<chemistry, pharmacology> One of a large group of nitrogenous substances found in naturally in plants. They are usually very bitter and although the plant may be poisonous, many have extracts that are pharmacologically active.

Examples are atropine, caffeine, coniine, morphine, nicotine, quinine, strychnine. The term is also applied to synthetic substances which have structures similar to plant alkaloids, such as procaine.

(29 Sep 1997)

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