In Cameroon, leaves of Psorospermum febrifugum Spach (Hypericaceae) (P. febrifugum) are used in traditional medicine to treat anxiety, agitation and fever. Stress induced hyperthermia, elevated plus maze, open field and hole board tests were used to evaluate the anxiolytic properties of the plant in mice. The doses of the decoction used were 25, 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg. The decoction of P. febrifugum showed antipyretic properties by reducing in a dose dependent manner the body temperature that changed from 36.70 ± 0.62°C to 32.82 ± 1.26°C at the dose of 200 mg/kg. The decoction of P. febrifugum showed also anxiolytic activities in the four tests. In the hole board, P. febrifugum decreased the latency of the first head dip and increased the number of head dips. In the elevated plus maze, P. febrifugum increased the number of entries into open arms, the percentage of entries and time into open arms and reduced rearing, head dipping and the percentage of entries and time into closed arms. In the open field, P. febrifugum like diazepam produced an increase in crossing, grooming and in time spent in the center and reduced the number of rearing. In stress-induced hyperthermia test, P. febrifugum antagonised dose dependently the increase of temperature. ΔT° decrease from 1.87°C in the control group to 0.70°C at the dose of 200 mg/kg. This finding could justify the use of P. febrifugum in traditional medicine in Cameroon in treatment of anxiety and fever.
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