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Researchers investigate potential use of plant as a pain killer

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 10 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1104
  1. Charles Marwick
  1. Washington, DC

    Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have enlisted one of the oldest known medicinal plants as a potent painkiller. Euphorbia resinfera, a cactus-like plant, is a member of the euphorb family, of which there about 2000 species. The active ingredient, resiniferatoxin, was isolated in the 1970s. It is a potent analogue of capsaicin, the substance that gives chilli peppers their pungency.

    The work is a novel approach to pain management because it elliminates nerve cells involved in chronic pain but …

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