WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- An herb called Brazilian mint treats pain as effectively as some synthetic drugs, English researchers report.
Traditional healers in Brazil have long used the herb Hyptis crenata to treat a range of health problems, including headaches, stomach pain, fever and flu. This study is the first to scientifically prove the pain-relieving properties of Brazilian mint.
In experiments with mice, the Newcastle University researchers found that Brazilian mint tea (the traditional way of administering the medicine) was as effective at relieving pain as a synthetic aspirin-style drug called Indomethacin.
The study was presented Nov. 24 at a conference in India in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of the journal Acta Horticulturae.
"What we have done is to take a plant that is widely used to safely treat pain and scientifically proven that it works as well as some synthetic drugs. Now the next step is to find out how and why the plant works," study leader Graciela Rocha said in a university news release.
She and her colleagues plan to launch clinical trials to assess Brazilian mint's pain relief qualities in people.
The National Pain Foundation has more about alternative and complementary pain therapies.