South African Journal of Science
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
OLSEN, Andreas; PRINSLOO, Linda C.; SCOTT, Louis and JAGER, Anna K.. Hyraceum, the fossilized metabolic product of rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis): shows GABA-benzodiazepine receptor affinity. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2007, vol.103, n.11-12, pp. 437-438. ISSN 0038-2353.
HYRACEUM, AN ACCRETION OF URINE AND dung of rock hyraxes (also known as rock dassies), when fossilized with age, has been used in South Africa for the traditional treatment of epilepsy. We report on tests of 14 hyraceum samples, collected at various geographical locations in South Africa, and assayed for GABA-benzodiazepine receptor affinity. Ethanolic extracts of four of the hyraceum samples assayed positive, whereas all aqueous extracts were inactive. Qualitative TLC resolution of the ethanolic extracts shows a complex mixture of constituents, with no feature being a distinguishing pattern for all four active samples. These preliminary results are not in conflict with the traditional use of hyraceum as a treatment for epilepsy by the settlers of Gamkaskloof.