The effects of a liquid nutritive and tonic drug (NTD) selected from a modification of the "Kai-xin-shou-yushen-qi-wan" prescription, on scopolamine-induced amnesia in mice were investigated using the passive avoidance and water-maze tasks. A popular NTD in Japan that contains 17 crude (natural) drug extracts together with synthetic drugs such as taurine, caffeine, various vitamins and ethanol, and the natural drug extracts is based on a prescription of "Kampo" origin in Chinese medicine. Scopolamine (0.4 mg/kg, i.p.) reduces the stepthrough latency of the passive avoidance test and fear reaction behavior at 24 and 48 h after treatment. A single oral administration of the NTD (10 ml/kg) increased the step-through latency and the fear reaction behavior score in scopolamine-treated mice. Administration of the natural drug extracts found in the NTD tended to extend the step-through latency in the retention test at 48 h, but not 24 h after the initial scopolamine trial. However, administration of the synthetic drugs found in the NTD did not improve either the step-through latency or the behavioral score. The NTD and the natural drug extracts also improved the scopolamine-induced spatial memory impairment as assessed using the Morris water-maze test. In contrast, the synthetic drugs did not affect the escape latencies. Both NTD and the synthetic drugs increased the locomotor activity in scopolamine-treated mice, whereas the natural drug extracts did not. These results suggest that NTD improves scopolamine-induced amnesia, and that this action is attributable to the natural drug extracts in the NTD.
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