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Anxiolytic properties of botanical extracts in the chick social separation-stress procedure

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Rationale: The recent growth in sales of natural products labeled as dietary supplements in the United States has renewed scientific interest in the study of the therapeutic effects of multi-component botanical products. Objectives: This study sought to determine whether botanical extracts derived from the Rutaceae family, Acori graminei, the Magnoliaceae family, Alchemilla vulgaris and Primula veris, which had previously been identified in bioassays as having potential anxiolytic activity, were active in the chick social separation-stress procedure. Methods: Eight-day-old chicks received IP injections of test articles 30 min before being tested in the presence of two social companions or in isolation for a 3-min observation period. Dependent measures were: a) latency to adopt a ventral recumbent posture to index sedation, b) number of vocalizations to index separation-distress and c) a composite pain score (comprised of footlift frequency and footlift duration in response to 50 µl of 0.10% formalin injected into the plantar surface of the foot) to index stress-induced analgesia. Results: Proprietal extracts NPS00033 from the Rutaceae plant family and NPS00039 (Relora™) from the Magnoliaceae plant family screened positive in this chick model without causing sedation. Conclusions: These results suggest that botanical extracts Relora™ and NPS00033 may be useful in modulating anxiety states.

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Sufka, K., Roach, J., Chambliss Jr, W. et al. Anxiolytic properties of botanical extracts in the chick social separation-stress procedure. Psychopharmacology 153, 219–224 (2001).

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