Analgesic Studies on Total Alkaloids and Alcohol Extracts of Eclipta alba (Linn.) Hask1.
Eclipta Alba has been traditionally used in folk culture as a remedy against pain
and inflammation, but no study has ever verified Eclipta’s efficacy in pain and inflammation management. Researchers from Mumbai in India performed a study on animals to evaluate whether Eclipta alba has pain-killing, analgesic, actions on the body.
Investigators used laboratory mice and divided them into five groups. The first group consisted of mice that received a placebo – normal saline, which has no known analgesic effects. Mice in the second group were treated with a standard painkiller, either aspirin or codeine, both commonly prescribed and used. Animals from the third and fourth group received a low-dose or high-dose Eclipta alba alcohol extract, respectively, and mice from the fifth group were treated with a chloroform Eclipta extract, referred as a total alkaloid solution. Researchers used three distinct experiments to determine the level of pain and discomfort associated with it and in every experiment, mice from all five groups were tested and compared.
In the first experiment, they clipped mice tail with a bulldog clip and measured the time lag before responding to the painful stimulus. Normally, a mouse responds by biting the clip or the tail near the location of the pain. Administration of aspirin and low-dose Eclipta extract doubled the response time, indicating that both remedies were successful in ameliorating pain. Treatment with high-dose Eclipta extract and total alkaloids tripled the response time, documenting that the analgesic effect of Eclipta is dose-depandant.
In the next experiment, they bathed the tails in hot water and measured the time for the mice to respond to it and withdraw their tail. The more the animal perceives pain, the faster it withdraws its tail to remove the painful stimulus. Mice on aspirin and low-dose Eclipta performed similarly; it took a longer time before the occurrence of withdrawal, since pain-killers lessen pain perception. High-dose and Eclipta alkaloids proved even more potent, these mice could tolerate the painful stimulus even longer.
The last experiment included injecting acetic acid into the abdomen of the mice and measuring writhing movements for 20 minutes. Normally, injection of acetic acid into the abdomen irritates the peritoneum, a serous membrane covering the inner-side of the abdomen and causes severe abdominal pain and discomfort. That is usually accompanied by restlessness and writhing movements.
The greater the pain and discomfort, the more restless an animal is. The results were impressive. Both the low-dose and high-dose Eclipta extract provided the same amount of pain relief as aspirin and these mice had less writhing movements. Total alkaloids provided even more pain relief than aspirin. In other words, as a painkiller, Eclipta extract performed similarly to aspirin and alkaloids performed better than aspirin.
The research study showed that Eclipta alba has similar effect in alleviating pain to traditional painkillers. The investigators concluded that Eclipta could be successfully used as a painkiller.
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- Sawant M, Isaac JC, Narayanan. Analgesic Studies on Total Alkaloids and Alcohol Extracts of Eclipta alba (Linn.) Hassk. Phytother. Res. 18, 111-113 (2004)