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Neuropathic and inflammatory antinociceptive effects and electrocortical changes produced by Salvia divinorum in rats

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Ethnopharmacological relevance

Salvia divinorum is a medicinal plant traditionally used in hallucinogenic ethnopharmacological practices and for its analgesic and antinflammatory properties. Its active compounds include diterpenes known as salvinorins which act as potent κ opioid receptor agonists.

Aim of the study

Given its effects in acute animal models of pain, as well as its antinflammatory attributes, we decided to investigate the analgesic effects of an SD extract in neuropathic (sciatic loose nerve ligature) and inflammatory (intra plantar carrageenan) pain models in rats. We also determined in this study the electrocorticographic changes to correlate similar hallucinogenic state and behavior as those produced in humans.

Material and methods

Mechanical and thermonociceptive responses, plantar test and von Frey assay, respectively, were measured in adult Wistar rats 30 min, 3 h and 24 h after the intraperitoneal administration of saline or an hydroponic SD extract. We also evaluated carbamazepine and celecoxib, as gold reference drugs, to compare its antinociceptive effects.


Our results showed that administration of SD extract induced antialgesic effects in both neuropathic and inflammatory pain models. All those effects were blocked by nor-binaltorphimine (a Kappa opioid receptor antagonist). Moreover, it was observed an increase of the anterior power spectral density and a decrease in the posterior region as electrocorticographic changes.


The present investigation give evidence that SD is capable to reduce algesic response associated to neuropathic and inflammatory nociception. This study support therapeutic alternatives for a disabling health problem due to the long term pain with high impact on population and personal and social implications.

Simón-Arceo, K., González-Trujano, M. E., Coffeen, U., Fernández-Mas, R., Mercado, F., Almanza, A., … & Pellicer, F. (2017). Neuropathic and inflammatory antinociceptive effects and electrocortical changes produced by Salvia divinorum in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology206, 115-124. 10.1016/j.jep.2017.05.016
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