Petiveria alliacea exerts mnemonic and learning effects on rats

J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Jul 1:169:124-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.04.005. Epub 2015 Apr 18.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Petiveria alliacea L. (Phytolaccaceae) is a perennial shrub native to the Amazon region and other tropical areas such as Central America and the Caribbean. Popularly known as mucuracaá, P. alliacea is used in the folk medicine for a broad variety of therapeutic purpose and also in religious ceremonies by slaves as a sedative, which highlights its properties on the Central Nervous System (CNS).

Aim of the study: The present study evaluated the effects of the P. alliacea leaves hydroalcoholic extract (PaLHE) on the cognition, including learning and memory.

Material and methods: Three-month-old male and female Wistar rats (n=8-10/group) were administered with 900mg/kg of PaLHE. The behavioral assays included Step-down Inhibitory avoidance (IA) and Morris Water Maze (MWM) tests.

Results: Consistent with our previous reports, P. alliacea improved long-term memory. It also exerted previously unreported effects on short-term and spatial memory improvement, and increased learning in the tasks.

Conclusions: The P. alliacea extract elicited mnemonic effects and improved the learning process in both IA and MWM tests. Our results highlight the importance of further studies in order to identify the active substances of the PaLHE and investigate the pharmacological mechanisms that underlies the reported effects.

Keywords: Caffeine (PubChem CID: 2519); Central nervous system; Learning; Memory; Mucuracaá; Petiveria alliacea; Sodium Chlorate (PubChem CID: 516902).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects*
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects*
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Phytolaccaceae*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Plant Extracts