Matrine is an alkaloid found in plants from the Sophora genus. It has a variety of pharmacological effects, including anti-cancer effects, as well as κ-opioid and μ-opioid receptor agonism.
Matrine possesses strong antitumor activities in vitro and in vivo. Inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis are the likely mechanisms responsible for matrine’s antitumor activities. Matrine is a component of the traditional Chinese medical herb Sophora flavescens Ait.
Mu opioid agonism is associated with euphoria, while kappa opioid agonism is associated with dysphoria and psychotomimetic hallucinations (as seen in the kappa-agonist Salvinorin A). Both receptors are known to produce analgesia when activated.
Matrine and the related compound oxymatrine have an antifeedant effect against formosan subterranean termite.
As a new type of green insecticide, the product exerts its function mainly by direct contact, subsidiarily by stomach poison. Once pests touch it, their nervous systems are paralyzed immediately, then proteins of their bodies will denaturalize, finally they will die of breathlessness.