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Kava-Kava, a drug derived from a traditional psychoactive beverage used in the South Pacific, is known for tranquilizing and anxiolytic effects. Extracts made from the roots of the Kava plant (Piper methysticum G. Forster) have anxiolytic and mild sedative effects in man. To our knowledge, there are only few data concerning the efficacy of Kava-Kava in animal tests of anxiety. This study was carried out to compare the anxiolytic potential of Kava-Kava extract LI 150 with diazepam. Acute effects of diazepam and a Kava-Kava preparation, compared to their respective controls, were examined in Wistar rats using the elevated plus maze (X-maze). The time spent on open arms, the percentage of open-arm visits and parameters describing the risk assessment were evaluated. LI 150 (120-240 mg/kg p.o.) affected the behaviour measured in the X-maze test, inducing an anxiolytic like behaviour similar to diazepam (15 mg/kg p.o.). These data support the use of Kava-Kava in the treatment of anxiety.