January 2009
World Book Science Dataset;1/1/2009, p1
Reference Entry
Alkaloid, a chemical substance of plant origin composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and (usually) oxygen. The alkaloids are organic bases similar to the alkalies (inorganic bases); the name means �alkali-like.� Most alkaloids have pronounced effects on the nervous system of humans and other animals. Many are used as drugs. Some familiar alkaloids are caffeine, nicotine, quinine, cocaine, and morphine.


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