CC BY 4.0 · Libyan International Medical University Journal 2022; 07(02): 057-062
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-1760832
Original Article

Preliminary Investigation into the Anticonvulsant, Sedative and Muscle Relaxant Effects of the Methanolic Extract of Capparis spinosa L. Leaves in Mice

Aisha Mohamed Dugani
1   Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Tripoli, Libya
Sarah Saleh Khasheba
1   Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Tripoli, Libya
Abdurazag Abdulsalam Auzzi
2   Department of Pharmacognosy and Natural Products, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Tripoli, Libya
› Author Affiliations


BackgroundCapparis spinosa L is a Mediterranean plant. In Libya, the plant grows in rocky areas and at high altitudes. It is commonly used by the inhabitants of the Mediterranean region in their kitchen and treatment of many diseases.

Aim This study was undertaken to investigate the central nervous system depressant, anticonvulsant, and the muscle relaxant activities of orally administered methanolic extract from the leaves of C. spinosa L. (MECS) in mice.

Methods The oral administration of three doses of the MECS in mice (500, 1000, and 2000 mg/kg) were evaluated in the picrotoxin (PC)-induced convulsion model, ketamine-induced sleep, and rota rod test. Diazepam was used as a reference drug for comparison. Results were analyzed using SPSS program version 16. Data are presented as mean ± SEM, and compared using one-way ANOVA followed by Duncan's test. The significance level was set at p < 0.05

Results Oral administration of MECS (1000 and 2000 mg/kg) significantly prolonged the onset of seizures (p < 0.01) and produced dose-dependent protection against PC-induced seizures compared with the control group (12.5% and 50% protection, respectively). MECS significantly (p < 0.05) and dose dependently reduced ketamine sleep latency (from 3.16 ± 0.16 to a minimum of 1.5 ± 0.22 minutes) and prolonged ketamine-induced sleeping time (from 11.33 ± 1.99 to a maximum of 33.33 ± 0.95 minutes). In the accelerated rotarod test, MECS significantly (p < 0.01) decreased the riding time on the rotarod (from 128.83 ± 14.6 to a minimum of 1.83 ± 0.47 seconds) as compared with the normal saline control group.

Conclusion The results showed that the MECS possesses anticonvulsant, sedative, and muscle relaxant properties in mice.

Publication History

Article published online:
03 February 2023

© 2023. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, permitting unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction so long as the original work is properly cited. (

Thieme Medical and Scientific Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
A-12, 2nd Floor, Sector 2, Noida-201301 UP, India

  • References

  • 1 Moshi MJ, Kagashe GAB, Mbwambo ZH. Plants used to treat epilepsy by Tanzanian traditional healers. J Ethnopharmacol 2005; 97 (02) 327-336
  • 2 WHO. 2008 Traditional Medicine. EB134/24, 134th session, 31st December, 2013. Accessed August 27, 2022 at:
  • 3 Oyebode O, Kandala NB, Chilton PJ, Lilford RJ. Use of traditional medicine in middle-income countries: a WHO-SAGE study. Health Policy Plan 2016; 31 (08) 984-991
  • 4 Kiasalari Z, Khalili M, Roghani M, Sadeghian A. Antiepileptic and antioxidant effect of Brassica nigra on pentylenetetrazol-induced kindling in mice. Iran J Pharm Res 2012; 11 (04) 1209-1217
  • 5 Wahab A, Ul Haq R, Ahmed A, Khan RA, Raza M. Anticonvulsant activities of nutmeg oil of Myristica fragrans . Phytother Res 2009; 23 (02) 153-158
  • 6 Hosseinzadeh H, Khosravan V. Anticonvulsant effects of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Crocus sativus L. stigmas in mice. Arch Iran Med 2002; 5 (01) 44-47
  • 7 Yazdi A, Sardari S, Sayyah M, Hassanpour Ezzati M. Evaluation of the anticonvulsant activity of the leaves of Glycyrrhiza glabra var. glandulifera grown in Iran, as a possible renewable source for anticonvulsant compounds. Iran J Pharm Res 2011; 10 (01) 75-82
  • 8 EI-Gadi A, Bshana S. Usage of Some Plants in Libyan Folk Medicine. 1st ed. Vol. l, AUP Publication, Libya (in Arabic); 1989
  • 9 Vellucci SV, Webster RA. Antagonism of caffeine-induced seizures in mice by Ro15-1788. Eur J Pharmacol 1984; 97 (3-4): 289-293
  • 10 Amabeoku GJ, Chikuni O. Cimetidine-induced seizures in mice. Antagonism by some GABAergic agents. Biochem Pharmacol 1993; 46 (12) 2171-2175
  • 11 Erden BF, Ulak G, Yildiran G, Gacar N. The effect of 7-nitro indazole on pentobarbital-induced sleep in mice. Pharmacol Res 1997; 36 (04) 265-267
  • 12 McIlwain KL, Merriweather MY, Yuva-Paylor LA, Paylor R. The use of behavioral test batteries: effects of training history. Physiol Behav 2001; 73 (05) 705-717
  • 13 Usman H, Yaro AH, Garba MM. Phytochemical and anticonvulsant screening of the ethanolic flower extracts in Newbouldia laevis in mice. Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology 2008; 3 (121) 127-133
  • 14 Amole Olufemi Olatokunboh, Yemitan Omoniyi Kayode, Oshikoya Kazeem Adeola. Anticonvulsant activity of Rauvolfia vomitoria. African Journal of Pharmacy and *Pharmacology 2009; 3 (06) 319-322
  • 15 Hosseinzadeh H, Talebzadeh F. Anticonvulsant evaluation of safranal and crocin from Crocus sativus in mice. Fitoterapia 2005; 76 (7-8): 722-724
  • 16 Okokon JE, Nwafor PA. Antiulcer and anticonvulsant activity of Croton zambesicus . Pak J Pharm Sci 2009; 22 (04) 384-390
  • 17 Balaji S. Medical therapy for sudden death. Pediatr Clin North Am 2004; 51 (05) 1379-1387
  • 18 Dhanasekarana S, Palayam M. Sedative and anticonvulsant activity of the methanol leaf extract of Ficus hispida linn. Drug Invention Today 2009; 1 (01) 23-27
  • 19 Czapiński P, Blaszczyk B, Czuczwar SJ. Mechanisms of action of antiepileptic drugs. Curr Top Med Chem 2005; 5 (01) 3-14
  • 20 Shetty LJ, Harikiran H, Fernandes J. Pharmacological Evaluation of ethanolic extract of flowers of Tagetes erecta on epilepsy. J Pharma Res 2009; 2 (06) 1035-1038
  • 21 Sonavane GS, Sarveiya VP, Kasture VS, Kasture SB, Kasture SB. Anxiogenic activity of Myristica fragrans seeds. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2002; 71 (1-2): 239-244
  • 22 Sonavane GS, Palekar RC, Kastura VS, Kasture SB. Anticonvulsant and behavioural actions of Myristica fragrans seeds. Indian J Pharmacol 2002; 34 (05) 332-338
  • 23 Jäger AK, Saaby L. Flavonoids and the CNS. Molecules 2011; 16 (02) 1471-1485
  • 24 Zohary M. The species of Capparis in the Mediterranean and the near Eastern countries. Bull Res Counc Isr 1969; 8D: 49-64
  • 25 Alkire B. New Crops Factsheet: Capers, Center of New Crops and Plant Products, Purdue University, USA (1998). Accessed Oct 12, 2022, :
  • 26 Hammouda M, Ismai Sl, Abdel-Azim NS. A Guide To Medicinal Plants in North Africa. Batanouny K, ed. Publisher IUCN Center for Mediterranean cooperation, Malaga, Spain; 2005: 63-65
  • 27 Ayoka AO, Akomolafe RO, Iwalewa EO, Akanmu MA, Ukponmwan OE. Sedative, antiepileptic and antipsychotic effects of Spondias mombin L. (Anacardiaceae) in mice and rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2006; 103 (02) 166-175
  • 28 Moghaddasian B, Eradatmand A, Eghdami A. Caper is the mystique of the recent century. Int J Agric Crop Sci 2012; 4 (10) 604-608
  • 29 Barbera G, Di Lorenzo R. The caper culture in Italy. Acta Hortic 1984; (144) 167-171
  • 30 Sadykov L, Yu D, Khodzhimatov M. Alkaloids of Capparis spinosa . Dokl. Akad. Nauktadzh. SSR. 1981; 24 (10) 617-620
  • 31 Khanfar MA, Sabri SS, Zarga MH, Zeller KP. The chemical constituents of Capparis spinosa of Jordanian origin. Nat Prod Res 2003; 17 (01) 9-14
  • 32 Adeyemi OO, Yemitan OK, Adebiyi OO. Sedative and anticonvulsant activities of the aqueous root extract of Sanseviera liberica Gerome & Labroy (Agavaceae). J Ethnopharmacol 2007; 113 (01) 111-114
  • 33 Singh D, Singh B, Goel RK. Anticonvulsant mechanism of saponins fraction from adventitious roots of Ficus religiosa: possible modulation of GABAergic, calcium and sodium channel functions. Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy 2016; 26: 579-585
  • 34 Maharana PK. Ethnobotanical, phytochemical, and pharmacological properties of Cerbera manghas L. J Biosci 2021; 46 (01) 1-8