Central effects of isolated fractions from the root of Petiveria alliacea L. (tipi) in mice

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Nov 20;120(2):209-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.08.012. Epub 2008 Aug 19.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Petiveria alliacea L. (tipi) a shrub from Phytolaccaceae family is popularly used in folk medicine for treating a wide variety of disorders in South and Central America.

Aim of the study: To investigate the neuropharmacological properties on experimental animals.

Materials and methods: The acetate (FA), hexanic (FH), hydroalcoholic (FHA) and precipitated hydroalcoholic (FHAppt) fractions from the root of tipi were studied to investigate its pharmacological properties in the classical behavioral models (open-field, elevated plus maze-EPM, rotarod, barbiturate-induced sleeping time, forced swimming and pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced convulsions tests) using mice. These fractions were administered intraperitoneally and orally to female mice at single doses of 100 and 200mg/kg.

Results: All these fractions decreased the locomotor activity, rearing and grooming in the open-field test, suggesting a possible central depressant action. No significant effect was evident on motor coordination of the animals in the rotarod test. On EPM, all the fractions of tipi presented a significant reduction on the time of permanence in the open arms, indicating an absence of anxiolytic-like effect. In addition, the fractions increased the immobility time in the forced swimming test and potentiated pentobarbital-induced sleeping time in mice, confirmed a probable sedative and central depressant effect. Furthermore, the fractions increased the latency to the first convulsion and the lethal time of the PTZ-induced convulsions test in the animals, confirmed its popular use as anticonvulsant.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that the fractions of P. alliacea L. contains biologically active substance(s) that might be acting in the CNS and have significant depressant and anticonvulsant potentials, supporting folk medicine use of this plant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Anticonvulsants / isolation & purification
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Central America
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / isolation & purification
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Phytolaccaceae / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots
  • South America


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Plant Extracts