The seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia Baill., a tropical shrub native to West Africa, are rich in 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan (5-HTP), a direct precursor in the synthesis of serotonin (5-HT). In spite of the modern therapeutic application of Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract in mood disorders, no scientific evidence has been provided till now. For this reason the aim of our study was to investigate the effect of Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract on anxiety behavior. Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract, dosed at 1, 5, 10 and 25 mg/kg, was orally administered in rats which were submitted to the dark-light test and open field test, 60 min after the treatment. In the dark-light test, the administration of the extract at the doses of 10 and 25 mg/kg was able to significantly increase the time spent in the light compartment (P<0.05). In the open field test, the extract dosed at 5, 10 and 25 mg/kg induced an anti-tigmotactic effect, as indicated by a significant increase of time spent in the central area of the open field (P<0.01). In conclusion these findings indicate that Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract exerts anxiolytic-like effect in rats and suggest its potential usefulness for the treatment of anxiety in humans.
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