Analgesic effect of Harpagophytum procumbens on postoperative and neuropathic pain in rats

Molecules. 2014 Jan 16;19(1):1060-8. doi: 10.3390/molecules19011060.


Harpagophytum procumbens, also known as Devil's Claw, has historically been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including pain and arthritis. The study was designed to investigate whether H. procumbens extracts exhibit analgesic effects in plantar incision and spared nerve injury (SNI) rats. The whole procedure was performed on male SD rats. To evaluate pain-related behavior, we performed the mechanical withdrawal threshold (MWT) test measured by von Frey filaments. Pain-related behavior was also determined through analysis of ultrasonic vocalization (USVs). The results of experiments showed MWT values of the group that was treated with 300 mg/kg H. procumbens extract increased significantly; on the contrary, the number of 22-27 kHz USVs of the treated group was reduced at 6 h and 24 h after plantar incision operation. After 21 days of continuous treatment with H. procumbens extracts at 300 mg/kg, the treated group showed significantly alleviated SNI-induced hypersensitivity responses by MWT, compared with the control group. These results suggest that H. procumbens extracts have potential analgesic effects in the case of acute postoperative pain and chronic neuropathic pain in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Harpagophytum / chemistry*
  • Hyperalgesia / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Vocalization, Animal / drug effects


  • Analgesics
  • Plant Extracts