Stimulants pp 99-165 | Cite as

Central Nervous System Stimulants: Historical Aspects and Clinical Effects

  • Burton Angrist
  • Abraham Sudilovsky
Part of the Handbook of Psychopharmacology book series (HBKPS, volume 11)


The effects of central stimulants were identified early in the history of mankind; plants containing these substances are among the most ancient of known drugs. The use of ma huang (Ephedra vulgaris) in China, khat (Catha edulis) in Africa, and coca (Erythroxylon coca) in South America are examples of this early recognition. Thus, the Chinese herb ma huang, of acknowledged central stimulating activity, had been in use as a circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, antipyretic, and antitussive agent (Chen and Schmidt, 1925) for some 5100 years before its main active ingredient, the sympathomimetic ephedrine, was introduced into clinical practice in the West for the treatment of asthma and similar conditions.


Stereotyped Behavior Central Stimulant Central Nervous System Stimulant Coca Leave Amphetamine Abuse 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burton Angrist
    • 1
  • Abraham Sudilovsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuropsychopharmacology Research Unit, Department of PsychiatryNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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