Background The most widely prescribed medications for anxiety disorders are the Benzodiazepines; however, they have prominent side effects. Thus, interest in alternative medicine that affects the ‘mind’ is growing. Among medicinal plants, Urtica urens has been recommended for relief of anxiety in Morocco folk medicine. Nevertheless, no pharmacological studies have thus far evaluated its effects on central nervous system.
Methods This work is aimed to evaluate a possible anxiolyticlike effect of methanolic extract of Urtica urens in the elevated plus maze (EPM) and Open Field (OF) models of anxiety. The Urtica urens extract was administered orally to Balb/c mice, at graded doses and diazepam was given intraperitonealy.
Results In the EPM, methanolic extract at 100-400 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 U. urens (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 Urtica urens might possess significant anxiolytic potential to be pursued further for drug development process and provide a scientific evidence for its traditional claim.
Zouhra Doukkali, Khalid Taghzouti, EL Houcine Bouidida, Rabie Kamal, Mohamed Nadjmouddine, Yahya Cherrah, Katim Alaoui