The leaves of the crepe jasmine plant have long been used in Asia as a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Now, researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered that a byproduct of the plant’s bark called conolidine may be powerful enough to rival morphine in the pain-killing arena.
Moreover, they found that a synthetic version of the compound is just as effective, an important finding given the rarity of conolidine.
The possible new drug has undergone several clinical trials with promising results. It has been shown to be readily absorbed by the body and effectively relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Additionally, it appears to have no side effects at this point in testing.
“The lack of side effects makes it a very good candidate for development,” said researcher Laura Bohn. “On the other hand, if there were side effects, they might provide additional clues as to how the compound works at the molecular level.”
Authors of the study noted that morphine is addictive, can be deadly when taken in excess and has side effects that include nausea, constipation and respiratory problems.