Sedative, hypothermic, anxiolytic effects and rapid radical scavenging property of aqueous leaf extract of Vitex doniana (Lamiaceae) in mice

Sedative, hypothermic, anxiolytic effects and rapid radical scavenging property of aqueous leaf extract of Vitex doniana (Lamiaceae) in mice

Joshua Oloruntobi IMORU1*, Ayodeji Oluwabunmi ORIOLA2, Idris Ajayi OYEMITAN1 and Moses Atanda AKANMU1

1Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.
2Drug Research and Production Unit, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

International Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine

Vitex doniana is used ethnomedicinally for the management of madness, insanity, and epilepsy. This study was undertaken to evaluate the sedative, hypothermic and anxiolytic effects of crude aqueous leaf extract of Vitex doniana (AVD) in mice, as well as its rapid radical scavenging property. Doses of 250, 500, and 1000 mg/kg AVD were adopted for the pharmacological testing in mice of both sexes (n=6). The behavioural effects of the extract in the open field apparatus were determined. AVD was evaluated for its anxiolytic effect, using elevated T- maze, staircase, and hole-board models. While the sedative and hypothermic effects of the extract in mice were determined by assessments of ketamine-induced sleeping time and rectal temperature respectively. AVD was subjected to rapid radical scavenging test using thin-layer chromatography (TLC)-bioautography. The results showed AVD to have an inhibitory effect on CNS in the open field test. AVD demonstrated anxiolytic effect at 250 mg/kg, and sedative effect at 500 and 1000 mg/kg. The sedative effect of AVD at 500 and 1000 mg/kg was further revealed in ketamine-induced sleeping time and rectal temperature. AVD also showed strong free radical scavenging property attributed to the presence of fatty acid esters, terpenes, phenolics, and phenolic glycosides. AVD is acutely non-toxic and it possesses significant sedative, hypothermic and anxiolytic effects, which could in part be due to the presence of rapid free radical scavenging compounds, thus, providing pharmacological justification for its ethnomedicinal uses as a curative for madness and insanity.

Keywords: Vitex doniana; sedative; anxiolytic; hypothermic; rapid radical scavenging property.

Free Full-text PDF

How to cite this article:

Joshua Oloruntobi IMORU, Ayodeji Oluwabunmi ORIOLA, Idris Ajayi OYEMITAN, Moses Atanda AKANMU.Sedative, hypothermic, anxiolytic effects and rapid radical scavenging property of aqueous leaf extract of Vitex doniana (Lamiaceae) in mice. International Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 2020, 5:32. DOI: 10.28933/ijctm-2020-07-0505


1. Orwa C, Mutua A, Kindt R, Jamnadass R, Anthony S. Agroforestree Database:a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. World Agroforestry Web site. 2009.
2. Ky KJM. Vitex doniana Sweet [Internet]. PROTA4U. 2008 [cited 2018 Nov 7]. Available from:
3. Iwu MM. Handbook of African Medicinal Plants. London: CRC; 1993.
4. Ladeji O, Udo F, Okoye Z. Activity of aqueous extract of the bark of Vitex doniana on some uterine response to drugs. Phyther Res. 2004;19:804–6.
5. Bethesda MD. Stem cell Markers in Stem cell information. J Dent Res. 2009;65(2):125–7.
6. Erhenhi E, Obadoni BO. Known medicinal and aphrodisiac plants of Urhonigbe forest reserve, Edo State, Nigeria. J Med Plants Stud. 2015;3(4):101–6.
7. Vunchi MA, Umar AN, King MA, Liman AA, Jeremiah G, Aigbe CO. Proximate, Vitamins and Mineral Composition of Vitex doniana (black plum) Fruit Pulp. Niger J Basic Appl Sci. 2011;19(1):98–101.
8. Olujobi OJ. Evaluation of the nutritive composition of five indegenous tree leaves used as vegetable in Ekiti State. J Agric Enviromental Sci. 2015;4(1):185–97.
9. Dawang ND. Phytochemical Constituents and Toxicological Study of Vitex Doniana Leaf. 2015;10(5):23–7.
10. Iloh EO, Onyema IB, Agbafor KN, Ezeilo RU. Preliminary Phytochemical and Antimicrobial Screening of Vitex doniana Leaves. J Med Dent Sci. 2015;2(10):10–2.
11. Kuta FA, Onochie I, Garba S, Adedeji AS. An invitro and in-vivo antibacterial activity of Vitex doniana crude extracts on Salmonella typi. Int J Sci Res Sci Eng Technol. 2015;1(5):71–9.
12. Aiwonegbe AE, Iyasele JU, Momodebe RO. Characterization of a natural dye produced from the alcoholic extract of African black plum (Vitex doniana) fruit pulp using wool fabric. In: Material Science and Technology Society of Nigeria (MSN). 2017. p. 105–9.
13. Abdulrahman, I F, Akan, C J, Sodipo, A O, et al. Effect of Aqueous Root-Bark Extract of Vitex Doniana Sweet on Haematological Parameters in Rats. J Am Sci [Internet]. 2010;6(12):8–12. Available from:
14. Iwueke A, Nwodo O, Okoli C. Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of Vitex doniana leaves. African J Biotechnol. 2006;5(20):1929–35.
15. Agbafor K, Nwachukwu N. Phytochemical Analysis and Antioxidant Property of Leaf Extracts of Vitex doniana and Mucuna pruriens. Biochem Res Int. 2011;1–4.
16. Agunu A, Yusuf S, Andrew GO, Zezi AU, Abdulrahman EM. Evaluation of five medicinal plants used in diarrhoea tratment in Nigeria. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;101(1–3):27–30.
17. Nwogo AO, Kalu MK, Godwin CC, Glory O, Nweke CN. Effects of Aqueous and Methanolic Leaf Extracts of Vitex doniana on Lipid Peofile and Liver Enzymes of Alloxan Induced Diabetic Albino Rats. IOSR J Pharm Biol Sci. 2013;6(5):36–43.
18. Nwaneri-Chidozie V, Yakubu O, Jatto O, Paul PL. Lipid Profile Status of Streptozotocin-induced Diabetic Rats Treated with Ethanol, N-Hexane and Aqueous Extracts of Vitex doniana Leaves. Res J Pharm Biol Chem Sci. 2014;5(2):40–9.
19. Yadav A, Kawale L, Nade V. Effects of Morus alba L. (Mulberry) leaves on anxiety in mice. Indian J Pharmacol. 2008;40:32–6.
20. Lal H, Emmet-Oglesby MW. Behavioural analogus of anxiety: Animal models. Neuropharmacology. 1983;22(12b):1423–41.
21. Lorke D. A new approach to practical acute toxicity testing. Arch Toxicol. 1983;54:275–87.
22. Ajayi AA, Ukponmwan OE. Positive evidence of angiotensin and endogenou opiod modulation of anxiety-induced rearing in rats. African J Med Sci. 1994;22:287–90.
23. Brocco M, Dekeyne A, Viegn S, Girardon S, Millan MJ. Induction of hyperlocomotion in mice exposed to a novel enviroment by inhibition of serotonin reuptake: a pharmacological characterization of diverse classes of antidepressant agents. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2002;77:667–80.
24. Brown AG, Corey S, Moore AK. Difference in measures of exploration and fear in MHC-Congenic C57 BL/6J and B6-H-2K mice. Behav Genet. 1999;26:263–71.
25. Brown RG, Nemes C. The exploratory behaviour of rats in the hole-board apparatus: is head-dipping a valid measure of neophilia? Behavoural Process. 2008;78(3):442–8.
26. Graeff FG, Viana MB, Tomaz C. The elevated T-maze a new experimental model of anxiety and memory: Effect of diazepam. Brazillian J Med Biol Res. 1993;16:69–70.
27. Simiand J, Keane PE, Moore M. The staircase test in mice: a simple and procedure for screening of anxiolytic agents. J Psychopharmacol. 1984;84:48–53.
28. Pandiamunian J, Lavakumar S, Pandian J, Somasundaram G, Sabash KR. Evaluation of anxiolytic effect of pet- ether extract of Portala caoleracea (Linn.) in mice. Int J Appl Bbiology Pharm Technol. 2012;3:209–14.
29. Magaji MG, Yaro AH, Musa AM, Anuka JA, Abdu-Agaye I, Hussaini IM. Sadative activity of residual aqueous fraction of Securinega virosa (roxbrex wild) baill. root bark extract in mice. Niger J Pharm Sci. 2011;10(2):34–44.
30. Casarrubea M, Filippina S, Santageb A, Crescimanno G. Microstructural Assessment of Rodent Behaviour in Hole- board. In: Spink AJ, Grieco F, Krips OE, Loijens LWS, Noldus LPJJ, Zimmerman PH, editors. Experimental Assay, Proceedings of Measuring Behavoir. Nertherlands: Eindhoven; 2010. p. 133–6.
31. Vogel HG. Drug Discovery and Evaluation: Pharmacological Assays. 2nd ed. Berlin: Heidelberg, NY, Springer-Verlay; 2002.
32. Oyemitan IA, Elusiyan CA, Akanmu MA, Olugbade TA. Hypnotic, anticonvulsant and anxiolytic effects of 1-nitro-2-phenylehane isolated from the essentia oil of Dennettia tripetala in mice. Phytomedicine. 2013;1–8.
33. Oyemitan IA, Ojo E, Oyedeji AO. Neuropharmacological profile of ethanolic dried extract seed of Persea americana in mice. African J Pharm Pharmacol. 2016;10(22):480–92.
34. Siqueira I, Lara D, Silva D, Gaieski F, Nunes D, Elisabetsky E. Psychopharmacological properties of Ptochopetalum olacoides Bentham (Olacaeae). Pharm Biol. 1998;36(5):327–34.
35. Dandiya RC, Collumbine H. Studies on Acorus calamus III. Some Pharmacological actions of the volatile oil. J Ethnopharmacol Exp Ther. 1999;125:353–9.
36. Hellion-Ibarrola MC, Ibarrola DA, Montalbetti Y, Villalba D, Helinichen O, Ferro EA. Acute toxicity and general pharmacological effect on central nervous system of crude rhizome extract of Kyllinga brevifola Rottb. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;66:272–6.
37. Ayoka AE, Akomolafe RO, Iwalewa EO, Akanmu MA, Ukponmwan OE. Sedative, anti- epileptic and antipsychotic effects of Spondias mombin L. (Anacardiaceae) in mice and rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;103:166–75.
38. Oyemitan IA, Iwalewa EO, Akanmu MA, Olugbade TA. Sedative, Hypothermic, and Muscle Relaxant effects of the Essential oils of Dennettia tripetala G. Baker (Annonaceae), and its mechanisms in Mice. Ife J Sci. 2008;10(1):1–9.
39. Burits M, Bucar F. Antioxidant activity of Nigella sativa essential oil. Phyther Res. 2000;14:323–8.
40. Mensor LL, Fábio SM, Gilda GL, Alexandre SR, Tereza C dos S, Cintia SC, et al. Screening of Brazilian plant extracts for antioxidant activity by the use of DPPH free radical method. Phyther Res. 2001;15:127–130.
41. Alhaddad H, Fadhil AM, Ismael SH. Estimation of LD50 and Toxicity of Zygophyllum fabago in Mice. Am J Pharmacol Sci. 2015;3(4):94–7.
42. Imoru JO, Oyemitan IA, Ilesanmi OR. Anxiolytic, Sedative and Hypothermic Effects of Aqueous Leaf Extract of Vernonia amygdalina Del (Asteraceae) in Albino Mice. Br J Pharmacutical Res. 2014;4(8):2210–25.
43. Dourish CT, Cooper SJ. Neural basis of drug- induced yawning. In: Cooper SJ, Dourish CT, editors. Neurobiology of stereotyped behaviour. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1990. p. 91–116.
44. Sadile AG. Long- time habituation of theta-related activity components of albino rats in the Latmaze. In: Sanberg PP, Ossenkopp KP, Kavaliers M, editors. Motor activity and movement disorders: measurement and analysis. New York: Humuna Press; 1995. p. 1–54.
45. Thakur VD, Mengi SA. Neuropharmacology Profile of Eclipta alba (Linn) Hassk. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;102:23–31.
46. Aderibigbe AO, Adeyemi IO, Agboola OI. Central Nervous System Depressant Properties of Treculia africana Decne. Ethnopharmacol Leafl. 2010;14:108.
47. Akanmu MA, Olowookere TA, Atunwa SA, Ibrahim BO, Lamidi OF, Adams PA, et al. Neuropharmacological Effects of Nigerian Honey In Mice. African J Tradit Complement annd Altern Med. 2011;8(3):230–49.
48. Jones D., Mongenson GJ, Wu M. Injection of dopaminergic, cholinergic, serotonergic and GABA-ergic drugs into the nucleous accubens effect on locomotor activity in rats. Neuropharmacology. 1981;20:29–37.
49. Strange PG, Neve K. Dopamine Receptors [Internet]. Tocris Bioscience Scientific Review Series. 2013 [cited 2019 Apr 22]. Available from:
50. File SE, Wardill AG. Validity of head-dipping as ameasure of exploration in a modified hole- board. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1975;44:53–9.
51. Pellow S, Chopin P, File SE, Briley M. Validation of open: closed arm entries in an elevated plus-maze as a measure of anxiety in the rat. J Neurosci Methods. 1985;14(3):149–67.
52. Takeda H, Tsuji M, Matsumiya T. Changes in head- dipping behaviour in hole- board test reflected the anxiogenic and/or anxiolytic state in mice. Eur J Pharmacol. 1998;350(1):21–9.
53. Kishore RN, Anjaneyulu N, Ganesh MN, Sravya N. Evaluation of anxiolytic activity of ethanolic extract of Foeniculum vulgare in mice model. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2010;4(3):584–5.
54. Barua CC, Begum SA, Barua AG, Borah RS, Lahkar M. Anxiolytic and anticonvulsant activity of methanol exttract of leaves of Alteranthera brasiliana in laboratory animals. J Exp Biol. 2013;51:450–7.
55. Teixeria RC, Zangross-Jr H, Graeff FG. Behavioural effects of acute and chronic imipramine in the elevated T- maze model of anxiety. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000;65:571–6.
56. Pinheiro, S.H, Zangrossi-Jr H, Del-Ben CM, Graeff FG. Elevated mazes as animal models of anxiety: effeccts of serotonergic agents. Ann da Acad Bras Ciencias (Annals Brazilian Acad Sci. 2007;79(1):71–85.
57. Bhaltacharya SK, Satyan KS. Experimental methods for evaluation of psychotropic agents in rodents: I – Antianxiety agents. Indian J Exp Biol. 1997;33:565–75.
58. Patel NB, Kumar S, Prasad AK, Patel JA, Patel HA. Assessment of anxiolytic activityof aqueous extract of magnifera indica L. leaves in rodents exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress. Int Res J Pharm. 2013;4(1):247–51.
59. Singh N, Kaur S, Bedi PMS, Kaur D. Anxiolytic effects of Equisetum arvense Linn. extract in mice. Indian J Exp Biol. 2011;49:352–6.
60. Asusu U, Ezejiofor S, Njoku CJ. The pharmacological activities of Olax viridis root bark on central nervous system. Fitoterapia. 1998;69:260–4.
61. Vale TG, Matos FJA, De-Lima TCM, Viana GSB. Behavioural effects of essential oils from Lippia alba (Mill) N.E. Brown chemotypes. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;167:127–33.
62. Hague S, Choudhuri MSK, Islam MV, Hannan JMA, Shahriar M. Pharmacological study of Sri Mahalaxmi bilas (Rasayan). Hamhard Med. 2001;44:54–60.
63. Houghton PJ. The scientific basis for the reputed activity of valerian. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1999;51:505–12.
64. Dhawan K, Kumar, Sharma A. Anti-anxiety studies on extracts of passiflora incarnate Linneaus. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;78:165–70.
65. Carlini EA. Plants and the central nervous system. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003;75:510–2.
66. Akindele AJ, Adeyemi OO. Anxiolytic and Sedative effects of Byrsocarpus coccineus Schum. and Thonn. (Connaraceae) extract. Int J Appl Res Nat Prod. 2010;3(1):28–36.
67. Gupta G, Kazmi K, Afzal M, Rhaman M, Saleem S, Ashraf MS, et al. Sedative, antiepileptic, and antipsychotic effects of Viscum album L. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;141:810–6.
68. Lozada-Lechuga J, Villarreal ML, Fliniaux MA, Bensaddek L, Mesnard F, Gutiérrez MC, et al. Isolation of jacaranone, a sedative constituent extracted from the flowers of the Mexican tree Ternstroemia pringlei. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;127(2):551–4.
69. Nugroho A, Lim SC, Choi J, Park HJ. Identification and quantification of the sedative and anticonvulsant flavone glycoside from Chrysanthemum boreale. Arch Pharm Res. 2013;36(1):51–60.