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AANA J. 2011 Apr;79(2):109-14.

Evaluation of the anxiolytic properties of myristicin, a component of nutmeg, in the male Sprague-Dawley rat.

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William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas, USA.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the anxiolytic effects of myristicin, a major compound found in nutmeg, and its potential interaction with the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA(A)) receptor in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Nutmeg has traditionally been used as a spice in food preparation and as an herbal remedy in the treatment of many medical conditions, including anxiety. Fifty-five rats were divided equally into 5 groups: control (vehicle); myristicin; midazolam (positive control); flumazenil and myristicin; and midazolam and myristicin. The behavioral component of anxiety was examined by using the elevated plus-maze (open-arm and closed-arm times) along with analysis of gross and fine motor movements. Data analysis was performed using a 2-tailed multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and least significant difference post-hoc test. Our data suggest that myristicin does not decrease anxiety by modulation of the GABA(A) receptor but may promote anxiogenesis. When myristicin was combined with midazolam, an antagonist-like effect similar to the flumazenil and myristicin combination was exhibited by a decrease in anxiolysis compared with the midazolam-only group. Myristicin may antagonize the anxiolytic effects of midazolam, increase anxiety, and affect motor movements.

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