Chinese herbal plant can fight chronic pain

Last Updated: Friday, January 3, 2014 - 10:21

Washington: A new research has revealed that a flowering plant Corydalis used for centuries as a pain reliever in Chinese medicine has the ability to fight inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

A key pain-relieving ingredient is a compound known as dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB) found in the roots of Corydalis, a member of the poppy family.

"Our study reports the discovery of a new natural product that can relieve pain," Olivier Civelli of the University of California, Irvine, said. "This analgesic acts in animal assays against the three types of pain that afflict humans, including acute, inflammatory, and neuropathic or chronic pain."

The Corydalis plants that were the focus of the new study grow mainly in central eastern China, where underground tubers are harvested, ground, and boiled in hot vinegar. Those concoctions are often prescribed to treat pain, including headaches and back pain.

The researchers went looking for compounds in Corydalis that appeared likely to act in a manner similar to morphine.

While Corydalis extracts or isolated DHCB work against all types of pain, they hold special promise for those who suffer with persistent, low-level chronic pain. For one thing, DHCB doesn`t appear to lose effectiveness with time in the way that traditional opiate drugs do.

The study is published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.



First Published: Friday, January 3, 2014 - 10:21

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