The dry root of Aconiti kusnezoffii, also named Cao Wu, is widely used as folk medicine in China to treat rheumatic pain, paralysis due to stroke, carbuncle, and furuncle. In the present study we investigated the molecular mechanisms of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. Using the acetic acid-induced writhing and formalin test models in mice, our results clearly showed that the constituents of processed Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffli can reduce both peripherally and centrally induced pain in a dose-dependent manner. Mice treated with processed Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffli has significantly increased levels of glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and superoxide dismutase activities in the liver compared to untreated controls. Furthermore, treated mice exhibited lower levels of malondialdehyde after carrageenan injection compared to untreated controls. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the ingredients in the processed Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffli can effectively reduce pain involving in the peripheral and central nervous systems and exhibit anti-inflammatory activity. The pharmacological analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffli may be attributed to the elevation of hepatic anti-oxidative enzymes to eradicate free radicals.

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