Ashwagandharishta, an Ayurvedic classical formulation, is the remedy for Apasmara (epilepsy), Murchha (syncope), Unmada (psychosis), etc. Recent studies in animal models have shown that n-3 PUFAs can raise the threshold of epileptic seizures. The indigenous medicinal plant, called Atasi (Linum usitatissimum Linn.) in Ayurveda, or flax seed, is the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. The present study is designed to investigate whether Ashwagandharishta and Atasi taila (flax seed oil) protect against maximal electroshock (MES) seizures in albino rats. Further, a possible protective role of flax seed oil as an adjuvant to Ashwagandharishta in its anticonvulsant activity has also been evaluated in the study. MES seizures were induced for rats and seizure severity was assessed by the duration of hind limb extensor phase. Phenytoin was used as the standard antiepileptic drug for comparison. Both flax seed oil and Ashwagandharishta significantly decreased convulsion phase. Pre-treatment with flax seed oil exhibited significant anticonvulsant activity by decreasing the duration of tonic extensor phase. Contrary to the expectations, pre-treatment with flax seed oil as an adjuvant to Ashwagandharishta failed to decrease the tonic extensor phase; however, it significantly decreased the flexion phase (P < 0.001) and duration of the convulsions (P < 0.05). Both the drugs exhibited an excellent anti-post-ictal depression effect and complete protection against mortality.
Keywords: Antiepileptic, Ashwagandharishta, flax seed oil, maximal electroshock seizure, omega-3 fatty acid