Introduction: Ficus religiosa L. (Moraceae) has been of great medicinal value in traditional medicine and implicated in a wide variety of human and animal disorders. Its leaves have been used for the ethnomedical treatment of epilepsy. But its traditional antiepileptic use is not fully understood experimentally. Hence the present study was undertaken to explore the anticonvulsant effect of the leaves in experimental animal models of convulsion. Materials and Methods: The anticonvulsant effect of hydroethanolic leaf extract of F. religiosa was studied at 100, 250 and 500 mg/kg; intraperitoneally (i.p.) in maximal electroshock (MES), and at 100, 250, 500 and 600 mg/kg; i.p. doses in pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) test in mice. The duration of tonic hind limb extension(s) and latency to clonic convulsions (min) was noted in MES and PTZ tests, respectively. Phenytoin (25 mg/kg; i.p.) and diazepam (5 mg/kg; i.p.) served as reference standards in MES and PTZ tests, respectively. Percentage mortality was also noted. Results: There was no significant change observed after the extract treatment on the duration of tonic hind limb extension in MES test, and latency to clonic convulsions in PTZ test, as compared to their respective controls. Moreover, percentage mortality remained unaltered after the extract treatment. Conclusions: From the results of present study it is concluded that the hydroethanolic leaf extract of F. religiosa lacks anticonvulsant activity in MES- and PTZ-induced convulsion tests. Further studies are required from other regions and using different animal models to support these findings.
Key words: Convulsions, epilepsy, Ficus religiosa L., maximal electroshock, pentylenetetrazol, traditional medicine