A plant used in traditional Chinese medicine has been found to have potent pain-reliving properties, researchers have found.
The flowering plant Corydalis, a member of the poppy family, has been used for centuries for pain relief in Chinese medicine.
However, researchers have now found it contains a compound called dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), which has the potential to lead to new drug therapies for people experiencing chronic pain.
DHCB was found in the roots of the plant, the authors from the University of California report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.
The discovery was made by researchers working on the 'herbalome' project, which looks to catalogue all the chemical components used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Olivier Civelli, one of the authors, said: "Our study reports the discovery of a new natural product that can relieve pain. This analgesic acts in animal assays against the three types of pain that afflict humans, including acute, inflammatory, and neuropathic or chronic pain."