New insight in the neuropharmacological activity of Humulus lupulus L

J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Oct 31;102(1):102-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2005.05.040.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of Humulus lupulus CO2 extract and its fraction containing alpha-acids on the central nervous system of rats. Both tested substances were able to prolong pentobarbital sleeping time, without affecting the latency to the loss of the righting reflex. This effect was dose-dependent, starting from a minimal dose of 10 mg/kg. Neither the extract nor its alpha-acid fraction affected the locomotor activity in the open field test or exerted an anxiolytic effect in rats submitted to the elevated plus-maze test. Interestingly both compounds reduced the immobility time during the behavioral despair test when administered three times (24, 5 and 1 h) before the test. In conclusion this report shows that Humulus lupulus CO2 extract exerts: (a) a pentobarbital sleep-enhancing property without influencing the motor behavior of rats; (b) an antidepressant activity. The same effects were elicited by the administration of the Humulus lupulus fraction containing alpha-acids, which can be considered as the major responsible for the enhanced pentobarbital effect and for the antidepressant property.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Humulus*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Plant Extracts