The natural source of galantamine are certain species of daffodil and because these species are scarce and because the isolation of galanthamine from daffodil is expensive (a 1996 figure specifies 50,000 US dollar per kilogram, the yield from daffodil is 0.1-0.2% dry weight) alternative synthetic sources are under development by means of total synthesis. One recent publication details the enantioselective organic synthesis of galanthamine and also that of morphine from a single precursor.
1962: Preparation of racemic galanthamine and epi-galanthamine by organic reduction of racemic narwedine by D. H. R. Barton. Narwedine is the related enone (galanthamine the allyl alcohol) obtained in an oxidative coupling. Chemical yield: 1.4%. In addition they isolated (-)-narwardine by chiral resolution from a mixture of racemix narwedine and 0.5 equivalents of (+)-galanthamine. In this way they were able to obtain (-)galanthamine again by reduction
1977: Koga obtains both enantiomers via a chiral pool synthesis starting from L-tyrosine.
1988: Carrol optimizes the oxidative coupling route to 11% yield based on isovanillin
1989: Vlahov exploits asymmetric reduction by biocatalysis in the synthesis of several galanthamine precursors.
1994: Shieh/Carlson  obtain (-)-galanthamine by spontaneous resolution of its narwedine precursor. Racemic narwedine is treated with 0.01 equivalent of (+)-galanthamine resulting in a 76% yield. Narwedine is a racemic conclomerate allowing the isolation of the S,S enantiomer from the R,R enantiomer by simple crystallization. What makes the process unique is that both enantiomers are in dynamic chemical equilibrium with each other though a common phenol in a Michael reaction-like reaction brought about by triethylamine:
1999: Jordis performs (-)-galanthamine synthesis on a multikilogram scale based on Carrol chemistry and Shieh/Carlson chiral resolution. This would become the basis for current industrial production by Sanochemia (USA).
2000:Felse proposes an intramolecular Heck reaction for the construction of the galanthamine backbone.
Enantiopure (-)-narwedine is obtained via the dynamic chiral resolution method pioneered by Shieh/Carlson and in the final step the ketone is reduced to the alcohol with L-selectride.
This final step is enantioselective producing the desired S,S,R compound because approach of H- is restricted to the Si face as the Re face is shielded by the DB ring system. Formation of the S,S,S epimer is also avoided by keeping reaction temperature below -15°C.
^Synthesis and Pharmacology of Galantamine José Marco-Contelles, Maria do Carmo Carreiras, Carolina Rodríguez, Mercedes Villarroya, and Antonio G. García Chem. Rev.; 2006; 106(1) pp 116 - 133; (Review) doi:10.1021/cr040415t
^Asymmetric Transformation of Either Enantiomer of Narwedine via Total Spontaneous Resolution Process, a Concise Solution to the Synthesis of (-)-Galanthamine Wen-Chung Shieh and John A. Carlson J. Org. Chem.; 1994; 59(18) pp 5463 - 5465; doi:10.1021/jo00097a060
^Development of a Pilot Scale Process for the Anti-Alzheimer Drug (-)-Galanthamine Using Large-Scale Phenolic Oxidative Coupling and Crystallisation-Induced Chiral Conversion Bernhard Küenburg, Laszlo Czollner, Johannes Fröhlich, and Ulrich Jordis Org. Process Res. Dev.; 1999; 3(6) pp 425 - 431; (Article) doi:10.1021/op990019q
^Divergent Enantioselective Synthesis of (-)-Galanthamine and (-)-Morphine Barry M. Trost, Weiping Tang, and F. Dean Toste J. Am. Chem. Soc.; 2005; 127(42) pp 14785 - 14803; (Article) DOI: 10.1021/ja054449+ Abstract
^Stereocontrolled Synthesis of (-)-Galanthamine Vachiraporn Satcharoen, Neville J. McLean, Stephen C. Kemp, Nicholas P. Camp, and Richard C. D. Brown Org. Lett.; 2007; 9(10) pp 1867 - 1869; (Letter) doi:10.1021/ol070255i