The present study has been designed to evaluate the putative anxiolytic activity of petroleum ether, chloroform, methanol and water extracts of the aerial parts ofAethusa cynapium using the widely accepted elevated plus-maze model in mice. An attempt has been made to isolate the bioactive fraction by resorting to bioactivity directed fractionation and chromatographic procedures like column and flash chromatography. Fraction 126.96.36.199, which was derived from the methanol extract of the plant, showed significant anxiolytic activity at a dose of 50 mg/kg as compared to the standard drug, diazepam (2 mg/kg p.o.). This subfraction comprises of two flavonoid components. The study validates the traditional use of A. cynapium for the treatment of anxiety.
Key words: Aethusa cynapium L., anxiolytic effect, elevated plus-maze model, column and flash chromatography.
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