Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Mint' Pain Killer Takes Leaf Out Of Ancient Medical Texts

Date:
August 22, 2006
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
A new synthetic treatment inspired by ancient Greek and Chinese remedies could offer pain relief to millions of patients with arthritis and nerve damage, a new University of Edinburgh study suggests.

A new synthetic treatment inspired by ancient Greek and Chinese remedies could offer pain relief to millions of patients with arthritis and nerve damage, a new University of Edinburgh study suggests.

The Greek scholar Hippocrates treated sprains, joint pains and inflammation by cooling the skin, and traditional Chinese remedies used mint oil to the same end. Now scientists have discovered that cooling chemicals which have the same properties as mint oil have a dramatic pain-killing effect when applied in small doses to the skin. Unlike conventional pain killers, these compounds are likely to have minimal toxic side-effects, especially because they are applied externally to the skin. This should mean they are ideal for chronic pain patients for whom conventional pain killers often do not work.

The Edinburgh study sets out exactly how the 'mint oil' compounds (and related more powerful chemicals) work. They act through a recently discovered receptor (a protein which is capable of binding with these chemicals) which is found in a small percentage of nerve cells in the human skin. The scientists have found that when this receptor, called TRPM8, is activated by the cooling chemicals or cool temperatures, it inhibits the 'pain messages' being sent from the locality of the pain to the brain. Thus, the new treatment makes good use of the body's own mechanisms for killing pain.

The findings would doubtless have been of interest to Hippocrates, the founding father of modern medicine. Writing in the fifth century BC, in chapter 5 of his classic text, Aphorisms, he stated: "Swellings and pains in the joints, ulceration, those of a gouty nature, and sprains, are generally improved by a copious affusion of cold water, which reduces the swelling, and removes the pain; for a moderate degree of numbness removes pain."

Professor Susan Fleetwood-Walker, who jointly led the study with Dr Rory Mitchell, says:

"This discovery of the pain-relieving properties of mint oil and related compounds has great potential for alleviating the suffering of millions of chronic pain patients, including those with arthritis or those who have had nerve damage or spinal injury following major accidents. Conventional painkillers such as morphine are often ineffective in cases of chronic pain, and simply lowering the temperature of the skin is too inexact."

"Our discovery means that patients can be given low doses of a powerful pain killer, delivered through the skin, without side effects. We hope clinical trials on the compounds will begin within the year."

The research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, and its findings appear in the journal, Current Biology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "'Mint' Pain Killer Takes Leaf Out Of Ancient Medical Texts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060821220001.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2006, August 22). 'Mint' Pain Killer Takes Leaf Out Of Ancient Medical Texts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060821220001.htm
University of Edinburgh. "'Mint' Pain Killer Takes Leaf Out Of Ancient Medical Texts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060821220001.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins