Akuamma and Pain Relief – Picralima

Akuamma and Pain Relief – Picralima


A Popular Pain Relief Alternative.

  • Pain Relief
  • Stimulation
  • Mood Enhancement

Akuamma can be found in raw seeds and well as capsules of ground seed powder. If you can find the capsules that is your best bet as the seeds can be quite bitter. 

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Working as an all natural pain reliever, working well on almost all chronic pain conditions, Akuamma has been used for hundreds of years in Africa for its amazing medicinal properties. Very similar to Kratom although many people find it works better with less side effects.

Proper dosage is 2 – 4 grams, maybe more depending on the person. Most capsules are .5 or .6 grams, if you buy the raw seeds you will need to weigh them on a digital scale.


Akuammine is the most abundant active alkaloid found in the seeds from the tree Picralima nitida, commonly known as Akuamma.  It is an opiate, but its action is principally on the  kappa opioid receptor, as such it is not a plant that gives you direct spiritual experience in the way that opium or morphine does.  But it heals and is useful as a means of healing as such it is worthwhile including it because it indirectly helps spiritual experience in the suppression category by relieving pain and illness.

The dried seeds from this plant are used in traditional medicine throughout West Africa, particularly in Ghana as well as in the Ivory Coast and Nigeria.  The seeds are crushed or powdered and taken orally.

In traditional African medicine, Picralima nitida seeds are used for the treatment of  malaria and diarrhoea.  It is used as a painkiller and for its antipyretic, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects.

The fruit pulp, possesses hypoglycaemic properties.

Akuammicine from the seeds has been demonstrated to ‘stimulate glucose uptake’ supporting the traditional use of the seeds of P. nitida in the management of diabetes mellitus in Nigeria.

An enterprising Ghanaian hospital started manufacturing standardised 250mg capsules of the powdered P. nitida seed, and sold them around the country where they became widely accepted as a safe and effective pain relief product. This then led researchers to try and discover the active component of the seeds.

The bark of  Picralima nitida can be soaked in boiling water and has been shown to be effective against Trypanosomiasis or trypanosomosis  –  a very nasty set of diseases caused by parasitic protozoan trypanosomes of the genus Trypanosoma. Approximately 500,000 men, women and children in 36 countries of sub-Saharan Africa suffer from human Africa trypanosomiasis. The other human form of trypanosomiasis, called Chagas disease, causes 21,000 deaths per year  mainly in Latin America 


The alkaloids

The following lists the main alkaloids in the seeds of Picralima nitida.  One group of alkaloids – the Akuammine family are generally speaking opioids, but there is another group in the seeds  – the pericine group.  What we can see is that overall, in the Akuammine group any mu activity appears to be cancelled out, but the strongest activity comes from delta and particularly kappa receptors .  The pericine group are still a bit more of a mystery and it may be that the other health giving properties are obtained from them: 

  • Akuammidine – Akuammine is the main alkaloid found in the seeds, comprising 0.56% of the dried powder.  It is structurally related to both yohimbine and mitragynine [see kratom].  Akuammidine showed a preference for opioid binding sites with Ki values of 0.6, 2.4 and 8.6 microM at mu-, delta- and kappa-opioid binding sites, respectively.  This makes it essentially a kappa agonist with some delta and even less mu activity.  Akuammidine has hypotensive, skeletal muscle relaxant and local analgesic activities. Its local analgesic activity is about 3 times as potent as codeine. It acts selectively as a sympatholytic, unaccompanied by parasympatholytic effects. 
  • Akuammine – akuammine also showed high affinity for mu-opioid binding sites (Ki 0.5 microM) but was an antagonist at mu-opioid receptors with a pK(B) of 5.7 against the selective mu-opioid receptor agonist enkephalin (DAMGO).   Its other properties, however, suggest it has agonistic properties at other opioid sites.  Akuammine has strong sympathomimetic and local analgesic activities.

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