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Abstract Detail

Society for Economic Botany/BSA Economic Botany Section

Herrera, Katherine [1], Measor, Kevin [2], Bamshad, Maryam [3], Balick, Michael [4].

Effect of Kava (Piper methysticum G. Forst.) on Social and Affect Behaviors of Prairie Voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

The lateralroots of the Kava plant (Piper methysticum G. Forst.) have been used for centuries by Western Pacific Islanders to make a beverage. The properties of this beverage and its chemical constituents have been shown to have anxiolytic effects in humans, mice, and chicks. Based on ethnobotanical studies of the traditional use of Kava, it is also hypothesized that Kava reduces aggression and fosters social bonding among those drinking it. To test this hypothesis, we used prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) because they display social and affect behaviors that are similar to humans, and it will aid to elucidate the neuronal mechanisms of Kava's effect on behavior. Two methods of Kava administration were utilized. The first method consisted of using commercially available powdered Kava to make a solution similar to what would be traditionally imbibed by humans. This was given to a group of sexually na've females for a period of approximately 48 hrs in place of their regular water source. The second method of administration used commercially available Kava extract that was serially diluted and injected intraperitoneally to a separate group of females. After administration of Kava, the voles' anxiety levels were tested using two different tests, the elevated plus maze and the habit trail. To observe any aggression and affiliation behavioral changes, a third test was used. Results indicate that Kava lowered anxiety in the experimental voles; however, experimental voles did not demonstrate more affiliative behavior as predicted. These subjects spent significantly less time in direct contact with the stimulus voles as compared to their control counterparts. This suggests an alternative effect that Kava may be having on social behaviors.

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1 - The New York Botanical Garden, Institute of Economic Botany, 200 St. & Kazimiroff Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458, USA
2 - Lehman College, Biological Sciences, Bronx, NY, 10468
3 - Lehman College, Biological Sciences, Bronx, NY, 10469, United States
4 - New York Botanical Garden, 200th St And Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 02
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: 02004
Abstract ID:600

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