Ethnopharmacological investigation of plants used to treat susto, a folk illness.
ABSTRACT Selected plants used to treat susto, a folk illness recognized by various groups of Latin America, were screened for anxiolytic and/or fear suppression activity in behavioral assays. We found that the plant used by most of the healers interviewed (Adiantum tetraphyllum Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.; Adiantaceae) suppressed certain components of anxiety and fear. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the biological activity of Adiantum tetraphyllum. This finding supports the contention that susto may represent what in the Western culture is defined as fear or anxiety, and hence may share the same psychological, biological or neural underpinnings. In light of the available literature, this represents the first experimental investigation of the biological activity of plants specifically in the perspective of their use in treating a culture-bound syndrome.
Article: El Susto: a descriptive analysis.International Journal of Social Psychiatry 02/1973; 19(1):38-43. · 1.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Eleven benzodiazepines were evaluated in the staircase test in mice. The behavioural parameters measured were the number of steps climbed and the number of rears during a 3-min test. Climbing and to a lesser extent rears were enhanced at low doses, whereas both parameters, particularly rearing, were reduced at higher doses. The differential effects of the drugs on the two parameters were used to determine indices of anxiolytic efficacy for each drug where increases in climbing were taken to indicate the onset of anxiolytic activity and decreases in rearing the onset of sedative activity. The compounds could be ranked according to these indices in a manner which appears to reflect their therapeutic profile in man.Psychopharmacology 02/1987; 92(1):106-9. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although numerous behavioral tests are available to assess anxiety, we introduce a simplified version of a previously established test that is exquisitely sensitive and reliable. The latency to consume a palatable snack (graham wafer crumbs) was assessed among mice in their home cage and in an unfamiliar environment, as well as in the presence or absence of predator scent. The effects of various anxiolytics and nonanxiolytics were evaluated in these paradigms. When offered the palatable snack in a familiar environment, mice readily approached and began consumption; however, in a novel environment (cage with fresh bedding), or in the presence of predator scent (rat feces), response latencies increased 10-fold. Anxiolytics, including diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, propranolol, or chronic treatment with either buspirone or the antidepressant desmethylimipramine attenuated the effects in the novel environment without affecting home-cage responding. In contrast, nonanxiolytic agents (haloperidol, amphetamine, acute buspirone or desmethylimipramine) failed to exclusively affect novel environment-induced prolongation of response latencies. The simplicity of design, the absence of food deprivation or neurogenic stressors, the possibility of using it in a repeated measures design, the reliability and magnitude of response, and the specificity and sensitivity to anxiolytic drugs makes this an ideal preparation with which to assess anxiety and anxiety-altering manipulations.Biological Psychiatry 10/2003; 54(5):552-65. · 9.25 Impact Factor