Alkaloids Detection in Commonly Found Medicinal Plants with Marquis Reagent

(1) Tecnológico de Monterrey High School, Cuernavaca, Mexico

Alkaloids are a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin that may have important physiological actions on humans. They include many drugs and poisons, but some alkaloids in low doses have health benefits as well. Traditional medicinal plants may contain alkaloids as active ingredients, but this is not well-understood. The Marquis reagent exists as a simple qualitative colorimetric method to determine the presence of alkaloids in medicinal plants. The Marquis reagent test was assayed in medicinal plants by first optimizing the formulation of the reagent using poppy seeds and lavender as the positive and negative controls. Then using the optimized formulation of Marquis reagent in the extracts of 11 medicinal plants with known claims of health benefits. Four medicinal plants tested positive for alkaloids, including a relaxing herbal mix (Tilia cordata, Valeriana officinalis, Passiflora incarnata, and Melissa officinalis), Turnera diffusa, Brickellia cavanillesii, and Verbascum thapsus. These findings demonstrate the value of the Marquis reagent test to provide a rapid and simple method for screening for potentially medicinal alkaloids of natural origin.

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