Alkaloid  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Alkaloids are naturally occurring chemical compounds containing basic nitrogen atoms. The name derives from the word alkaline and was used to describe any nitrogen-containing base. Alkaloids are produced by a large variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and are part of the group of natural products (also called secondary metabolites). Many alkaloids can be purified from crude extracts by acid-base extraction. Many alkaloids are toxic to other organisms. They often have pharmacological effects and are used as medications, as recreational drugs, or in entheogenic rituals. Examples are the local anesthetic and stimulant cocaine, the stimulant caffeine, nicotine, the analgesic morphine, or the antimalarial drug quinine. Some alkaloids have a bitter taste.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Alkaloid" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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