Pachyrhizus erosus: Central Nervous System Effect

weight lossPachyrhizus erosus is a vine from the Fabaceae or legume family. The plant is native to Mexico. Common names for the plant include jicama, Mexican yam bean or Mexican turnip. The root of the plant is edible and the seeds (legumes) can also be consumed. The central nervous system effects of Pachyrhizus erosus has been investigated in mice. For example, in one study researchers administered extracts of the seeds of Pachyrhizus erosus to mice and then exposed the mice to a number of experimental protocols to assess central nervous system effects of the extracts. The results of the study showed that the extracts of Pachyrhizus erosus had significant anxiolytic and myorelaxant effects. In addition the extracts also significantly decreased locomotor activity and caused a reduction in aggressive effects. Therefore the extracts of Pachyrhizus erosus had significant central nervous system effect that  may explain the use of the plant as a spasmolytic agent in traditional medicine.

pachyrhizus erosus anxiety

Like the seeds of most leguminous plants, the seeds of Pachyrhizus erosus contain isoflavones, a sub-group of the flavonoid group of phytochemicals. Phenylcoumarin, a phenolic compound is also present. These phytochemical may explain some of the antioxidant effects of the seeds of Pachyrhizus erosus. As antioxidants have been shown to produce anxiolytic effects, this may explain the observations of mood elevation from consumption of Pachyrhizus erosus. Image is root of Pachyrhizus erosus. Image from: Eric in SF – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https:// w/ index.php?curid=4324665.


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Abid, M.., Hrishikeshavan, H. J. and Asad, M. 2006. Pharmacological evaluation of Pachyrrhizus erosus (L) seeds for central nervous system depressant activity. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 50(2): 143-151

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Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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