A REVIEW: PLANTS AND HERBS USED IN ANXIETY
Awan Bharti*1, Sweta Gautam2
1Department of Pharmacognosy,
Shri Rawatpura Sarkar Institute of Pharmacy, Datia, M.P.
2Department of Pharmacognosy, RKDF College of Pharmacy, Bhopal
Interest in alternative medicine and plant-derived medications that affect the "mind" is growing. Anxiety affects one-eighth of the total population of the world and has become a very important area of research interest in psychopharmacology during this decade. Anxiety, a state of excessive fear, is characterized by motor tension, sympathetic hyperactivity, and apprehension and vigilance syndromes. Benzodiazepines are the major class of compounds used in anxiety and they have remained the most commonly prescribed treatment for anxiety, despite the important unwanted side effects that they produce such as sedation, muscle relaxation, ataxia, amnesia, ethanol and barbiturate potentiation and tolerance. Various types of herbal medicines have been used as anxiolytic drugs in different parts of the world. Folk medicines have particular values, for example, plants that "calm down", tranquilize, and raise mood, such as Passiflora coerulea, Valeriana officinalis, Matricaria recutita, Jatropa cilliata, Salvia guaranitica, Tilia tormentosa, and Tilia europeae. Plants have long been used to treat central nervous system (CNS) disorders.
Reference Id: PHARMATUTOR-ART-1597
At present, anxiety and depression are the most frequent psychiatric condition commonly found and number of population suffers from the conditions at some time during their life. In present era, a sudden holocaust of mental disorders, and recognition of severe side effects and addiction liabilities associated with long term administration of widely prescribed synthetic drugs have aroused the attention of researchers towards natural resources. Plants like Valeriana officinalis, Nardostachys jatamansi, Withania somnifera and Panax ginseng have been used extensively in various traditional systems of therapy because of their adaptogenic and psychotropic properties. Inclusion of these well established CNS affecting plants in the arsenal of modern therapeutics has revived the faith of researchers in the plants . The fear due to height (acrophobia) induces anxiety in the animals when placed on the elevated plus-maze. The ultimate manifestation of anxiety and fear in the animals is exhibited by decrease in motor activity, which is measured by the time spent by the animal in the open arms . Benzodiazepines have been extensively used for the last 40 years to treat several forms of anxiety, but due to their unwanted side effects, alternative treatment strategies with favorable side-effect profiles, credible benefits and moderate costs are of interest, especially in primary care settings. Medicinal plants are a good source to find new remedies for these disorders. In the search for an alternative, more specific, and perhaps cost-free therapy, research has been conducted to investigate natural anxiolytic drugs as well as new antidepressant principles .
Actaea spicata Linn. (Ranunculaceae) has been traditionally used for the treatment of various ailments such as rheumatism, inflammation, nerve diseases, lumbago, scrofula and chorea. roots of the plant were extracted using solvents in order of increasing polarity viz., petroleum ether (60-80oC), chloroform, methanol and distilled water. All the crude extracts were evaluated for anti-anxiety activity in mice using elevated plus maze apparatus. Among all these extracts, only methanol extract exhibited significant anti-anxiety activity at a dose of 100 mg/kg in mice with respect to control as well as standard (diazepam, 2 mg/kg).
Among medicinal plants,Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) Aiton. (Loganiaceae) has been recommended for relief of anxiety in traditional folk medicines. Antianxiety activity using the elevated plus maze model. Diazepam was used as standard drug. Among various extracts, the methanol extract of G. sempervirens exhibited significant increases in open arm entries and mean time spent in open arms at the dosage of 150 mg/kg. A fraction derived from the methanol extract was also observed to exhibit significant anxiolytic activity at the dose level of 10 mg/kg in the elevated plus maze test .
Coriandrum sativumL. Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) is an annual herb commonly used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, Latin American, African and Southeast Asian cuisine . C. sativum is also used for the management of CNS disorders. C. sativum may be a useful in the management of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, on account of its multifarious effects, that is, memory-improving property, cholesterol-lowering property and anticholinesterase activity . The anti-anxiety activity of hydroalcoholic extract of Coriandrum sativum (Linn.) using different animal models (elevated plus maze, open field test, light and dark test and social interaction test) of anxiety in mice. Diazepam (0.5 mg/kg) was used as the standard and dose of hydroalcoholic extract of C. sativum fruit (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg) was selected as per OECD guidelines. Results suggested that extract of C. sativum at 100 and 200 mg/kg dose produced anti-anxiety effects almost similar to diazepam, and at 50 mg/kg dose did not produce anti-anxiety activity .
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