Effects of marjoram volatile oil and grape seed extract on ethanol toxicity in male rats

Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2007 Nov;101(5):320-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-7835.2007.00125.x.


Natural dietary antioxidants are extensively studied for their ability to protect cells from miscellaneous damages. Marjoram volatile oil (Origanum majorana L., Lamiaceae) and grape seed extract (Vitis vinifera L., Vitaceae) are potent antioxidants. Effects of administration of marjoram volatile oil or grape seed extract on oral administration of ethanol, simultaneously, daily for 10 weeks were studied through determining epididymal spermatozoal analysis, serum testosterone level, weight and histopathological examination of testis, liver and brain. Glutathione level and lipid peroxidation content as malondialdehyde in the testis, liver and brain were measured. The repeated intake of a great amount of ethanol (10 ml/kg body weight, 25% v/v) was followed by fertility disturbances with low sperm count, impaired sperm motility and decrease in serum testosterone level. Moreover, ethanol toxicity induced significant alterations in the histological structures of the testis, liver and brain. The results revealed a significant increase in lipid peroxidation and decrease in the level of glutathione in the testis, liver and brain in the ethanol-treated group. However, co-administration of the extracts of protective plants resulted in minimizing the hazard effects of ethanol toxicity on male fertility, liver and brain tissues. It may be concluded that marjoram volatile oil and grape seed extract are useful herbal remedies, especially for controlling oxidative damages.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / toxicity*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Epididymis / cytology
  • Epididymis / drug effects
  • Ethanol / toxicity*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Origanum / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / ultrastructure
  • Testosterone / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Vitis / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils
  • Ethanol
  • Testosterone
  • Glutathione