It is the dried ripe or nearly ripe seeds of Elettaria cardamomum, Family Zingiberaceae, recently
separated from the fruit.
Southern India forests (Malabar), Ceylon
Shape: oblong, ovoid, angled, flattened, hard
Colour: orange to dark red
Odour: strong aromatic
Taste: pungent and pleasant
Size: 2-4 mm long and 3 mm broad
Outer surface is transversely wrinkled, raphé running from base to apex on one of the flat
surfaces, the hilum and micropyle are situated in a shallow depression at the apex
Arillus: The seed is enveloped by a colorless membranous outgrowth.
Active constituents: 2-5% volatile oil containing high percentage of terpinyl acetate and
Uses: As a flavoring agent and condiment.
• Cardamom is used for digestion problems including heartburn, intestinal spasms, irritable
bowel syndrome (IBS), intestinal gas, constipation, liver and gallbladder complaints, and
loss of appetite.
• It is also used for common cold, cough, bronchitis, sore mouth and throat, and tendency
• Some people use cardamom as a stimulant and for urinary problems.
Cont. Cardamom seeds
It is the dried ripe seeds of Physostigma venenosum, Family Leguminosae.
West coast of Africa
Shape: reniform, flattened, the surface is smooth except near the groove
which extends the entire length of the curved edge of the seed.
Color: dark reddish-brown
Taste: bean-like, it is poisonous
Size: 25 - 30 mm long, 10 - 15 mm wide
Deep black groove about 2mm wide extending through the entire
length of the curved edge
At the more acute end adjacent to the hilum
1- Alkaloids mainly physostigmine (eserine), eseramine, isostigmine.
2- Sterols as stigmasterol and sitosterol.
Effects and uses :
1. Myosis effect.
2. GIT tonic – increase intestinal motility used in case of chronic
constipation, tetanus, paralysis and after surgical operation.
3. Secretory glands stimulator.
4. Antidote in case of poisoning from strychnine & atropine.
5. Treatment of Myasthenia gravis.
Cont. Calabar bean
pyridostigmine and neostigmine are physostigmine salts
Mestinon ® (tab): pyridostigmine (physostigmine derivatives )- used in
case of Myasthenia gravis .
Prostigmine ® (amp) : neostigmine (physostigmine derivative ) – used
in case of Myasthenia gravis.
Cont. Calabar bean
It is the dried ripe seed of Ricinus communis Linn., Family: Euphorbiaceae.
Native to India, cultivated in several countries
Shape: oval, slightly flattened, the surface is smooth, glossy with reddish, brown or black
spots and strips
Taste: weakly acrid
Size: 8 to 15 mm long, 6-9 mm wide, 4-8 mm thick.
Micropyle: covered by the outgrowth
1- Fixed oil (45-53%)
3- The cake left after expression of the oil contains poisonous toxins known as ricins and a
crystalline alkaloid ricinine.
Ricin: very poisonous, 7 mg is fatal to an adult.
- The seeds themselves are not used due to its violent action.
- It is used as source of castor oil. The oil is used as purgative.
Preparation of Castor Oil:
•The seeds are cold expressed, filtered.
•Then steamed at 80‐100°C (to coagulate proteins
especially ricin and lipase).
• Filter to give the oil.
•Castor seed oil is triglyceride of ricinoleic, isoricinoleic, stearic and dihydroxystearic acids.
Cont. Castor seed
It is the dried kernel of the seeds of Myristica fragrans ,Family
Myristicaceae, deprived of its arillus and testa
Indonesian islands, Ceylon and West Indies
Shape: oblong ovoid, the outer surface is pitted showing
reticulations and small furrows
Odor: strong and aromatic
Size: 20-35 mm long and 15-28 mm wide
- A groove marking the position of the raphé extends
along from a depression at the broader end, where
the hilum and micropyle are situated
- A longitudinal section through the kernel shows a
thin outer dark brown perisperm which penetrates
into the light brown endosperm in a ruminated
Arillus which are dried to form the mace
Cont. Nutmeg seeds
Cont. Nutmeg seeds
1- Volatile oil (5-15%) consisting mainly of pinene, camphene, myristicin, sabinene and other
terpenes and alcohols.
2- Fat (30-40%)
3- Starch and amylodextrin.
4- Photosterin, coloring matter and saponin.
N.B. Myristicin (4% in the oil), a crystalline bitter substance which is toxic causing respiratory
depression in large dose.
2- Carminative, flavoring agent.
3- Used externally in rheumatism.
4- V.O has antibacterial activity.
It is the dried arillus or arillode of M. fragrans
- Mace is removed from the freshly collected seeds where it has a bright red color.
- After sun drying it acquires an orange brown color.
- Mace consists of lobed or flattened pieces up to 25 mm in length and 1 mm in thickness.
- Odor and taste as nutmeg.
Volatile oil (4-15%), mostly identical with nutmeg oil.
It is the dried ripe seeds of Nigella sativa L., Family Ranunculaceae
Volatile oil (thymoquinone), triterpenes, fixed oil, saponins
Alkaloids as nigellamine and nigellidine
Immuno-stimulant, cough and chest disorders, in larger doses
as a diuretic
Thymoquinone, an extract of nigella sativa seed oil, blocked
pancreatic cancer cell growth and killed the cells by
enhancing the process of programmed cell death.
Origin; The dried ripe seed of Colchicum automnale Family Liliaceae.
G. S: England and many parts of Europe.
Active constituents: alkaloid colchicine.
Test: Colchicine gives a yellow color with mineral acids.
1- Colchicine relief pain of gout.
2- Biological experiments to produce polyploidy.
– Teratogenic damage.
– Kidney & liver damage.
– Hair loss.
– Bone marrow damage.
Sweet Almonds: The seeds of Prunus communis var. dulcis.
Bitter Almonds: Seeds of Prunus amygdalus var. amara.
G. S:Italy and other Mediterranean countries.
1- 40-50% Fixed oil, 20% protein amongst which the enzyme emulsin, sugars, mucilage.
2-Bitter almonds contain in addition to the fixed oil, a colorless crystalline glucoside
amygdalin, but by the action of emulsin it is decomposed producing benzaldehyde,
hydrocyanic acid and glucose.
1- Fixed oil is used in many toilet articles.
2- As a vehicle for oily injections.
3- Internally, as a mild laxative.
4- Volatile oil (oil of amygdala) is used as a flavoring agent and sedative.
5- Sweet almonds are demulcent and nutritive (non-starchy food for diabetic patients)
Origin: The dried ripe seed of Datura stramonium,
G. S: Egypt, Europe specially England.
Alkaloids mainly hyoscyamine (atropine) and hyoscine.
2- It has some stimulant effect followed by sedation.
3- Alkaloids are used in ophthalmology to dilate the pupil of the eye.
The dried fermented seed of Coffea arabica L., Family Rubiaceae.
G. S: Mainly Yemen and Brazil.
1- Xanthine alkaloid (caffeine, theobromine and theophylline)
3- Fats and volatile substances.
Chemical test: +ve with murexide and –ve with Mayer's test
Stimulant, diuretic and smooth muscle relaxant.
The dried ripe fermented seeds of Theobroma cacao Linn, Family Sterculiaceae.
G. S: S. America, West Indies, West Africa, Ceylon
1- Purine bases (alkaloids) mainly theobromine and caffeine.
2- Cacao butter (theobroma oil)
3- Polyphenols complex.
4- Volatile components responsible for the aroma.
2- Stimulant and diuretic.
3- The oil is used as a suppository base.
Origin: The dried ripe seed of Lupinus termis,
G. S: Egypt, Europe specially England.
1- Alkaloids as termisine, termine, multiflorine and lupanine.
1- Hypoglycemic activity
The dried ripe seed of Areca catechu L., Family Palmae (Arecaceae).
India and Eastern Archipillago.
Alkaloids mainly arecoline and tannin.
1- Arecoline hydrochloride for treatment of colic in horses.
2- As an animal vermifuge.
3- The charcoal of the seeds is used in dentifrices.
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