Opioid overdoses are on the rise in the US and around the world, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. Addiction treatment, harm reduction, and improved health access are all effective strategies for addressing this issue, but on a more individual level, a new study from UC Irvine and the Jordan University of Science and Technology demonstrates that the plant Corydalis yanhusuo (YHS) could be an effective therapy to reduce overdoses and even prevent addiction in the first place.
When used in animals, the therapeutic plant has been shown to prevent pain and reduce the negative effects of opiate use. The researchers hypothesize that the plant could be used in conjunction with morphine in hospitals to inhibit tolerance and reduce the chance of addiction.
“Opiate tolerance is of utmost importance to opiate users,” says study author Olivier Civelli. “They need to constantly increase the need of opiates to reach the same analgesic response. This is what leads to opiate overdose. YHS prevents opiate tolerance, so there is less need to increase opiate consumption.”
Although the plant has not yet been used in official trials to monitor its effects on opiate use and addiction in humans, the plant is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and sold as a “botanical” in certain grocery stores.
Source study: Pharmaceuticals – The Extract of Corydalis yanhusuo Prevents Morphine Tolerance and Dependence