Securinega virosa is used traditionally in the West African region as sedative in children and in mental illnesses. In this study, the behavioural effects of the methanol leaf extract of S. virosa were investigated in mice at doses of 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg, using diazepam-induced sleeping time, hole board and beam walking assay, all in mice. The results revealed that the extract at the highest dose tested (100 mg/kg) significantly (p ≤ 0.001) prolonged the duration of diazepam-induced sleep without any effect on the latency to sleep at all the doses tested. The extract did not have any effect on the exploratory behaviour of mice in the hole board test; it also had no effect on the motor coordination of the mice in the beam walking assay. The intraperitoneal LD50 was found to be 1265 mg/kg while the preliminary phytochemical screening of the extract revealed the presence of alkaloids, tannins, saponins and flavonoids. These results suggest that the methanol leaf extract of S. virosa contains biologically active principles that are sedative in nature.
Key words: Beam walking, exploratory behaviour, Securinega virosa, sleep.
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