Background: Neuropathic pain is one of the contributors to the global burdens of illness. At present many patients do not achieve satisfactory pain relief even with synthetic painkillers. Taking this into consideration, it is necessary to search for natural product-derived alternative treatment with confirmed safety and efficacy. Ageratum conyzoides L is a plant often used as an analgesic in Indonesia, however, anti-neuropathic pain activity of this plant is still unknown.
Objective: To determine the anti-neuropathic pain activity of the essential oil and non-essential oil component (distillation residue) of A. conyzoides L.
Methods: We conducted the separation of the essential oil component from other secondary metabolites through steam distillation. Both components were tested for anti-neuropathic pain activity using chronic constriction injury animal models with thermal hyperalgesia and allodynia tests. The animals were divided into 7 test groups, namely normal, sham, negative, positive (pregabalin at 0.195 mg/20 g BW of mice), essential oil component (100 mg/kg BW), and non-essential oil component (100 mg/kg BW). Naloxone was tested against the most potent anti-neuropathic pain component (essential oil or non-essential oil) to investigate the involvement of opioid receptors.
Results: The GC-MS of the essential oil component indicated the presence of 60 compounds. Meanwhile, non-essential oil components include alkaloid, flavonoid, polyphenol, quinone, steroid, and triterpenoid. This non-essential oil component contained a total flavonoid equivalent to 248.89 ppm quercetin. The anti-neuropathic pain activity test showed significantly higher activity of the essential oil component compared to the non-essential oil component and negative groups (p<0.05). Furthermore, the essential oil component showed equal activity to pregabalin (p>0.05). However, this activity was abolished by naloxone, indicating the involvement of the opioid receptor in the action of the essential oil component.
Conclusion: The essential oil component of A. conyzoides L is a potential novel substance for use as anti-neuropathic pain.