Scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and from the National Institute of Psychiatry Ramon de la Fuente Muñiz (INPRFM) studied the chemical compounds of the plants: Agastache mexicana or Mexican giant hyssop (a type of lemon balm) and Tilia americana var. mexicana (a type of large-leaved linden). The research aimed to analyze these plants’ potential use in relation with possible treatments for central nervous system diseases like depression and anxiety.
The research team has discovered that the three varieties of Agastache mexicana (white, purple and blue), and the Tilia Americana var. mexicana, have anxiolytic effects, i.e. have a depressant action of central nervous system intended to reduce or eliminate anxiety symptoms. Through a pharmacological evaluation, it was proven the calming, anti-depressive, sedative, analgesic and anticonvulsant properties in these plants.
According to the UNAM Faculty of Sciences specialist Dr. Eva Hernández Aguirre, the effects of these plants are produced by compounds called natural flavonoids, which have been recognized as a new family of psychotropic drugs (benzodiazepines). With the huge advantage that natural flavonoids, unlike other benzodiazepines, have no side effects. Therefore, these findings may help to develop better drugs against depression.
Part of the problem of suffering from psychiatric illnesses is – as explained by Dr. Eva Maria Gonzalez from the INPRFM – that once started, they gradually intensify. And effective drugs to treat these diseases produce side effects such as sedation and dependence.
Dr. Eva Maria Gonzalez assisted in the research, performing a phytochemical study to isolate and identify the secondary metabolites synthesized by both plants. Among the elements obtained in this study are numerous essential oils; which are used as raw material in drug production for central nervous system diseases. The highlight was discovering that these plants synthesize flavonoid type compounds. On these, Dr. Gonzalez explained, “[The flavonoids] have anti-oxidant properties and protect cells from oxidative stress, related to pathologies associated with aging like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”
The pharmacological evaluation was conducted in animal models to determine the efficacy and the safety margin of the active components of both plants. The results evidenced the medicinal properties of Agastache mexicana and Tilia Americana var. mexicana in the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system.
In this regard, Dr. Eva Aguirre added that “the next step is to perform experiments with other animal species to have greater results; allowing, in the long term, applying it into clinical trials with children and adults, healthy and with nervous system problems”.
Via: Agencia ID