What Is Isorhynchophylline?
Isorhynchophylline is an alkaloid produced by several plants, one of which is the kratom tree. The term alkaloid means that the compound is organic, contains nitrogen, and has a physiological effect on the human body.
Isorhynchophylline is one of many minor alkaloids that doesn’t seem to contribute to any of kratom’s noticeable effects. However, it does play a role in its medicinal capabilities and could have a place in modern medicine.
Like many other alkaloids, isorhynchophylline is produced naturally throughout the kratom tree’s lifecycle. The biological purpose of alkaloids isn’t well understood. Still, they likely act as a defense mechanism for the plant, helping to ward off insects and animals that might consume or damage it.
Isorhynchophylline is found in the leaves of the kratom tree, which are dried and crushed up for consumption. As such, kratom powder naturally contains trace amounts of this alkaloid. Several other plants — specifically in the Rubiaceae family — also contain this alkaloid in small concentrations.
Regarding kratom alkaloids, it’s relatively easy to determine which strains contain higher concentrations of the more prevalent alkaloids.
For example, mitragynine, a stimulant, is more prevalent in energizing strains. Unfortunately, since isorhynchophylline doesn’t lead to any apparent effects, it’s hard to say which strains contain higher amounts of it.
Although isorhynchophylline doesn’t produce noticeable or psychoactive effects, it is quite bioactive. There are three primary uses for isorhynchophylline, all of which are backed by preliminary research. We’ll discuss these potential benefits below.
Like many other kratom alkaloids, isorhynchophylline is a neuroprotectant and can help treat cerebral ischemia and other neurodegenerative diseases .
Specifically, this alkaloid acts as a calcium channel blocker, opens potassium channels, and helps regulate cellular metabolism. Increased calcium is related to or at least a function of neurodegenerative diseases; isorhynchophylline can potentially treat or lessen the symptoms of ailments like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease .
Calcium channel blockers are also commonly used in blood pressure medication to bring the pressure down to a healthy level . Since isorhynchophylline acts as a calcium channel blocker, the alkaloid could be an effective and natural remedy for high blood pressure .
Additionally, isorhynchophylline can contribute to vasodilation, which naturally reduces blood pressure.
Some clinical evidence suggests that isorhynchophylline can help treat or reduce the symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease . This is partly because the alkaloid opens potassium channels in the body. These channels and the ions they control are closely related to the healthy functioning of the heart .
Isorhynchophylline has been isolated from kratom — Mitragyna speciosa — and several other plants in the same family (Rubiaceae). These include:
- Mitragyna hirsuta
- Mitragyna rubrostipulacea
- Mitragyna inermis
- Mitragyna ledermannii
- Mitragyna rubrostipulata
- Several variations of cat’s claw (including Uncaria rhynchophylla, Uncaria attenuata, Uncaria borneensis, Uncaria longiflora, Uncaria sinensis, Uncaria macrophylla, and Uncaria tomentosa)
- Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
- Odyendyea klaineana
No, isorhynchophylline is not an opiate. This alkaloid doesn’t interact with the opioid receptors in the body and doesn’t produce the same effects. Some alkaloids in kratom do interact with opioid receptors, but even these are not opiates.
Isorhynchophylline is relatively safe to consume, although minimal research and few clinical studies confirm this. However, kratom, the primary source of isorhynchophylline, is considered safe. By extension, the minute amounts of isorhynchophylline in kratom are likely safe for human consumption.
Most substances that have a physiological effect on humans also come with side effects, and kratom, which contains isorhynchophylline, is no exception.
Below are some of the most commonly reported side effects of taking kratom:
It’s worth noting that all of these side effects are reportedly worse when taking large doses of kratom, so beginners, especially, are advised to start small and increase with comfort level and experience.
Additionally, addiction is the most severe of these side effects, and experts recommend using tolerance breaks and smaller doses to help avoid the risk of kratom addiction.
Isorhynchophylline isn’t available as a single compound; it’s instead taken along with other alkaloids via kratom powder. As such, there is no recommended dose of isorhynchophylline on its own.
If you’re planning on taking kratom powder to enjoy the potential benefits of isorhynchophylline, the typical dose is around 3 grams.
However, you can dose based on the effects you’re looking for, which are listed below:
- 1 to 3 g for coffee-like stimulation and enhanced focus
- 3 to 6 g for pain relief, relaxation, and reduction of anxiety and stress
- 6 to 8 g for sedation, severe pain relief, and intense relaxation
The duration of isorhynchophylline’s effects is currently unknown due to a lack of research and the fact that consuming the alkaloid alone isn’t feasible. Kratom powder, which delivers isorhynchophylline, provides effects that last for around three hours on average. Smaller doses might last from one to three hours, while more significant amounts could last between three and five hours.
Kratom has been used in traditional medicine for a wide range of purposes for hundreds of years, and its alkaloids, like isorhynchophylline, give the plant its potential for treating different ailments.
Isorhynchophylline is known to act as a natural blood pressure reducer, as a treatment for cardiovascular disease, and as a neuroprotectant that can help mitigate the damage effects of neurodegenerative diseases.
- Dey, A., & Mukherjee, A. (2018). Plant-derived alkaloids: a promising window for neuroprotective drug discovery. In Discovery and development of neuroprotective agents from natural products (pp. 237-320). Elsevier.
- Zornow, M. H., & Prough, D. S. (1996). Neuroprotective properties of calcium-channel blockers. New Horizons (Baltimore, Md.), 4(1), 107-114.
- Elliott, W. J., & Ram, C. V. S. (2011). Calcium channel blockers. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 13(9), 687.
- Zhou, J. Y., & Zhou, S. W. (2012). Isorhynchophylline: A plant alkaloid with therapeutic potential for cardiovascular and central nervous system diseases. Fitoterapia, 83(4), 617-626.
- Tamargo, J., Caballero, R., Gómez, R., Valenzuela, C., & Delpón, E. (2004). Pharmacology of cardiac potassium channels. Cardiovascular research, 62(1), 9-33.
- Shi, J. S., Yu, J. X., Chen, X. P., & Xu, R. X. (2003). Pharmacological actions of Uncaria alkaloids, rhynchophylline, and isorhynchophylline. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 24(2), 97-101.