Biological activities of emetine

Emmanuel S. Akinboye, Oladapo Bakare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Emetine is a natural product alkaloid from ipecac species. It is one of the main active ingredients in ipecac syrup used as emetic, and has been used extensively in phytomedicine as an antiparasitic drug. It inhibits both ribosomal and mitochondrial protein synthesis and interferes with the synthesis and activities of DNA and RNA. For this reason, it has been a vital tool to pharmacologists and has demonstrated many biological properties, such as antiviral, anticancer, antiparasitic and contraceptive activities. Also, it has been reported to cause the up-regulation and down-regulation of a number of genes. Some synthetic analogs with interesting biological activities have been prepared. This article reviews the biological activities of emetine and some emetine derived molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalOpen Natural Products Journal
StatePublished - 2011


  • Alkaloid
  • Biological activity
  • DNA
  • Emetine
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Ipecac
  • Protein synthesis
  • RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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