Behavioural effects of Passiflora incarnata L. and its indole alkaloid and flavonoid derivatives and maltol in the mouse

J Ethnopharmacol. 1997 Jun;57(1):11-20. doi: 10.1016/s0378-8741(97)00042-1.


Lyophilised hydroalcoholic and aqueous extracts of the aerial parts of Passiflora incarnata L. (Passifloraceae) (Passion-flower), as well as chemical constituents of the plant, indole alkaloids (harman, harmin, harmalin, harmol, and harmalol) maltol and flavonoids (orientin, isoorientin, vitexin and isovitexin) were assessed for behavioral effects in mice. The accordance with the traditional use of P. incarnata, psychotropic properties were confirmed by some behavioral tests in mice. The anxiolytic properties of hydroalcoholic extract were confirmed at 400 mg/kg by the increase of rears and steps climbed in the staircase test (non-familiar environmental test), and the increase in locomotion and time spent in light side in the light/dark box choice test (non-familiar environmental test). The sedative properties of aqueous extract were confirmed at 400 g/kg by decrease of rears and steps climbed in the staircase test and the decrease of rears and locomotion in the free exploratory test. Moreover, the aqueous extract induced sleep in mice after treatment with a sub-hypnotic dose of pentobarbital.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacology
  • Indoles / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Pyrones / pharmacology*
  • Sleep / drug effects


  • Alkaloids
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Indoles
  • Plant Extracts
  • Pyrones
  • maltol