Front cover image for Plants and the human brain

Plants and the human brain

David O. Kennedy (Author)
"This book sets out to describe not only how, in terms of pharmacology or psychopharmacology, but more importantly why plant- and fungus-derived chemicals have their effects on the human brain. The answer to this last question resides, in part, with the terrestrial world's two dominant life forms, the plants and the insects, and the many ecological roles the 'secondary metabolite' plant chemicals are trying to play; for instance, defending the plant against insect herbivores whilst attracting insect pollinators. The answer also resides in the intersecting genetic heritage of mammals, plants, and insects and the surprising biological similarities between the three taxa. In particular it revolves around the close correspondence between the brains of insects and humans, and the intercellular signaling pathways shared by plants and humans. Plants and the Human Brain describes and discusses both how and why phytochemicals affect brain function with respect to the three main groups of secondary metabolites: the alkaloids, which provide us with caffeine, a host of poisons, a handful of hallucinogens, and most drugs of abuse (e.g. morphine, cocaine, DMT, LSD, and nicotine); the phenolics, including polyphenols, which constitute a significant and beneficial part of our natural diet; and the terpenes, a group of multifunctional compounds which provide us with the active components of cannabis and a multitude of herbal extracts such as ginseng, ginkgo and valerian."--Provided by publisher
eBook, English, 2014
Oxford University Press, New York, 2014
1 online resource (xi, 379 pages) : illustrations
9780199914029, 9781306197403, 0199914028, 1306197406
1. From shamans to Starbucks
2. Secondary metabolites and the life of plants
3. More alike than we are unalike: Why do plant chemicals affect the human brain?
4. Alkaloids and the lives of plants and humans
5. The rewarding or addictive drugs
6. The hallucinogens
7. The deliriants: The nightshade (Solanaceae) family
8. Phenolics and the lives of plants and animals
9. Phenolics and the human brain
10. Terpenes and the lives of plants and animals
11. The Lamiaceae sub-tribe Salviinae: The Salvia, Rosmarinus and Melissa genera
12. Cannabis and the cannabinoids
13. Some miscellaneous terpenes
14. In conclusion: comparing and contrasting the alkaloids, phenolics and terpenes
English Full text - Single user access.