Myrica Salicifolia (Myricaceae) an investigation into the pharmacological basis of its use in traditional medicine
Myrica salicifolia Hochst ex A. Rich (Myricaceae) is a tree whose root extracts are drank by masai worriors to prime themselves for battle. In humans the extract is reported to produce detachment from the external environment, feelings of invincibility, irritability, aggressiveness, overeaction to extraneous sounds and a tendency to keep a posture for a long time. the objective of this work was to explore the usefulness of this plant by defining its pharmacological profile in laboratory animals. To this end the plant extract was put through a battery of neuropsychopharmacological tests and an examination of its systemic pharmacological and toxicblogical effects. tested on gross behavioural effects in rats and mice, salicifolia root extract proved to be a central nervous system (CNS) depressant which did not cause sleep even in high doses. The depressant activity was characterised by reduction in spontaneous and motor activity, muscle relaxation, palpebral ptosis and catalepsy. The depressant effect was further reflected by the potentiation by the extract of the hypnotic effect of three different cns depressants, diethyl ether, ethanol and pentobarbitone.