Evaluation of extracts of Diospyros fischeri
(Ebenaceae), which is used traditionally for the treatment of epilepsy shows that the aqueous extract of the tem bark has no effect against picrotoxin induced convulsions in mice. However, an 80% ethanol extract of the bark caused dose-dependent suppression of convulsions induced by 10 mg/kg body wt picrotoxin, at doses between 100-3200 mg/kg body wt. Petroleum ether, 1:1 dichloromethane:methanol, and methanol extracts also suppressed picrotoxin-induced convulsions, but had a slightly lower inhibitory effect. The petroleum ether extract was the most active, but all were less active than the ethanol extract. Unlike phenobarbitone, which at 50 mg/kg body wt completely suppressed convulsions induced by 10 mg/kg body wt picrotoxin, none of the plant extracts completely suppressed convulsions in the mice. These results support the traditional uses of D.fischeri
for the treatment of epilepsy. Given the seemingly innocuous nature of the extracts more work is suggested to ascertain their clinical application.