Nicotine, a chemical mostly within the plants of the Solanaceae family, is an alkaloid and is found accumulated in the leaves of these plants, although biosynthesis of this chemical occurs in the roots of the plants. Nicotine is among the major the different parts of addictive plants like tobacco (0.6%-3.0%) and is the reason behind their addiction in humans due to its psychoactive nature.
The follow are 10 interesting facts about nicotine.
The name nicotine originates from the scientific name of the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum. The scientific name of the tobacco plant is itself named the French ambassador to Portugal Jean Nicot de Villemain. Nikotiinipussit Villeman is credited for sending tobacco seeds and plant saplings to Paris in 1560 because of its used in medicinal purposes.
Nicotine was initially extracted from the tobacco plant by German physician Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Posselt and chemist Karl Ludwig Reimann in 1828. After its discovery Posselt and Reimann labelled it as a poison. In fact nicotine can be an antiherbivore chemical, which causes addiction when consumed in smaller amounts (1mg or less) and death if used high amounts (30mg-60mg).
Nicotine is an alkaloid with the chemical formula C10H14N2. Its IUPAC name is 3[2,5-1-methylpyrrolidin-2-yl]pyridine. It has a molecular mass of 162.12g/mol. Nicotine is a hygroscopic liquid which is miscible with water as a nitrogenous base. Its density is 1.01g/cm3, melting point -79oC and boiling point 247oC. The nicotine molecule has a half life of 2 hours and its metabolism is hepatic. Nicotine is also optically active and contains two enantiomeric forms.
4. Nicotine being an insecticide
As already said nicotine is an antiherbivore drug which if taken in huge amounts is fatal alive forms. That is why nicotine laden tobacco has been used as an insecticide even before the World War II. But after the WWII its usage drastically lowered as a result of availability of cheap synthetic insecticides which are more readily available than tobacco and less bad for mammals. But in the recent times the hype surrounding organic farming has again increased the interest of the farmers in the use of tobacco as a pesticide being an alternate to chemical pesticides.
5. Nicotine addiction
Our central nervous system has certain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Nicotine binds to many of these and escalates the level of several neurotransmitters. Among these neurotransmitters dopamine is one particular neurotransmitter that is significantly increased during nicotine use and is in charge of the sense of euphoria and relaxation due to using tobacco (nicotine) products.
6. Psychoactive ramifications of nicotine
Nicotine is a psychoactive substance since it is mood altering. It causes both euphoria and relaxation. In the body nicotine is metabolised in the liver. First following its metabolism nicotine results in the release of glucose from the liver and epinephrine from the adrenal medulla. This sudden release of glucose and epinephrine causes euphoria following the intake of nicotine. After the initial euphoria nicotine leads to relaxation, increased alertness and sharpness by focusing on different neurotransmitters of your body. Nicotine also has pain relieving properties.
7. Side effects of nicotine intake
Tough it seems like nicotine is a wonderful substance to increase one’s sharpness, induce calmness and elevate one’s mood you can find more negative aspects of nicotine intake than positive. Among these the most typical side effects of nicotine intake are an elevated risk of hypertension and heart attacks. It really is sad that each cigarette that a man smokes reduces his life span by 14 years. Moreover since nicotine has been found to affect the working of Estrogen on hippocampus, hence over time nicotine users are prone to amnesia and other related diseases.
Nicotine is considered to become more toxic than most typical drugs like heroin and cocaine. More harm is performed by nicotine to the body because it is readily absorbed by the bloodstream and reaches the brain through the lungs within 7 seconds of its intake either orally or as nicotine patches.
9. Use of nicotine in medical science
Though nicotine is not a doctor’s companion, it really is yet not his worst foe. Nicotine known for its pain relieving properties is being researched upon to be used as a potential pain killer minus its harmful effects. Nicotine in addition has been found to lessen preeclampsia, allergic asthma; amongst others by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.
10. Nicotine in literature
Nicotine has been personified in popular literature as Nick O’ Teen, a humanoid villainous character in Superman comics which was created as a part of anti-nicotine drive to educate children concerning the ill-effects of nicotine intake in any form.
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