Background: Galanthum nivalis has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties.
Although traditionally used as an antidote to poison, G. nivalis has also recently been found
to have effects in neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and mild cognitive impairment.
Recent studies also suggest that it may have neurological activity that may be beneficial for
psychiatric and neurological disorders like anxiety.
Objective: This study aimed to assess the neurological activity of G. nivalis extract using a behavioral
test of anxiety-like behavior in Syrian hamsters.
Methods: G. nivalis extract was administered daily to hamsters while undergoing a semi-naturalistic
version of the open field test to assess anxiety. Hamsters were video recorded during their natural
active times beginning an hour before and ending an hour after lights-on and lights-off. Free roaming
behaviors were scored in a 2 x 4 m open pen with enrichment objects for hamsters to interact
with. After 10 days, hamsters were subjected to a social interaction test with a novel conspecific.
Results: Hamsters receiving G. nivalis extract showed increased time that was spent free-roaming
and a greater proportion of that time was spent moving. They also spent more time interacting with
enrichment objects in the open pen. The social interaction test showed that hamsters receiving G.
nivalis extract spent more time playing with a novel conspecific.
Conclusion: G. nivalis extract is a neurologically active natural product with behaviorally relevant
effects. It improved anxiety-like behavior in hamsters, as evidenced by increased time free roaming,
moving, and interacting with objects, while improving social interactions.