According to a study in laboratory rats, the wild Himalayan fig, commonly known as ‘Bedu’ in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, may be used as a safer alternative to synthetic pain relievers like aspirin and diclofenac.
An international team, led by researchers from the Lovely Professional University (LPU) in Punjab, noted that the fruit popular in the Himalayan region also has many other medicinal benefits such as treating skin diseases and wound infections. .
Over a three-year period, the researchers studied the analgesic effects of wild Himalayan fig extracts, which were tested in experimental rats.
Scientifically known as “Ficus Palmata,” the wild Himalayan fig contains two main components, psoralen and rutin, the researchers said.
In the study, psoralen helped block an enzyme called ‘cyclooxygenase-2’ (COX-2), which is also blocked by pain relievers such as diclofenac, while rutin helped bind the mu-opioid, a major morphine binding site.
The research, published in the journal Plants, concluded that the wild Himalayan fig has potential analgesic effects at different doses in general and at a dose of 400 milligrams per kilogram (mg / kg) in particular.
âThe wild Himalayan fig, aka Bedu, is an excellent and safe herbal alternative to synthetic pain relievers like aspirin and diclofenac,â said Devesh Tiwari, assistant professor at LPU, who led the study. .
“Our research is the first to establish the wild Himalayan fig as a natural pain reliever. Traditionally, this fruit has been used to treat back pain in rural areas. Until now, no studies were available on the effects. pain relievers from Ficus Palmata, âTiwari said. said PTI.
The study authors noted that the most widely used drugs to reduce pain and inflammation are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
However, pain relievers like opiates and NSAIDs are not considered helpful in all cases due to their low potency and side effects, they said.
âOpiates and NSAIDs have potential side effects such as opioid poisoning, gastrointestinal upset and liver dysfunction,â the authors wrote in the journal.
“Herbal remedies can serve as a potential alternative source due to the presence of a diverse and complex variety of chemicals from which the discovery of new analgesic agents is possible,” they added.
Besides LPU, the team included researchers from Kumaon University, Uttarakhand, Ganpat University in Gujarat, Sharda University in Greater Noida, University of Messina in Italy, and University of Medical Sciences. of Tehran and Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, both in Iran.
In the future, researchers plan to conduct human trials on the fruit for many other therapeutic potentials, as it is a wild fruit widely consumed in the Himalayan region.
âThe current study focuses only on the fruits. However, the synergistic effects can be evaluated in future studies and this could further improve their effectiveness,â Tiwari added.
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