Category: Natural chemicals


Involuntary and voluntary

Introduction and description

Adenosine is an 'endogenous purine nucleoside' in other words it is a chemical that occurs naturally in our bodies.

One of its functions appears to be as an anti-inflammatory and immunological messenger. If we get cellular damage, adenosine leaps to the rescue, triggering the autoimmune system and reducing inflammation. It is also important in regulating the heart. If adenosine is prevented in some way from getting to its receptors, we can get atrial fibrillation – heart flutter, so it is a sort of regulating messenger protecting the heart from stress and emotional upset.

As such we can see Adenosine is a part of the parasympathetic nervous system. It thus has a key role to play in relaxation as we cannot relax if our immune system has been compromised or our heart is all a flutter. In effect, We can think of it as one of a group of chemical counterparts to the technique of relaxation.

This means that we must also expect an effect on the lungs, which may appear negative out of context, but is simply a feature of the fact the body is adjusting to the relaxed state and needs less oxygen. Adenosine contributes to 'bronchoconstriction'.


In human beings, there are four adenosine receptors. Each is encoded by a separate gene and has different functions, although with some overlap.

  • Receptor A1 – The adenosine A1 receptor has been found to be ubiquitous throughout the entire body. This receptor has an inhibitory function on most of the tissues in which it is expressed. In the brain, it slows metabolic activity. Receptors found on the heart decrease heart rate, regulating myocardial oxygen consumption and coronary blood flow This receptor has other important roles in the brain, regulating the release of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate
  • Receptor A2A – these receptors help in regulating myocardial oxygen consumption and coronary blood flow. The A2A receptor regulates myocardial blood flow by vasodilating the coronary arteries, which increases blood flow to the myocardium, but may lead to hypotension. Just as in A1 receptors, this normally serves as a protective mechanism, “but may be destructive in altered cardiac function
  • Receptor A2B – this receptor is located mainly peripherally and is involved in processes such as inflammation and immune response. I’m afraid the description given was meaningless to me but I will repeat it here “This integral membrane protein stimulates adenylate cyclase activity in the presence of adenosine. This protein also interacts with netrin-1, which is involved in axon elongation” Via a very long chain of effects, they also seem to play a part in bronchoconstriction and bronchospasm
  • Receptor A3 –this receptor is also located mainly peripherally and is involved in processes such as inflammation and immune response. It is “cardioprotective in cardiac ischemia, and promotes inhibition of neutrophil degranulation”. It also “inhibits growth in human melanoma cells


The naturally occurring chemical that counteracts Adenosine in our bodies is called Xanthine. Clearly in order to create a balanced system we need both Xanthine and Adenosine. Derivatives of Xanthine can be found in plants.

If you really go overboard on any antagonist, it will stimulate heart rate, force of contraction, cardiac arrhythmias at high concentrations. In high doses they can lead to convulsions that are resistant to anticonvulsants and you could die.

But their antagonistic action means they can have some positive effects in that they can help to relax bronchial smooth muscle. In asthmatic people or people with other lung disorders this can be a great help. 



How it works

At the moderate to low doses one would expect during suppression, Adenosine itself and its ligands works via exactly the same mechanisms as the technique of relaxation. In the first place they should slow the brain down, as such it will have an effect on memory and reason thus helping to still the chattering mind and the intellect.

Once memory and reason have been temporarily stilled, the emotions have in part been quieted, input from the 5 senses and the nervous system minimised then the composer can step in and we get our spiritual experience.

The effects of overdose are described in the appropriate drug sections within the overdose section

List of plants containing ADENOSINE

According to Dr Duke's database





Urtica dioica L. [Urticaceae] - Nettles




Aesculus hippocastanum L. [Hippocastanaceae]



Aesculus hippocastanum L. [Hippocastanaceae] Horse chestnut



Allium cepa L. [Liliaceae] - Shallots



Allium sativum var. sativum L. [Liliaceae] - Garlic



Allium sativum var. sativum L. [Liliaceae]



Angelica archangelica L. [Apiaceae] - Angelica



Angelica archangelica L. [Apiaceae]



Apium graveolens L. [Apiaceae] - Celery



Artemisia abrotanum L. [Asteraceae] - Southernwood



Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. DON [Apocynaceae] - Rosy Periwinkle



Chrysanthemum x morifolium RAMAT. [Asteraceae]



Citrus limon (L.) BURMAN f. [Rutaceae] - Lemon



Coix lacryma-jobi L. [Poaceae]



Crataegus laevigata (POIR.) DC [Rosaceae] - English hawthorn



Crataegus laevigata (POIR.) DC [Rosaceae]



Crataegus monogyna JACQ. [Rosaceae]



Crataegus rhipidophylla GAND. [Rosaceae]



Cucumis melo subsp. ssp melo var.cantalupensis NAUDIN [Cucurbitaceae] - melon



Cucurbita pepo L. [Cucurbitaceae] - pumpkin



Ganoderma lucidum [] - Reishi



Glycine max (L.) MERR. [Fabaceae] - Soybean

Sprout Seedling


Lycopersicon esculentum MILLER [Solanaceae] - Tomato



Medicago sativa subsp. sativa [Fabaceae] - Alfalfa



Panax ginseng C. A. MEYER [Araliaceae] - Ginseng



Panax ginseng C. A. MEYER [Araliaceae]



Panax quinquefolius L. [Araliaceae]



Rumex acetosella L. [Polygonaceae] - Sheep sorrel



Triticum aestivum L. [Poaceae] - Wheat



Verbena officinalis L. [Verbenaceae]



Zea mays L. [Poaceae] - Corn



Related observations