Chinese extract eases neuropathic pain

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There may be new help for those with inflammatory and neuropathic pain, from a traditional Chinese herb.

Researchers at the University of California-Irvine, along with Chinese scientists, have isolated a compound called dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB) from the roots of the Corydalis yanhusuo plant. The plant is found in northern China, Japan and Siberia, and the root extract has been used to alleviate cramps, chest pain and abdominal pain. Corydalis yanhusuo also was shown to benefit rats with cardiovascular disease in a 2007 study.

The Irvine study marked the first time DHCB was identified, extracted and tested. It reduced inflammatory pain in tests with rodents, the investigators found. 

The results indicate that DHCB shows “promise as an effective pharmaceutical.” The results also demonstrate a “different way to understand the pain mechanism,” according to Olivier Civelli, Ph.D, the chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the UC Irvine School of Medicine.

DHCB would have to be evaluated for toxicity before being developed into a drug.  

Study results appeared in the Jan. 20 edition of Current Biology.