The antinociceptive actions of kava components in mice

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1990 Jul;17(7):495-507. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1990.tb01349.x.


1. The antinociceptive properties of the aqueous extract of the intoxicating beverage kava, and of the lipid soluble extract (kava resin) were tested in mice, by the tail immersion and abdominal constriction methods. Both extracts showed analgesic effects in both tests. 2. Eight purified pyrones from the lipid soluble extract were also tested for activity in the tail immersion test, and kawain, dihydrokawain, methysticin and dihydromethysticin were found to be very effective in producing analgesia. Using the tail immersion test the time course of action of the extracts of the four effective pyrones of kava were studied. 3. Naloxone, in doses which inhibited morphine-induced analgesia in both tests, was completely ineffective in reversing the antinociceptive activities of the kava extracts, showing that analgesia produced by kava occurs via non-opiate pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics*
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Kava
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Morphine / pharmacology
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal / analysis*
  • Pyrones / pharmacology
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Skin Temperature / drug effects


  • Analgesics
  • Plant Extracts
  • Pyrones
  • Naloxone
  • Morphine
  • Diazepam