The leaves contain several different alkaloids, including vasicine, vasicinone, vasicinol, adhatodine, adhatonine, adhavasinone, anisotine, peganine (Claeson et al 2000), betaine, steroids and alkanes. The root also contains alkaloids (vasicinol, vasicinolone, vasicinone, adhatonine), a steroid (daucosterol), carbohydrates and alkanes (Claeson et al 2000).
One of the alkaloids found in the herb (vasicine) has been chemically modified and is referred to as RLX (6,7,8,9,10,12-hexahydro-azepino-[2,1 -b]-quinazoline-12-one) in the medical literature (John & Zutshi 2000). It has been shown in animal studies
to inhibit antigen-induced mast-cell degranulation and histamine release and exert bronchodilator activity.
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.