Strychnos nux-vomica extract and its ultra-high dilution reduce voluntary ethanol intake in rats

J Altern Complement Med. 2001 Apr;7(2):187-93. doi: 10.1089/107555301750164280.


Objectives: To see whether Strychnos nux-vomica extract (mother tincture [MT]), its potency Nux 30c, and its principal alkaloid, strychnine, could reduce voluntary ethanol intake in rats. To analyze the solution structure of Nux MT, Nux 30c, 90% ethanol, and ethanol 30c by means of electronic (ES) and nuclear nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra.

Design: Potentially alcoholic rats were first given 20% ethanol and then kept on a two-choice bottle, one with 20% ethanol and another with tap water. These rats were given the following oral treatments for 15 days: group 1, control; group 2, strychnine at 0.36 mg/kg per day; group 3, ethanolic extract of S. nux-vomica seeds (Nux MT) at 3.6 mg/kg per day; and group 4, Nux 30c at 0.05 mL/d per rat. Nux 30c was prepared by successive dilution of Nux MT and 90% ethanol (1:100) and sonication at 20 kHz for 30 seconds in 30 steps.

Results: Both Nux MT and Nux 30c significantly reduced ethanol intake and increased water intake in rats. ES of two dilutions of Nux MT and Nux 30c showed intersections at more than one point suggesting existence of molecular complexes. ES of Nux MT in CCl4 showed a red shift when 90% ethanol was added indicating molecular complexation and charge transfer interaction between ethanol and Nux compounds. NMR spectra of Nux MT, 90% ethanol, ethanol 30c, and Nux 30c indicated a change in solution structure of the medium (90% ethanol) of Nux 30c.

Conclusion: Nux MT and Nux 30c could reduce ethanol intake in rats. The altered solution structure of Nux 30c is thought to mimic Nux MT and produce ethanol aversion in rats.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Deterrents / pharmacology*
  • Alcohol Deterrents / therapeutic use
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Ethanol
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects*
  • Homeopathy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Rats
  • Strychnine / pharmacology*
  • Strychnine / therapeutic use


  • Alcohol Deterrents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ethanol
  • Strychnine