This study aimed to determine the effects of chronic (15 consecutive days of treatment) per os administration of Melissa officinalis L. extract (Cyracos, Naturex) on anxiety-like reactivity in mice. As measured by HPLC, Cyracos contains significant amounts of rosmarinic acid and the triterpenoids oleanolic acid and ursolic acid, which inhibit gamma-aminobutyric acid transaminase (GABA-T) activity and increase GABA levels in the brain (Awad et al., 2007; Awad et al., 2009). Thus, we evaluated Cyracos use in independent groups of C57BL/6 mice with regard to anxiety-like reactivity in an elevated plus maze and an open field task. We found that Cyracos significantly reduced anxiety-like reactivity in the elevated plus maze dose-dependently, but no significant effect was observed in the open field task. Parallel experiments in independent groups of mice showed that the Cyracosdose at which it exerted anxiolytic-like effects in the elevated plus maze did not alter exploratory or circadian activities. Therefore, our results demonstrate that Cyracos has anxiolytic-like effects under moderate stress conditions and does not alter activity levels.
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