Published: 13th November 2021
This Himalayan fruit can relieve pain without any side effects, says LPU researcher
As part of the research, Tiwari and the researchers experimented on rats and also developed 13 computational techniques to determine the analgesic characteristics of the fruit
Popping a pill or applying an ointment has always been the way to go when in pain. But what if there was a natural alternative to such pain relievers? Researchers at Lovely Professional University (LPU) have identified such an alternative — the wild Himalayan fig. The fruit is found in abundance in the Himalayas and is known as Bedu in the Kumaon region, where the researchers gathered the fruit.
Speaking about the fruit, LPU's Research Lead and Assistant Professor in the department of Pharmacognosy, Dr Devesh Tiwari, said, "During my visits to the Kumaon region for research purposes, I came across several remote villages. I was able to collect hundreds of species of plants that the villagers use for medicinal purposes. Among them, I also collected the wild Himalayan fig, which the villagers use to quell a backache. However, there wasn't any scientific evidence backing this and I decided to research the pain relieving aspect of this fruit." The plant, however, isn't something that Tiwari was seeing for the first time. Hailing from Uttarakhand, Tiwari states that he has grown up seeing parts of this plant and the fruits being consumed by his elders. "The plant is also culturally significant to the region and even has songs made about it," he adds.
Dr Devesh Tiwari | Pic: LPU
As part of the research, Tiwari and the researchers experimented on rats and also developed 13 computational techniques to determine the analgesic characteristics of the fruit. "Using techniques like molecular docking, we have investigated the fruit to determine that two constituents — Psoralen and Rutin — that are present in the plant are very effective on pain relieving receptors," explains Tiwari about the process.
According to Tiwari, the findings can possibly help in developing an alternative to analgesic drugs and painkillers like steroids and opioids that can have multiple side effects upon consumption. "More studies are required to determine whether the wild Himalayan fig can be an effective alternative. However, the fruit can find application in nutraceuticals. We are currently working on developing these nutraceutical products for pain relief," says Tiwari.
Prior to conducting this research, however, Tiwari collaborated with researchers in Selcuk University, Turkey and University of Nyíregyháza, Hungary for extensive phytochemical studies of the plant. "The research was also a collaborative project. Besides LPU, researchers from Ganpat University, Sharda University and Kumaun University were also present. We also had research support from University of Messina in Italy and two hospitals in Tehran, Iran," says Tiwari.