Nicotine, a chemical mostly within the plants of the Solanaceae family, is an alkaloid and is found accumulated in the leaves of the plants, though the biosynthesis of the chemical occurs in the roots of the plants. Nicotine is among the major components 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 comes 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. Villeman is credited for sending tobacco seeds and plant saplings to Paris in 1560 because of its use in medicinal purposes.
Nicotine was first extracted from the tobacco plant by German physician Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Posselt and chemist Karl Ludwig Reimann in 1828. Following its discovery Posselt and Reimann labelled it as a poison. Actually nicotine can be an antiherbivore chemical, which in turn causes addiction when consumed in small amounts (1mg or less) and death if taken in 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 includes a molecular mass of 162.12g/mol. Nicotine is really 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 own metabolism is hepatic. Nicotine can be optically active and contains two enantiomeric forms.
4. Nicotine as an insecticide
As already said nicotine is an antiherbivore drug which if taken in huge amounts is fatal to life forms. This is why nicotine laden tobacco has been used being an insecticide even prior to the World War II. But following the WWII its usage drastically lowered due to the availability of cheap synthetic insecticides which tend to be more easily available than tobacco and less bad for mammals. But in the recent years the hype surrounding organic farming has again increased the interest of the farmers in the usage 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 increases the quantity of several neurotransmitters. Among these neurotransmitters dopamine is one such neurotransmitter which is significantly increased during nicotine use and is responsible for the sense of euphoria and relaxation caused by the application of tobacco (nicotine) products.
6. Psychoactive ramifications of nicotine
Nicotine is a psychoactive substance as it is mood altering. It causes both euphoria and relaxation. In your body nicotine is metabolised in the liver. First after 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 after the intake of nicotine. Following the initial euphoria nicotine leads to relaxation, increased alertness and sharpness by working on different neurotransmitters of your body. Nicotine also offers pain relieving properties.
7. Unwanted effects of nicotine intake
Tough it looks like nicotine is a superb substance to increase one’s sharpness, induce calmness and elevate one’s mood you can find more negative areas of nicotine intake than positive. Among these the most typical unwanted effects of nicotine intake are an increased risk of hypertension and heart attacks. Nikotiinipussit It is sad that every 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 in the long run nicotine users are inclined to amnesia along with other related diseases.
Nicotine is known as to become more toxic than most typical drugs like heroin and cocaine. More harm is done by nicotine to our 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. Usage of nicotine in medical science
Though nicotine is not a doctor’s best friend, it is yet not his worst foe. Nicotine known because of its pain relieving properties has been researched upon to be used as a potential pain killer minus its harmful effects. Nicotine has also been found to reduce preeclampsia, allergic asthma; amongst others by acting being 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 that was created as a part of anti-nicotine drive to educate children about the ill-effects of nicotine intake in any form.
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