; N. sylvestris and N. rusbyi [N. tomentosiformis] contain nornicotine, while N. glauca contains anabasine.
I've used N. glauca cautiously but didn't get heavily into it [covered the potential anti-addictive nature of anabasine in [1]] and the major nicotine containing Nicotianas. I want something different. I want to know what nornicotine is like as a dominant alkaloid? Exploring some cotinine would be neat, the predominate metabolite of nicotine, which has been "shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and fear-related behaviour as well as memory impairment in animal models of depression, PTSD, and Alzheimer's disease." [2].
"Nornicotine (N-desmethyl-nicotine) appears to activate different nAChR subtypes, has a better pharmacokinetic profile, and produces less toxicity than nicotine." [3]
Note: the nornicotine in Duboisia hopwoodii has been stated in one (albeit old) paper to be d-nornicotine contrary to what is found in Nicotiana, which may be more toxic, potentially giving rise to the statement "Twentieth century chemical analysis found that both nicotine and nornicotine, a drug four times as toxic as nicotine, are usually present in Duboisia" [4].
Nornicotine occurs in several species, such as Nicotiana sylvestris and some Australian species [5].
N. sylvestris contained 0.44% alkaloids in one study but in another, had a total alkaloid concentration of 1%, nornicotine
comprising 95% of the alkaloids [6]. Another reference [8] gives 4.8mg/g alkaloids, 82.2 % of that being nicotine.
Nicotiana langsdorffii contained 0.22% alkaloids, 73% being nicotine, the rest nornicotine [7].
It is the dominant alkaloid in N. thyrsiflora (94.3% of the 5.1mg/g total alkaloids). It is said "The heated leaves of Nicotiana thrysiflora are used for rheumatism." In Nicotiana tomentosiformis, nornicotine makes up 79% of the 1.1mg/g total alkaloids.  N. glutinosa contains 7.4mg/g with 77.4% of that being nornicotine [8].
"About 0.8% of nicotine is metabolized to nornicotine in the periphery. However, the biotransformation of nicotine to nornicotine also appears to occur locally in the brain, and brain concentrations of nornicotine have been shown to exceed those in the periphery" [9].
Nornicotine is proposed to result in additional activation of a7-type receptors, which may be important for effects on cognition and attention. Nornicotine inhibits striatal DAT function via a nAChR-mediated mechanism [10]. "The nAChRs mediating the nornicotine-induced inhibition of DAT function appear to be different from those activated by nicotine which increases DA clearance"
Both nicotine and nornicotine were relatively potent partial agonists of rat α7 receptors with efficacies of approximately 60% and 50%, respectively, compared with ACh
The efficacies of nicotine and nornicotine for α4β2 receptors were relatively low, compared with ACh, although nicotine was rather more potent than nornicotine and ACh. Nicotine was relatively efficacious for α3β4 receptors, although less potent  at α4β2 receptors. Nornicotine was a relatively poor agonist for α4β2 and α3β4 receptors.
The half-life of nornicotine in brain is 166 min, which is three times longer than that of nicotine (52 min)
For more nicotine containing plants:
For a breakdown of normal tobacco:
Alkaloids 11.462 mg/g
Nicotine 94.8%
Nornicotine 3.0%
Anabasine 0.3%
Anatabine 1.9%
N. alata is generally very low on nicotine but allows the other non-alkaloid constituents of tobacco's medicine to be explored.
N. megalosiphon contained 0.22% alkaloids, 100% being nicotine
N. quadrivalvis had in one study a nicotine content of approximately 0.16% in one study. It was the main native tobacco that was once widely cultivated by numerous tribes for medicinal and religious purposes
Another reference gives
Alkaloids 7.76 mg/g
Nicotine 94%
One early trier found the such tobacco "very pleasant," adding, "it does not affect the nerves in the same manner..."
Alkaloids 8.945 mg/g
Nicotine 98.5%
Nornicotine 0.3%
Anatabine 1.2%

Thanks @Micromegas

Edited by Alchemica

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fwiw I use to blend Alata somewhere in a 5 to 10 % range, (edit - when I was smoking baccy)  better burn for sure and I didn't mind the flavour it imparted. 


Crap on its own no matter how dried and cured... Lol... Could never get a fix out of it. 


I've got a book on "natural native tobaccos" from a small press outfit in the states. I'll put the title up when I drag it off the shelf, may be of interest. 


Alata has a real presence at night in the garden.... 

Edited by waterboy 2.0
  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites





Covers a bit on North American groups and the different species they used, and a bit into lore, and cultivation methods. 

Can scan bits if of interest. 


Edit- this book sent me down a rabbit hole chasing early production farming info and guidebooks



Edited by waterboy 2.0
  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think nor-nicotine is the alkaloid that converts to Tobacco Specific Nitrosamines (TSNA) enzymatically during curing.  This is the reason what LC (low converter) strains of tabacum are, they dont convert much nicotine to nornicotine in an attempt to lower TSNAs in the resulting tobacco

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

All the nicotine alkaloids can be converted via nitrosation to form TSNAs (there's quite a few with different conversion mechanisms,  and more being identified) 


Nornicotine can form N-nitrosnornicotine (NNN), burley types typically produce more nornicotine... But it's part of the picture. Nicotine and oxidized forms can covert to NNK. NNN and NNK are the most studied, and identified top tier carcinogens. 


Agricultural (esp excess fertilizer)  and curing practices have a huge influence on TSNA conversion.... The worst came with modern flue curing, and bulk modern burley barn curing but I'll leave that alone.


The convertor strains are burley types (selected from current varieties) which are barn air cured, not flue cured. It's one reduction technique to fit industrial production. 

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this