any of a large class of organic, nitrogen-containing ring compounds of vegetable origin and sometimes synthesized, some of which are liquid but most of which are solid, that have a bitter taste, that are usually water-insoluble and alcohol-soluble, that combine with acids without the loss of a water molecule to form water-soluble hydrochlorides, hydrobromides, or the like, and that usually exhibit pharmacological action, as nicotine, morphine, or quinine.
Any of a large class of naturally occurring, complex organic compounds that contain nitrogen and have physiological effects on animals, including humans. Most alkaloids occur in plants, although some are produced by fungi and animals. Alkaloids are bases and usually form colorless crystalline solids with a bitter taste. They have a wide range of effects and are used as medicines and poisons. Morphine, quinine, strychnine, codeine, caffeine, cocaine, and nicotine are all alkaloids.