Neuropharmacological characterization of the oneirogenic Mexican plant Calea zacatechichi aqueous extract in mice.
Metab Brain Dis. 2016 Jan 28. Epub 2016 Jan 28. PMID: 26821073
This study evaluates the neuropharmacological effects of the aqueous extract of the Mexican plant Calea zacatechichi Schltdl., which is commonly used in folk medicine to treat cough, asthma, and gastrointestinal disorders. Moreover, it has been used for centuries in traditional rituals based on divination and is thought to possess hallucinogenic activity. To test the neuropharmacological effects of the aqueous extract of C. zacatechichi we used mouse models of convulsions, an elevated plus-maze test and measured locomotor activity. We also evaluated the effect of the extract on antidepressant-like behavior in forced swim test, as well as on muscular strength in a grip test. Moreover the antinociceptive action of the extract was evaluated in the hot-plate and writhing tests. The chemical composition of the extract was evaluated using LC-MS techniques. The aqueous extract of C. zacatechichi did not affect any of the parameters measured in seizure models. It had also no influence on anxiety, exploratory behavior and muscular strength in the applied doses. On the other hand, the extract exhibited antinociceptive effect in the mouse model of abdominal pain. Chemical characterization of the extract showed the presence of chlorogenic acid, acacetin, and germacranolides. Based on this report we suggest that aqueous extract of C. zacatechichi has insignificant neuropharmacological effects in vivo and reduces abdominal pain perception. Our results, together with previous studies showing beneficial effects of the extracts obtained from C. zacatechichi suggest that these preparations may be used to treat medical conditions.