Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version



Published in Pharmaceutical Biology 54:10 (2016), pp. 2103-2110.

doi: 10.3109/13880209.2016.1145703

PMID: 27306958


Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, published by Taylor & Francis Group. Used by permission.


Context: Medicinal plants encompass a rich source of active compounds that can neutralize snake venoms or toxins. Costus spicatus (Jacq.) Sw. (Costaceae) is used by the Amazonian population to treat inflammation, pain and other pathological manifestations.

Objective: To evaluate the influence of C. spicatus aqueous extract on edema, peritonitis, nociception, coagulation, haemorrhage and indirect haemolytic activity induced by Bothrops atrox venom (BAV).

Materials and methods: Dried and pulverized leaves were extracted with distilled water. Envenoming was induced by administration of B. atrox snake venom in Swiss Webster mice. The experimental groups consisted of BAV (at the minimum dose to induce measurable biological responses) and C. spicatus extract (CSE, 1.25, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5 and 10 mg/kg/25 ml phosphate-buffered saline) administered individually and in combination (BAVCSE). PBS was used as a control. In vitro assays were also conducted in order to evaluate phospholipase A2 coagulant activities (indirect haemolytic method).

Results: CSE significantly reduced the venom-induced edema and nociception at all concentrations tested and inhibited migration of inflammatory cells at the three least concentrations (5.0, 7.5 and 10 mg/kg/25 ml PBS). CSE was not effective in inhibiting coagulant, haemorrhagic and indirect haemolytic activities of the venom.

Discussion and conclusion: The data suggest that CSE could exhibit a central mechanism for pain inhibition, and may also inhibit prostaglandin synthesis. These findings corroborate the traditional administration of C. spicatus decoction to treat inflammatory disorders, including those caused by B. atrox envenomation.