Trachelospermum spp.

Star Jasmine; Asiatic Jasmine; Confederate Jasmine; Chinese Jasmine; Chinese Ivy;Traders Compass.

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Trachelospermum spp.

Botanical information

Trachelospermum jasminoides: An evergreen vine, it grows to a height of 7m. The stem is woody and branching; the leaves are green, ovate-acuminate and thick; the flowers are white, star shaped, fragrant , 5 petalled and invurving, occurring in terminal clusters.

A native of S China, it is adaptable to most soils in an open, sunny position, and is drought tender and can only resist very mild frosts.

Propagation is by cuttings taken in spring.

Traditional uses

Star Jasmine is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a painkiller and anti inflammatory for arthritis and rheumatism (it has been shown to be a mild COX inhibitor). The stems and leaves are used as a general tonic and to increase menstrual flow. It is especially popular in the treatment of elderly patients as it addresses many common old-age ailments at once.


The main alkaloid found in the leaves and stems of Trachelospermum jasminoides is ibogaine, along with tabernaemontanine, vobasine and voacangine-7-hydroxyindolenine (this last one is possibly an extraction artefact). The total alkaloid content is about 0.04%, but no percentages were given for the separate alkaloids. There is at least one anecdotal reference of a researcher ingesting a quantity of seeds of this species, resulting in strong effects (no more details than that known). Seed is rare in Australia though.

Leaves and stems (50 kg) were dried in the shade and extracted with ethanol. The crude alcoholic extracts were concentrated and partitioned between 10% hydrochloric acid and chloroform (pH 1). The chloroform layer was dried with anhydrous sodium sulfate and concentrated to a gum (25 g, F1). The aqueous acidic layer was basified with aqueous ammonia and extracted into chloroform at various pH values (5, 7, 9, and 11). The fraction obtained at pH-5 (20 g, F2) was found to contain major alkaloids. We have recently reported five indole alkaloids from this plant (2).

The crude alkaloidal fraction (F1, 25 g) was subjected to flash chromatography. [...] The alkaloid isolated was identified as voacangine-7-hydroxyindolenine by comparison of its spectral data with those reported in the literature (3). [...] Voacangine-7-hydroxyindolenine may have been formed by air oxidation during the extraction and isolation process. Fraction F2 (20 g) was also loaded on a silica column (750 g) and was eluted with increasing polarities of mixtures of petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate, and methanol.

The fraction obtained on elution with chloroform:ethyl acetate (3:1) consisted of a mixture of four alkaloids. This fraction was subjected to a flash chromatography which was eluted with increasing polarities of mixtures of petroleum ether in acetone. The fraction obtained on elution with 70% petroleum ether in acetone was found to contain two major alkaloids. These alkaloids were separated by preparative TLC on silica gel (petroleum ether:acetone:ammonia, 6:3.95:0.05). The faster moving alkaloid was identified as ibogaine by comparison of its spectral data with those reported in the literature (7) while the slower moving alkaloid was identified as tabernaemontanine (8). Rahman et al., Planta Medica, 54(4):364, 1988

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