Argyreia nervosa

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"Hawaiian Baby Woodrose" redirects here. For Hawaiian woodrose, see Merremia tuberosa.
Argyreia nervosa
Starr 050107-2974 Argyreia nervosa.jpg
Argyreia nervosa flowers (enlarge)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Argyreia
Species: A. nervosa
Binomial name
Argyreia nervosa
(Burm.f.) Bojer

Argyreia speciosa (L.f.) Sweet
Convolvulus nervosus Burm.f.
Convolvulus speciosus L.f.
Santaloides minus[1]

Lettsomia nervosa (Burm.f.) Roxb.[2]

Argyreia nervosa is a perennial climbing vine native to the Indian subcontinent and introduced to numerous areas worldwide, including Hawaii, Africa, and the Caribbean. Though it can be invasive, it is often prized for its aesthetic value. Common names include Hawaiian baby woodrose, adhoguda अधोगुडा or vidhara विधारा (Sanskrit), elephant creeper and woolly morning glory. The two botanical varieties are A. n. var. nervosa described here, and A. n. var. speciosa, a species used in Ayurvedic medicine, but with little to no psychoactive value.

A. nervosa seeds contain various ergoline alkaloids such as ergine.[3] A study reported stereoisomers of ergine to be found in the seeds at a concentration of 0.325% of dry weight.[4]


A. nervosa is a rare example of a plant whose putative hallucinogenic properties were not recognized until recent times. While several of its cousins in the Convolvulaceae family, such as Rivea corymbosa (ololiuhqui) and Ipomoea tricolor (tlitliltzin), were used in shamanic rituals of Latin America for centuries, A. nervosa was not traditionally used for this purpose. Its properties were first brought to attention in the 1960s,[citation needed] despite the fact that the chemical composition of its seeds is nearly identical to those of the two species mentioned above, and the seeds contain the highest concentration of psychoactive compounds in the entire family.[citation needed]

Chemical constituents[edit]

The seeds of A. nervosa have been found to contain numerous chemical compounds.[5]


  • Argyroside, (24R)-ergost-5-en-11-oxo-3β-ol-α-D-glucopyranoside, a steroidal glycoside unique to Argyreia nervosa[6]


Ergoline alkaloids of known percentage
Compound name Percentage of dry seed weight constituted Chemical structure
Isoergine 0.188%
Ergine 0.136% Ergine structure
Ergometrine 0.049% Ergometrine structure
Lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide 0.035% Lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide structure
Isolysergic acid hydroxyethylamide 0.024%
Elymoclavine 0.022% Elymoclavine structure
Ergometrinine 0.011% Ergometrinine structure
Chanoclavine 0.016% Chanoclavine structure
Ergoline alkaloids of unknown percentage
Compound name Chemical structure
Agroclavine Agroclavine structure
Chanoclavine II Chanoclavine II structure
Festuclavine Festuclavine structure
Lysergene Lysergene structure
Lysergol Lysergol structure
Setoclavine Isolysergol structure

Hydroxycinnamic acids[edit]

Hydroxycinnamic acids
Compound name Chemical structure
Caffeic acid Caffeic acid structure
Ethyl caffeate Ethyl caffeate structure

Fatty acids[edit]

Fatty acids
Compound name Chemical structure
Myristoleic acid Myristoleic acid structure
Myristic acid Myristic acid structure
Palmitic acid Palmitic acid structure
Linoleic acid Linoleic acid structure
Linolenic acid
Oleic acid Oleic acid structure
Stearic acid Stearic acid
Nonadecylic acid Nonadecyclic acid
Eicosenoic acid
Heneicosylic acid Heneicosylic acid structure
Behenic acid Behenic acid structure
12-methylmyristic acid
15-methylstearic acid
Glycosides of fatty acids
Fatty acid Chemical structure
Palmitic acid Palmitic acid structure
Oleic acid Oleic acid structure
Stearic acid Stearic acid structure
Behenic acid Behenic acid structure
Linoleic acid Linoleic acid structure
Linolenic acid α-Linolenic acid structure



Arygeria nervosa seeds next to a metric ruler

In most countries, it is legal to purchase, sell, or germinate A. nervosa seeds. Depending on the country, it may be illegal to buy seeds with the intention to consume them, and several countries have outlawed ergine-containing seeds altogether.

Extracted chemicals[edit]

Extracting ergine from A. nervosa seeds is illegal in the USA, since it is classified as a schedule-III depressant by the DEA.[citation needed]


It is now illegal to supply A. nervosa in the United Kingdom due to the passing of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.[7] Under this legislation any and all psychoactive substances not listed under the exemption terms are now considered to be controlled substances.



In an animal model of ulcers in rats, large doses of the extract of A. n. var. speciosa leaves (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg body weight) showed dose-dependent antiulcer activity and cured the ulcers.[8]


When an extract of A. nervosa root was administered to male mice, both mounting and mating activity increased, showing aphrodisiac activity. The litter from females inseminated by root-treated males also saw a significantly increased male:female ratio versus the control group, suggesting, but not confirming, the ethnomedical belief of increased male offspring is accurate. Mechanisms for the altered male:female ratio have yet to be explained.[9]


When administered to male mice, an extract of A. nervosa flowers exhibited aphrodisiac activity to a similar degree of its root extract.[9]


  1. ^ Glossary Of Indian Medicinal Plants
  2. ^ "Taxon: Argyreia nervosa (Burm. f.) Bojer". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2002-09-03. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  3. ^ Halpern, J.H. (2004). "Hallucinogens and dissociative agents naturally growing in the United States". Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 102 (2): 131–138. doi:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2004.03.003. PMID 15163594. Although LSD does not occur in nature, a close analogue, lysergic acid amide (LSA, ‘‘ergine’’) is found in the seeds of Argyreia nervosa (Hawaiian baby woodrose) 
  4. ^ Chao JM, Der Marderosian AH (1973). "Ergoline alkaloidal constituents of Hawaiian baby wood rose, Argyreia nervosa (Burmf) Bojer". J. Pharm. Sci. 62 (4): 588–91. doi:10.1002/jps.2600620409. 
  5. ^ Padhi, Milimita; Mahapatra, Sujata; Panda, Jnyanaranjan; Mishra, Nikunja (9 Feb 2013). "Traditional uses and Phytopharmacological Aspects of Argyreia nervosa" (PDF). Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Research. 4 (1): 23–32. ISSN 2229-3787. Retrieved 2014-12-29. 
  6. ^ Rahman, A.; Ali, M.; Khan, N. Z. (2003). "Argyroside from Argyreia nervosa Seeds.". ChemInform. 34 (21). doi:10.1002/chin.200321168. ISSN 0931-7597. 
  7. ^ "Psychoactive Substances Act 2016". Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  8. ^ Sunil K. Jaiswal; Chandana V. Rao; Brijesh Sharma; Pritee Mishra; Sanjib Das; Mukesh K. Dubey (1 September 2011). "Gastroprotective effect of standardized leaf extract from Argyreia speciosa on experimental gastric ulcers in rats". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 137 (1): 1–944. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.05.028. 
  9. ^ a b Subramoniam, A.; Madhavachandran, V.; Ravi, K.; Anuja, V.S. (2007). "Aphrodisiac property of the elephant creeper Argyreia nervosa" (PDF). J Endocrinol Reprod. 11 (2): 82–85. Retrieved 2014-12-30. 

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