Background: Suaeda vermiculata is one of the widely distributed halophytes in central
Saudi Arabia. The plant is used as a remedy for liver diseases, jaundice, and inflammation. S.
vermiculata is also used as camels' food by local shepherds.
Purpose: The study aims to evaluate the behavioral antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of S.
vermiculata aqueous and ethanol extracts.
Methods: Aqueous and ethanol extracts of S. vermiculata were prepared by the maceration technique.
Standard forced swim test cylinder and light/dark chamber device were used to evaluate the
antidepressant and anxiolytic activities of the extracts (200 mg/kg) in rats model, respectively.
Results: The aqueous and ethanol extracts of S. vermiculata showed remarkable antidepressant
activity with significant increase in the swimming time and reduced immobility in the rats compared
to imipramine treated animals (P<0.05). Ethanol extract increased the swimming time by
20% and decreased the immobility time by more than 60% compared to the control group of animals.
In contrast, the extracts induced the anxiety behavior in experimental rats compared to vehicle-
treated animals. The extracts significantly (P<0.001) reduced the time spent by rats in the
light chamber by more than 50% and increased the time spent in dark chamber as compared with
the control group and the group receiving diazepam.
Conclusion: The medicinally important plant S. vermiculata induced anxiety behavior with antidepressant
activity in rats. These effects from our point of view are similar to the effects of some
common beverages containing caffeine such as coffee and tea.