Anxiolytic-like effects of Gastrodia elata and its phenolic constituents in mice

Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Feb;29(2):261-5. doi: 10.1248/bpb.29.261.


The purpose of this study was to characterize the putative anxiolytic-like effects of the aqueous extract of the rhizome of Gastrodia elata along with its phenolic constituents, 4-hydroxybenzyl alcohol (HA) and 4-hyroxybenzaldehyde (HD), using an elevated plus maze (EPM) in mice. The mice were administered either the aqueous G. elata extract orally or received an intraperitoneal injection of the phenolic constituents, 1 h before the behavioral evaluation in the EPM. A single treatment of the aqueous G. elata extract significantly increased the percentage of time spent and arm entries into the open arms of the EPM versus the saline controls. Among the phenolic constituents of G. elata, HA and HD significantly increased the percentage of time spent and arm entries into the open arms of the EPM versus saline controls (p<0.05). Moreover, there were no changes in the locomotor activity and myorelaxant effects in any group compared with the saline controls. In addition, the anxiolytic-like effects of G. elata extract were blocked by both WAY 100635 (0.3 mg/kg, i.p.), a 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist, and flumazenil (10 mg/kg, i.p.), a GABA(A) receptor antagonist. The anxiolytic-like effects of HA were inhibited by WAY 100635 and the effects of HD were antagonized by flumazenil. These results indicate that G. elata is an effective anxiolytic agent, and suggests that the anxiolytic-like effects of G. elata via the serotonergic nervous system depends on HA and those effects of G. elata via the GABAergic nervous system depends on HD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Benzaldehydes / isolation & purification
  • Benzaldehydes / pharmacology*
  • Benzyl Alcohols / isolation & purification
  • Benzyl Alcohols / pharmacology*
  • Flumazenil / pharmacology
  • GABA Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Gastrodia / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Rhizome / chemistry
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzaldehydes
  • Benzyl Alcohols
  • GABA Antagonists
  • Phenols
  • Piperazines
  • Plant Extracts
  • Pyridines
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • 4-hydroxybenzyl alcohol
  • Flumazenil
  • N-(2-(4-(2-methoxyphenyl)-1-piperazinyl)ethyl)-N-(2-pyridinyl)cyclohexanecarboxamide
  • 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde