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Preparations of Boswellia dalzielii stem bark are used traditionally in Nigeria in the treatment of fever, rheumatism, gastrointestinal discomforts and mental derangements. The efficacy of this plant in the treatment of mental disorders is well acclaimed among the Gwandara communities of North-Central part of Nigeria. This study was aimed at evaluating the behavioural effects of the methanol stem bark extract of Boswellia dalzielii using diazepam-induced sleep, hole-board, open field and beam walking assay tests in mice at doses of 20, 40 and 80 mg/kg. B. dalzielii extract significantly (p< 0.05) and dose dependently prolonged the duration of diazepam-induced sleep in mice. A dose-dependent decrease in the number of head-dips which was significant at p< 0.001 was also produced by the extract. In the open field test, the extract at all doses tested (20, 40 and 80 mg/kg) significantly reduced the number of square crossing and number of rearing in a dose dependent manner. The extract did not produce motor coordination deficit in the beam walking assay. Diazepam (1 mg/kg) did not produce a significant difference in the time taken to reach the goal box either; however, it produced a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the number of foot slips compared to the control group. The results suggest central nervous system depressant action of stem bark extract of Boswellia dalzielii which might have contributed to its application in ethnomedicine for the treatment of mental disorders.
Keywords: Boswellia dalzielii, Behaviour, Exploration, Motor coordination, Sleeping time