Objective: Angelica archangelica Linn. is widely used in food and liquor preparations and also in Kashmiri folk medicine to reduce anxiety. We evaluated the anxiolytic effect of successive extracts of A. archangelica linn. (SAE) on rats tested in the elevated T-maze test (an animal model of generalized anxiety) at doses that exhibit antidepressant-like activity in humans.
Methods: A. archangelica (1 kg) was subjected to successive extraction in a soxhlet apparatus with solvents [petroleum ether (40-60 degrees C), chloroform, ethyl acetate, methanol and decoction with water] in order of increasing polarity (yield: 6.9%, 7.3%, 5.1%, 11.88% and 8.2% w/w, respectively). SAE were evaluated for anxiolytic effects using the elevated T-maze and forced swimming tests in rats.
Results: Oral dosing of diazepam (1 mg/kg) and extracts (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg) clearly showed an anxiolytic-like profile in the elevated T-maze test: it increased one-way escape and decreased inhibitory avoidance on the first, third and seventh day. In the forced swimming test, imipramine and SAE showed antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects as reflected by increased climbing time, swimming time and decreased immobility time on the first, third and seventh day. Aqueous and methanol extracts showed the most, petroleum ether (40-60 degrees C) and chloroform intermediate, and ethyl acetate the least anxiolytic activity (*P<0.05, **P<0.01, ***P< 0.001) in both models.
Conclusions: These results suggest the anti-anxiety activity of various extracts of A. archangelica and strongly justify its use in traditional Indian medicine for the treatment of anxiety.