Research has shown that a compound from an herb provides significant pain relief. The exciting part is that the compound from the herb, Tabernaemontana divaricata, comes without side effects known from most pain relief pharmaceuticals.
This herb is commonly referred to as Crape Jasmine or Pinwheel Flower, East India Rosebay, and Nero’s crown. It has been used for centuries in Ayurveda, Thai medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine for fever, pain, wounds, pain, damaged skin and eye issues.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine this herb is referred to as gou ya hua
In this article
Conolidine Provides Pain Relief
Confirming these traditional uses, research has determined Tabernaemontana divaricata contains a certain compound called conolidine. Conolidine provides pain relief according to several studies. The extract reduces trauma and pain without the side effects of opioid pharmaceuticals like morphine, oxycontin and fentanyl.
The bark of the Crape Jasmine shrub contains this alkaloid compound. The compound was extracted from Crape Jasmine bark in 2011. Researchers have confirmed conolidine is a significant breakthrough for pain management. Let’s take a closer look at conolidine.
In 2021, researchers from the Louisiana State University and the Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine Department of Brigham and Women’s Hospital reviewed the research and chemistry. They concluded that conolidine significantly provided pain relief without side effects known to opioids.
Conolidine is an indole alkaloid. It works by boosting the body’s own opiate receptors by blocking something called the chemokine receptor (ACK3R3). This would put the compound into a class of natural pain relievers called “endogenous opiates.” (Endogenous means being produced by the body.)
In the words of the 2021 study paper above, a de novo pathway study indicated that this herbal extract:
“effectively suppresses responses to both chemically induced and inflammation-derived pain.”
Conolidine Research So Far
The research here and elsewhere has shown that conolidine is a non-opioid pain-relieving compound. It can bring pain management without some of the common side effects associated with opioid medications. These include nausea, vomiting, respiratory depression, constipation, tolerance, and dependence (addiction).
Yes, so far conolidine has been shown to have no addictive potential. This is because it boosts the body’s own opiate system rather than adds opiates to the metabolism.
Currently there is a lack of human studies on conolidine outside of the de novo pathway study, which mimics a human metabolic study.
Several laboratory studies have shown this herbal extract’s effectiveness in suppressing chemically or inflammation-induced pain among animals.
Of course, pharmaceutical medicine has been putting a lot of effort into synthesizing analogues to this pain-relieving natural plant extract called conolidine.
That could still be a good thing, but this is not how things have worked out for many other pain-relieving compounds found in plants.
We can site the example of salicylic acid. This is the chemical compound synthesized to mimic salicin, commonly referred to as aspirin. Salicin is the natural pain-relief compound found in willow bark and meadowsweet.
In willow bark and meadowsweet salicin relieves pain without negative side effects. But its synthetic chemical analogue produced by Bayer in the late 19 Century comes with a host of side effects. These include ulcers, and other gastrointestinal issues.
Synthetic analogues to conolidine have included DS39201083 and others.
The Crape Jasmine Plant
The Crape Jasmine or Pinwheel flower plant is a native of Asia but has also been found in warmer climates in North America and other regions.
Research so far has found this plant contains many medicinal compounds besides conolidine. At least 66 alkaloids have been isolated and identified from Crape Jasmine.
Why is this important? Various compounds in natural plant medicines have the effect of buffering each. This helps prevent the myriad of side effects that a single isolated compound will have.
The Pinwheel flower plant contains more than alkaloids. It compounds such as terpenoids, phenolic acids, enzymes, pyrolytic oil and various other oils. Together these compounds provide a myriad of benefits as documented in ancient medicines.
Documented health benefits of this plant medicine include it being:
- boosts cholinergic activity in nervous system
This last point has made this herbal medicine a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as myasthenia gravis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Such is the miracle of plant medicine. Health benefits plus positive side effects.
Conolidine is one of those 66 alkaloids found in this plant. Conolidine has been shown to be a promising analgesic, but further studies are necessary to understand dosage and efficacy in managing chronic pain.
Talk to your doctor if you are in pain, and talk to an herbalist before dosing with plant medicines.
Edinoff AN, Patel AS, Baker MW, Lawson J, Wolcott C, Cornett EM, Sadegi K, Kaye AM, Kaye AD. Conolidine: A Novel Plant Extract for Chronic Pain. Anesth Pain Med. 2021 Dec 8;11(6):e121438. doi: 10.5812/aapm.121438.
Szpakowska M, Decker AM, Meyrath M, Palmer CB, Blough BE, Namjoshi OA, Chevigné A. The natural analgesic conolidine targets the newly identified opioid scavenger ACKR3/CXCR7. Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2021 Jun 2;6(1):209. doi: 10.1038/s41392-021-00548-w.
Tarselli MA, Raehal KM, Brasher AK, Streicher JM, Groer CE, Cameron MD, Bohn LM, Micalizio GC. Synthesis of conolidine, a potent non-opioid analgesic for tonic and persistent pain. Nat Chem. 2011 Jun;3(6):449-53. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1050.
Arita T, Asano M, Kubota K, Domon Y, Machinaga N, Shimada K. Discovery of a novel bicyclic compound, DS54360155, as an orally potent analgesic without mu-opioid receptor agonist activity. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2019 Dec 1;29(23):126748. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2019.126748.
Pratchayasakul W, Pongchaidecha A, Chattipakorn N, Chattipakorn S. Ethnobotany & ethnopharmacology of Tabernaemontana divaricata. Indian J Med Res. 2008 Apr;127(4):317-35.