Inhibition of itch-scratch response by fruits of Cnidium monnieri in mice

Biol Pharm Bull. 2001 Sep;24(9):1012-5. doi: 10.1248/bpb.24.1012.


We previously screened the anti-itching activities of 33 herbal medicines in substance P (SP)-induced itching model mice. One of the most potent antipruritogenic extracts, the methanol extract of fruits of Cnidium monnieri (Cnidii Fructus) was studied further. The chloroform-soluble fraction of the methanol extract markedly inhibited SP-induced scratching. Among 10 subfractions of the chloroform-soluble fraction, the CS-3 fraction had the most potent inhibitory effect on scratching. Each of 3 subfractions of CS-3 showed significant anti-scratching activities. However, inhibitory potencies were not different among the three and weaker than that of CS-3 itself at a same dose. These 3 subfractions of CS-3 mainly contained xanthotoxin, isopimpinellin, bergapten, imperatorin and osthol. Single administration of osthol did not inhibit SP-induced scratching, and imperatorin very weakly subsided scratching. These results suggest that the strong antipruritic action was focused on the CS-3 fraction of the C. monnieri methanol extract, and it might result from the combined effects of these coumarin derivatives, or by undetermined minor compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipruritics / chemistry
  • Antipruritics / therapeutic use*
  • Apiaceae / chemistry*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Chloroform
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Methanol
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*
  • Reflex / drug effects
  • Solvents


  • Antipruritics
  • Plant Extracts
  • Solvents
  • Chloroform
  • Methanol