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Phytomedicine. 2004 Sep;11(6):549-53.

Effects of essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet on the compound action potential of the rat sciatic nerve.

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  • 1Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Av. Paranjana 1700 Campus Itaperi 60.740-000, CEP, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil.


Alpinia zerumbet, known popularly as "colônia" in Northeastern Brazil, is a medicinal plant that has been used widely in folk medicine as teas and infusions for the treatment of intestinal and cardiovascular diseases, including arterial hypertension. Our previous studies have demonstrated that the essential oil of A. zerumbet (OEAZ) is very active on excitable tissues, such as smooth muscle, and in this study we verified its effects on the compound action potential (CAP) of rat sciatic nerve. EOAZ induced a dose-dependent blockade of the CAP. Control peak-to-peak amplitude and conduction velocity of CAPs were 7.6 +/- 0.43 mV and 80.6 +/- 3.19 m/s, respectively. At 60 microg/ml, EOAZ induced no demonstrable effect. Conduction velocity was significantly reduced at 180 min of preparation exposure to 100 microg/ml of EOAZ. At 300, 600 and 2000 microg/ml doses of EOAZ, the peak-to-peak amplitudes of CAPs following 180 min exposure of the nerve to the drug were reduced significantly, to 75.3 +/- 7.36%, 50.45 +/- 2.17% and 0% respectively, of control value. Conduction velocity was reduced significantly by 300, 600 and 2000 microg/ml of EOAZ, at 180 min, to 83.61 +/- 3.28%, 64.06 +/- 8.21% and 22.7 +/- 5.79%, respectively, of control value. All these effects developed slowly and were reversible upon a 180-min wash.

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