Published: 2017-01-18

Preclinical evaluation of Boswellia serrata for anxiolytic activity

Prabhakar Adake, Mahalaxmi S. Petimani, M. Jayaraj, S. N. Rao


Background: Boswellia serrata (BS)has been described in the ancient Ayurvedic texts Sushruta Samhita and Charaka Samhita. It possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-arthritic and antioxidant properties. It is found that BShelps in surging of GABA levels in mice brain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible anxiolytic activity of BSin Swiss albino mice by light and dark arena (LDA) and elevated plus maze (EPM) models.

Methods: In this study, BS(50 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg; p.o) was evaluated for anxiolytic action and compared with standard drug (diazepam) and control (normal saline) in mice by LDA and EPM models. In LDA, number of entries and time spent in light and dark boxes were noted for individual mouse. Similarly, number of entries and time spent in open and closed arms were recorded for EPM model.

Results: One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) followed by Dunnett’s post-hoc test was used to analyze the data. BSin a dose of 50 mg/kg has shown significant increase in time spent in light box (p<0.05) and decrease in time spent in dark box (p<0.05) when compared to control group in LDA model. Similarly, in EPM model 200 mg/kg of BS significantly increased time spent in open arm (p<0.001) and decrease in time spent in closed arm (p<0.001) when compared to control group.

Conclusion: BS in dose of 50 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg has significant anxiolytic action in animal models.


Anxiolytic activity, Boswellia serrata, Elevated plus maze, Light and dark arena

Full Text:



Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National comorbidity survey replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005;62(6):617-27.

Trivedi JK, Gupta PK. An overview of Indian research in anxiety disorders. Indian J Psychiatry. 2010;52 Suppl 1:S210-8.

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for the Assessment of Mental Disorders. 4th Edition. Washington, DC. American Psychiatric Press; 1994: 886.

Lydiard RB. The role of GABA in anxiety disorders. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003;64(3):21-7.

Nemeroff CB. The role of GABA in the pathophysiology and treatment of anxiety disorders. Psychopharmacol Bull. 2003;37(4):133-46.

Eser D, Schüle C, Baghai TC, Romeo E, Uzunov DP, Rupprecht R. Neuroactive steroids and affective disorders. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2006;84(4):656-66.

Perugi G, Frare F, Toni C. Diagnosis and treatment of agoraphobia with panic disorder. CNS Drugs. 2007;21(9):741-64.

Longo LP, Johnson B. Addiction: part I. Benzodiazepines – side effects, abuse risk and alternatives. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(7):2121-8.

Lader M, Tylee A, Donoghue J. Withdrawing benzodiazepines in primary care. CNS Drugs. 2009;23(1):19-34.

Bouayed J, Rammal H, Dicko A, Younos C, Soulimani R. Chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol from Prunus domestica (Mirabelle), with coupled anxiolytic and antioxidant effects. J Neurol Sci. 2007;262(1-2):77-84.

Boswellia serrata. Altern Med Rev. 1998;3:306-7.

Yao K, Zhang L, Zhang Y, Ye P, Zhu N. The flavonoid, fisetin, inhibits UV radiation-induced oxidative stress and the activation of NF-kappaB and MAPK signaling in human lens epithelial cells. Mol Vis. 2008;14:1865-71.

Robertson RP. Arachidonic acid metabolites relevant to medicine. In: Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, Petersdorf RG, editors. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 11th Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1987: 375.

Safayhi H, Mack T, Sabieraj J, Anazodo MI, Subramanian LR, Ammon HP. Boswellic acids: novel, specific, nonredox inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1992;261(3):1143-6.

Ammon HP. Salai Guggal-Boswellia serrata: from a herbal medicine to a specific inhibitor of leukotriene biosynthesis. Phytomedicine. 1996;3(1):67-70.

Carr MN, Bekku N, Yoshimura H. Identification of anxiolytic ingredients in ginseng root using the elevated plus-maze test in mice. Eur J Pharmacol. 2006;531(1-3):160-5.

Mir AH, Sexena M, Malla MY. An acute oral toxicity study of methanolic extract from Tridex procumbens in Sprague Dawley’s rats as per OECD guidelines 423. Asian J Plant Sci Res. 2013;3(1):16-20.

Bourin M, Petit-Demoulière B, Dhonnchadha BN, Hascöet M. Animal models of anxiety in mice. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2007;21(6):567-74.

Miller CS. Are we on the threshold of a new theory of disease? Toxicant-induced loss of tolerance and its relationship to addiction and abdiction. Toxicol Ind Health. 1999;15(3-4):284-94.

Pall ML, Satterlee JD. Elevated nitric oxide/peroxynitrite mechanism for the common etiology of multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001;933:323-9.

Desrumaux C, Risold PY, Schroeder H, Deckert V, Masson D, Athias A, et al. Phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) deficiency reduces brain vitamin E content and increases anxiety in mice. FASEB J. 2005;19(2):296-7.

Ersan S, Bakir S, Erdal Ersan E, Dogan O. Examination of free radical metabolism and antioxidant defence system elements in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2006;30(6):1039-42.

Kuloglu M, Atmaca M, Tezcan E, Gecici O, Tunckol H, Ustundag B. Antioxidant enzyme activities and malondialdehyde levels in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neuropsychobiology. 2002;46(1):27-32.

Kuloglu M, Atmaca M, Tezcan E, Ustundag B, Bulut S. Antioxidant enzyme and malondialdehyde levels in patients with panic disorder. Neuropsychobiology. 2002;46(4):186-9.

Atmaca M, Tezcan E, Kuloglu M, Ustundag B, Tunckol H. Antioxidant enzyme and malondialdehyde values in social phobia before and after citalopram treatment. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2004;254(4):231-5.

Vignes M, Maurice T, Lanté F, Nedjar M, Thethi K, Guiramand J, et al. Anxiolytic properties of green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Brain Res. 2006;1110(1):102-15.

Baldwin DS, Polkinghorn C. Evidence-based pharmacotherapy of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2005;8(2):293-302.

Nutt DJ, Ballenger JC, Sheehan D, Wittchen HU. Generalized anxiety disorder: comorbidity, comparative biology and treatment. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2002;5(4):315-25.

Komada M, Takao K, Miyakawa T. Elevated plus maze for mice. J Vis Exp. 2008;(22):1088.