Academic Editor: Yoshihiro Noda
Background: Anxiety disorders are an important not only medical, but also social problem, affecting approx. 300 million people worldwide in 2019. Medications used in the treatment of anxiety are associated with many adverse reactions, which explains the increased use of herbal products as anxiolytics. Methods: An anxiolytic activity of Satureja montana, rosmarinic acid and carvacrol after 14-day long administration on an animal model of acute stress was studied. For measurement of anxiolytic effect elevated plus maze, social interaction and Vogel tests were provided as well as examination of locomotor activity. Results: The dry extract of Satureja montana at both tested doses significantly increased locomotor activity as well as the time spent in the social recognition, compared to the control groups. The extract reduced the time in the closed arms and the proportion of entries into open arms to total entries and increased the time in the open arms of elevated plus maze compared to the positive control group. Likewise, rosmarinic acid and carvacrol increased significantly the time spent with a new congener in the social interaction test. Both compounds reduced the ratio of entries into open arms to total entries similarly to the dry extract of Satureja montana. Only rosmarinic acid increased the time in the open arms and reduced the time in the closed arms. Conclusions: Satureja montana at both experimental doses exerted a significant anxiolytic activity in almost all the tests employed for evaluating anxious behavior. Carvacrol and rosmarinic acid showed a moderate anxiolytic effect.