Zeitschrift für Phytotherapie 2006; 27 - P24
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-954926

Bioactivity-based development of a wild green oat (Avena sativa L.) extract in support of mental health disorders

T Moccetti 1, C Wullschleger 1, A Schmidt 1, C Aydogan 1, MH Kreuter 2
  • 1Frutarom Switzerland Ltd, Medical Sciences Pharma Division, Wädenswil, Switzerland
  • 2Vitaplant AG, Swiss Research Institute for Phytopharmaceutical Products, Witterswil, Switzerland

In popular medicine, green oat herb (Avena sativa L.) preparations have been traditionally used to boost mental health since the Middle Ages. As reported by the Commission E, in Europe preparations from the oat herb are used as a nervous system restorative for acute and chronic anxiety and tension, stress and excitation, as well as neurasthenia, although the effectiveness for the claimed applications is not documented.

The genetic and phenotypic variability of a plant, as well as the extraction and extract refining technology used for the development of the multicomponent botanical extract, are critical to maximize the health benefits and minimize the side-effects of the final product.

Therefore, we developed a special extract (EFLA®955 Wild Green Oat Neuravena) on the basis of a bioassay-guided approach. According to this procedure, the activity and safety profile of the plant, from the raw material to the ready-for-use extract, has been tested by means of specific in-vitro test systems, making it possible to scientifically support the traditional indications.

We have screened 36 accessions of Avena sativa L. in various CNS test systems and found a physiologically significant inhibitory effect on monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) and phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE 4), two CNS enzymes closely connected to mental health and cognitive function, in selected accessions. Depending on the raw material and the extraction process used, dramatic activity differences were observed.

We also present here additional results of the further characterisation of the final extract for activity in a functional assay using a neuronal cell line and for safety in in vitro and in vivo toxicity studies, supporting the efficiency of our rational extract development method.