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March 18, 1950

Natural Products Related to Phenanthrene

JAMA. 1950;142(11):858. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910290086042

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It is a curious fact that many hormones, sterols and bile acids which are so important to health and well-being are related chemically to the rather simple coal tar hydrocarbon, phenanthrene. This book sums up present knowledge of these substances and includes chapters on cardiac glycosides, morphine and related alkaloids, saponins, steroid alkaloids and steroid metabolism. Although written primarily for the organic chemist, the material is presented in such a manner that it will be of considerable interest to physicians and others who are primarily concerned with physiologic applications.

The study of hormones from the chemical point of view, although exceedingly difficult, has made great progress in the last two decades and is now in a state of feverish activity. For instance, the synthesis of cortisone (compound E) is described in detail, and a discussion of its physiologic activity and comparison with other adrenal cortical hormones is given. These discussions

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