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J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Mar 24;128(2):541-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.01.012. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

Dual effects of crude extracts obtained from Petiveria alliacea L. (Phytolaccaceae) on experimental anxiety in mice.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, State University of Maringá, Av Colombo no 5790, 87020-900 Maringá, Paraná, Brazil.



Different preparations obtained from P. alliacea have been traditionally used in South America and Brazil for many medical conditions. To investigate the effects of fresh whole plant (WP) extract, aerial part (AP) extract, and root (R) extract obtained from Petiveria alliacea using the elevated plus maze (EPM) model of anxiety in mice. Total flavonoid content present in Petiveria alliacea extracts was also determined.


WP, AP, or R (300-900 mg/kg) extracts were orally administered to mice 30 min before they were subjected to the EPM and open field test. Total flavonoid content present in the extracts was determined by spectrophotometry.


The WP extract (300 and 900 mg/kg) caused anxiolytic-like effects, and the AP extract (300 mg/kg) induced anxiogenic-like effects in mice subjected to the EPM. No effect on anxiety-like behavior was observed with acute administration of the R extract. The content of flavonoids present in the AP extract (1.34%) was almost threefold higher than the flavonoid content present in the WP extract (0.52%).


Preparations using different fresh parts of Petiveria alliacea caused opposite effects on experimental anxiety in mice. However, predicting the extent to which flavonoid content present in Petiveria alliacea extracts differentially induces anxiolysis or anxiogenesis in mice was not possible. Further studies will be necessary to elucidate the effects of flavonoids or other substances present in Petiveria alliacea extracts on experimental anxiety.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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