Lycium schweinfurthii is a shrub belonging to the Solanaceae family which widely grows in North Africa and Mediterranean regions. The plant leaves have traditionally been used for gastrointestinal diseases as peptic ulcer in Libya. This study aimed to investigate the effect of Lycium schweinfurthii extract on the central nervous system in mice including anticonvulsant, antidepressant and muscle relaxant activities. The methanolic extract was prepared by fractionation technique. Albino male mice weighing 22 ± 2.0 gm were used and equally divided into equal number and weight for each experiment (n = 6). The best effective pharmacologically dose of 400 mg/kg, i.p. of the methanolic extract was selected to explore the anticonvulsant activity for picrotoxin-induced convulsion in mice (5.0 mg/kg), antidepressant activity of forced swimming test of depression and muscle relaxant action by motor coordination test of hanging wire. Fluoxetine (10.0 mg/kg), imipramine (15.0 mg/kg) and diazepam (5.0 mg/kg) were used as reference compounds. Lycium schweinfurthii extract exhibited a significant prolonged delay in the onset time of induced convulsion and significant decrease in the frequency of convulsion as well as a significant decrease in the duration time of attacks. Pretreatment with flumazenil (2.0 mg/kg) was found to increase the frequency and duration of convulsions without profound change in the onset time produced by Lycium schweinfurthii. For antidepressant activity, the plant leave extract significantly decreased immobility time duration without a muscle relaxant effect. The results suggest that the methanolic extract of Lycium schweinfurthii leave has anticonvulsant and antidepressant-like activities without any muscle relaxant effect in mice. Thus, Lycium schweinfurthii may have a neuropharmacological potential use in human.
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