Anti-Anxiety Effects of Mercurialis annua Aqueous Extract in the Elevated Plus Maze Test.

Zouhra Doukkali, Rabie Kamal, Meryem El Jemelif, Mohamed Nadjmouddine, Amina Zellou, Yahya Cherrah, Katim Alaoui and Khalid Taghzouti

The most widely prescribed medications for anxiety disorders are the Benzodiazepines; however, they have prominent side effects. Therefore, the development of new pharmacological agents is well justified and interest in alternative medicine that affects the ‘mind’ is growing. Among medicinal plants, Mercurialis annua has been recommended for relief of anxiety in Morocco folk medicine. Method: The present study was undertaken to investigate the effects of methanolic extract of Mercurialis annua in the elevated plus maze (EPM) and Open Field (OF) models of anxiety. The Mercurialis annua extract was administered orally to Balb/c mice, at graded doses and diazepam was given intraperitonealy. Result: In the EPM, methanolic extract at 200-400 mg/kg showed an anxiolytic effect by increasing the time spent on open arms and the percentage of open arm entries compared to control group. In an open field test methanolic extract of M.a (400 mg/kg) increased the central area crossing, the time spent and number of rearing in the center of arena. Conclusion: These data support that the methanolic extract of M.a might possess significant anxiolytic potential to be pursued further for drug development process and provide a scientific evidence for its traditional claim.