JJM Medical college, India
Nature provides us an abundant supply of plants with medicinal properties that can pave the way to innumerable drug discoveries. Skeletal muscle relaxants are used to treat muscle spasm and spasticity. Muscle spasm is a sudden involuntary contraction of one or more muscle groups and is usually an acute condition associated with muscle strain (partial tear of a muscle) or sprain (partial or complete rupture of a ligament). Skeletal muscle relaxants consist of both antispasticity and antispasmodic agents. This is a broad categorization and prescribers usually do not differentiate between them. The antispasticity agents like baclofen, tizanidine, dantrolene aid in improving muscle hypertonicity and involuntary jerks. Antispasmodic agents, such as cyclobenzaprine, are primarily used to treat musculoskeletal conditions. The side effects of antispasmodic agents and antispasticity agents cause them to be used with caution. Therefore there is a need to discover a newer alternative for skeletal muscle relaxants that has a safer profile. Including the prototype skeletal muscle relaxant Tubocurarine, most of the modern day skeletal muscle relaxants are directly or indirectly of plant origin. Hence there should be systematic search within the herbal products in an attempt to find a plausible replacement. In this review article, the data was compiled from the latest, original relevant research articles and aims to enumerate the medicinal plants that possess skeletal muscle relaxant activity, the bioactive extract involved, dosage used, animal models employed for assessment, active phytochemicals contained in them and their possible mechanisms of action.