Behavioural effects of the American traditional plant Eschscholzia californica: sedative and anxiolytic properties

Planta Med. 1991 Jun;57(3):212-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-960076.


Eschsholzia californica Cham. is a traditional medicinal plant of the Indians used by the rural population of California for its analgesic and sedative properties. Our study on the aqueous extract shows that this plant reduced the behavioural parameters measured in a familiar environment test in mice (novelty preference, locomotion and rearings in two compartments test) at doses above 100 mg/kg and in non-familiar environment tests (staircase test) at doses above 200 mg/kg. This finding validates its traditional sedative properties confirmed by the sleeping induction at doses above 100 mg/kg. Furthermore, when administered at a dose a of 25 mg/kg, E. californica appeared to also have an anxiolytic action since it produced an increase of the number of steps climbed by mice in the staircase test (anticonflict effect) and that of the time spent by animals in the lit box when they were confronted with the light/dark choice situation. Before evaluation of the behavioural effects, it was verified that our aqueous extract did not induce any toxic effect when administered i.p. and p.o.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents* / toxicity
  • Female
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives* / toxicity
  • Indians, North American
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mice
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity
  • United States


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Plant Extracts