Ketum found to be effective painkiller, say USM scientists

Researchers at USM and Yale have made a study of ketum as a painkiller. (Bernama pic)

GEORGETOWN: Ketum has been found to be effective as a painkiller, according to a study conducted by scientists of Universiti Sains Malaysia and Yale University.

The university said 26 volunteers took part in a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled study. However, a more in-depth study on the efficacy of ketum as a pain reliever and on its safety profile is needed,” it said.

USM said the study was headed by Professor B K Vicknasingam, director of its Centre for Drug Research, and Prof Marek C Chawarski of Yale University’s School of Medicine.

Leaves of the ketum tree, native to Southeast Asia, have been used in traditional medicine. However ketum is listed as a poison under the Poisons Act and it is an offence to harvest and sell the plant in Malaysia.

USM said the study had “confirmed or given preliminary support to the efficacy of ketum as a pain reliever, which previously was only reported anecdotally based on personal experiences through observational studies”.

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