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Phoenix dactylifera contains some phytochemical constituents which have been reported
to be associated with different pharmacological activities. Triterpenes and steroids,
flavonoids, cardiac glycoside among other phytochemicals have been reported to possess
anticonvulsant activity. This study therefore is aimed at evaluating the anticonvulsant
activity of aqueous extract of Phoenix dactylifera fruits using Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ),
Maximum electroshock test (MEST), Strychnine, Picrotoxin, 4-Aminopyridine (4-AP) and
Isoniazid (INH)-induced seizure. The acute toxicity study carried out on the aqueous
extract revealed that the LD50 is above 5000 mg/kg i.e the extract is practically non-toxic.
In each model of seizure, the animals were divided into 5 groups. Group 1 was
administered Normal Saline (10 ml/kg, p.o), groups 2, 3 and 4 were administered graded
doses of the aqueous extract 250 mg/kg, 500 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg (p.o) one hour before
seizure induction while group 5 was treated with the respective standard antiepileptic drug
(i.p) thirty minute before induction of seizure. In MEST model, the extract exhibited a
significant (p<0.05) decrease in recovery time from seizure at all the tested doses. In the
Strychnine (2 mg/kg, i.m) seizure test, the extract significantly (p<0.05) delayed the onset
of hind limb tonic extensor jerks which was dose-dependent. Aqueous extract of Phoenix
dactylifera at the tested doses did not exhibit any form of delay or protection against
seizure and mortality in Pentylenetetrazole (90mg/kg, s.c), 4-AP (13.3 mg/kg, s.c),
picrotoxin (3.5 mg/kg, i.p) and INH (300 mg/kg, s.c)-induced seizures. It can therefore be
concluded that the aqueous extract of Phoenix dactylifera posseses constituents which may
be beneficial in the management of generalized tonic- clonic seizure and is possibly
mediated via the augmentation of inhibitory neurotransmitters, possibly glycinergic
The role of medicinal plants in the solution of health problems is invaluable on a global
level. Medicinal plants continue to provide valuable therapeutic agents, both in modern
and in traditional medicine (Krentz and Bailey, 2005). With the associated side effects
of the modern medicine, traditional medicines are gaining importance and are now
being studied to find the scientific basis of their therapeutic actions.
Traditional medicines, especially with medicinal plants (herbal) have been practiced
for long time in most parts of the world. In Saudi Arabia, there are many medicinal
plants with claim of neurological potential. But these claims of treatment successes are
often made without any scientific basis (Khoshnood-Mansoorkhani,and Moein, 2010).
Date palm which is commonly grown in Saudi Arabia and many parts of the World
including Nigeria is believed to have beneficial effects in the management or treatment
of neurological disorders.
Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, date probably
originated from lands around the Persian Gulf ((Walid and Marshall, 2003). The
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