is an erect shurb 1-2 meter in height. Flowers of this plant
are large, showy and colorful. Today, Rosa damascena is highly
cultivated for its scent (1). This plant contains carboxylic
acids, terpenes, myrcene and vitamin C (1, 2). Flowers, petals
and hips (seed-pots) of Rosa
damascena have been used for
medical purposes. Therapeutic effects of Rosa damascena which have
been described in the Iranian ancient medical books include
tonic, cardiac strengthening and anti-inflammatory effects. Rosa is also used in
various conditions including menstrual bleeding, digestive
disorders and headache. The essential oil obtained from Rosa is reported to
have analgesic and antispasmodic effects (1, 2). Rosa is also used as
a gentle laxative and to ease coughs (1). Furthermore, rose has
been found to act on central nervous system including the
brain. Several studies confirm that rose inhibits the
reactivity of hypothalamus and pituitary system in rat and can
suppress the reactivity of central nervous system (1).
Long-term treatment with high doses of rose oil may lead to
stress adjustment and the ability of brain to compensate by
turning into a steady state of exhaustion (1). Anti-HIV (3) and
anti-bacterial (2) effects for Rosa
damascna have also been
reported. In traditional medicine, rose is known for its
hypnotic effect (1). Therefore in this study the hypnotic
effect of the ethanolic, aqueous and chloroformic extracts of
this plant was evaluated.
Plant and extract
Rosa damascena was
collected from the Kalat region in north eastern part of Iran
in spring 2003 and identified by Mr. Ahei. A voucher specimen
was preserved in the Herbarium of the School of Pharmacy,
Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (Herbarium No:
254-1804-01). The ethanolic extract was prepared as follows: 50
g of the chopped, dried plant was extracted with 300 ml ethanol
(Darupakhsh) using a soxhlet apparatus. For the aqueous
extract, 50 grams of the chopped and dried plant was extracted
with 300 ml distilled water and for chloroformic extract, the
same amount of plant material was extracted with 300 ml
chloroform (Merck) by soxhlet apparatus. The extracts reduced
to dryness with a rotary vacuum evaporator.
Male BALB/c mice weighing 20-28 g (The
Pasteur Institute of Iran) were used throughout the study. All
animals were maintained in groups of 8 per cage at a controled
temperature of 21-25°C and a humidity of 55±5%. A
standard pellet diet and tap water were provided ad libitum.
The hypnotic effect method was based on
potentiation of pentobarbital (Sigma) induced sleeping time by
the extracts. Animals were divided into groups of ten and the
following solutions were injected (i.p.) to each group (n=8 for
1- Saline as the negative control for
ethanolic & aqueous extracts and saline plus a few drops of
tween 80 (Merck) as the negative control for chloroformic
2- Diazepam (3mg/kg) (Darupakhsh) as
3- Three groups (100, 500, 1000 mg/kg) of
the ethanolic extract.
4- Three groups (100, 500, 1000 mg/kg) of
the aqueous extract.
5- Two groups (500, 1000 mg/kg) of the
In the experimental group, the ethanolic
and aqueous extracts were administered in doses of 100, 500 and
1000 mg/kg and the chloroformic in doses of 500 and 1000 mg/kg
body weight (intraperitoneally). Thirty minutes later
pentobarbital (30 mg/kg, ip) was given to induce sleep. The
time interval between loss and recovery of righting reflex was
used as an index of hypnotic effect (4). The time interval
between injection of pentobarbital and onset of sleep was
recorded as the latency time. In the negative and positive
control groups normal saline (10 ml/kg, i.p.) and diazepam (3
mg/kg, ip) were injected respectively instead of the extract.
All data were expressed as
mean±SEM. Comparison of sleeping time in all groups were
made using ANOVA and with Tuky Cramer post test. Significant
was accepted at P< 0.05.
Results and Discussion
Hypnotic effect of ethanolic extract
As shown in figure 1, sleeping time in
animals receiving 100 mg/kg of the ethanolic extract was
increased to 31.66±4.08 min. Thist was not significantly
more in comparison with the negative control
(20.05±3.53). On the other hand, those animals receiving
500 and 1000 mg/kg of ethanolic extract showed an increased up
to 46±3.64 and 38±4.41 min respectively, this was
significantly different compared to the negative control value
(p<0.001). However, there was no significant difference
between diazepam (37.86±3.83 min) and any of the other
three doses of ethanolic extract. The difference between doses
of 500 and 1000 mg/kg of the ethanolic extract was not
Figure 2 shows the time interval elapsed
between injection of pentobarbital and onset of sleep in
various groups (latency times). As has been shown, the use of
100 and 500 mg/kg of ethanolic extract shortened the latency
time of sleep to 5.66±0.8 and 6±1.43 min
respectively, which is lower than that of the control
(8.17±1.09 min) and is comparable to diazepam
(5.28±0.83 min). However, the difference was not
significant. A dose of 1000 mg/kg of extract decreased the
latency time to 3.42±0.42 which was significantly
different from the control group (P<0.05).
Hypnotic effect of the aqueous extract
Figure 1 shows that the sleeping time of
groups receiving 500 and 1000 mg/kg of the aqueous extract
(42.57±3.58 and 46.57±2.88 min) was significantly
greater than that of the negative control (20.05±3.53
min). Furthermore, sleeping time of the group receiving 100
mg/kg of this extract (32.14±3.32 min) was also found to
be more than that of the control group but the difference was
not significant. The effect of various doses of the aqueous
extract was comparable to that of diazepam. However, there was
no significant difference between the doses of 500 and 1000
mg/kg of this extract.
As shown in table 1 and figure 2, all the
doses of this extract accelerated the onset of hypnotic effect
of pentobarbital compared with the effect of diazepam.
Hypnotic effect of chloroformic extract
Figure 1 shows that doses of 500 and 1000
mg/kg of the chloroformic extract could not potentiate the
pentobarbital induced sleeping time.
Comparison of the hypnotic effect
between three extracts
The pentobarbital induced sleeping time in
animals receiving 500 mg/kg of the ethanolic extract was
significantly more than those receiving a dose of 500 mg/kg of
the chloroformic extract (P<0.001). The difference between
groups of animals receiving 1000 mg of the ethanolic extract
was significant compared to those receiving 1000 mg of the
chloroformic extract (P<0.05).
The use of an aqueous extract in a dose of
500 mg/kg had a significantly greater effective on
pentobarbital induced sleeping time compared to a dose of 500
mg/kg of the chloroformic extract (P<0.05). The sleeping
time in animals receiving a dose of 1000 mg/kg of the aqueous
extract was significantly different compared to those receiving
1000 mg/kg of the chloroformic extract (P<0.001) (Fig. 1).
There was no significant difference
between the effect of various doses of ethanolic and aqueous
The present results indicated a relatively
potent hypnotic effect for doses of 500 and 1000 mg/kg of the
ethanolic and aqueous extracts obtained from Rosa damascena.
effect of both doses of these extracts was comparable to
diazepam. The effect of aqueous extracts was dose-dependent (r=
0.9 in regression) while the ethanolic extract a dose of 500
mg/kg showed the maximal effect.
In the present study the hypnotic effect
of Rosa damascena extract was evaluated using a standard method
as previously described (4).
Although the hypnotic effect of the
ethanolic and aqueous extracts from Rosa damascena were similar
to that of diazepam, the mechanism(s) of hypnotic effect of
this plant can not be concluded from the results of the present
study. The family Rosaceae is known as a source of folk
medicine used for treating nervous breakdown (5). Noguerira and
Vassilieff have shown that the other genuses of Rosaceae family
exert their hypnotic effect through GABAA-system (5).
Therefore, this system could be involved in the hypnotic effect
of ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Rosa damascena.
Rosa damascena contains several components
such as geraniol, citranellol, farnesol, nerol, linalol,
eugenol, citral, terpene, myercene (6), vitamin C and
bioflavonoids (1). The responsible compound(s) for hypnotic
effect of Rosa damascena is not clearly known and could not be
concluded based on the result of the present study. Other
plants containing compounds such as flavonoids, terpenes and
saponins have been found to have hypnotic effects (7).
Therefore, it is suggested that these compounds might be
responsible for the hypnotic effect of Rosa damascna.
Flavonoids with anxiolytic and/or antidepressant activities
have also been described in numerous plant species used in folk
medicine to depress the CNS. This effect has been ascribed to
their affinity for the central benzodiazepine receptors (8). It
could be suggested that flavonoids of the Rosa damascena
contribute to the hypnotic effect of this plant through
Geraniol possesses methoxyphenol forms in
its structure. Behavioral studies have shown that a number of
methoxyphenols and alkylphenols have hypnotic and
anticonvulsant properties (9). It is conceivable that geraniol
may be at least partially responsible for the hypnotic effect
of Rosa damascena through GABAA-system.
Also, it has been reported that saponins
regulate the effects of sedatives, hypnotics and convulsants
(10). Therefore, saponins could contribute to the hypnotic
effect of Rosa damascena.
Other investigations have found that
eugenol has anti-convulsant, analgesic and local anesthetic
effects (11,12). Thus, this compound could be involved in the
hypnotic effect of Rosa damascena.
In conclusion, results of the present
study indicate that the hypnotic effect of Rosa damascena which
is comparable to that of diazepam, but the exact mechanism(s)
of this effect should be clarified in further studies.
The authors would like to thank Dr M. H
Boskabady for his assistance in the preparation of this
manuscript. This study was financially supported by the medical
school, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences.
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