Effects of petroleum ether extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum DC. on sexual behavior in male rats

Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2010 Aug;8(8):767-73. doi: 10.3736/jcim20100807.


Objective: The roots of Anacyclus pyrethrum DC. (Compositae) are employed in Ayurvedic system of medicine as "Vajikaran Rasayana"--a category of drugs for vitality and virility. They are believed to have aphrodisiac action. The present investigation was undertaken to evaluate their effects on sexual behavior in male rats.

Methods: Thirty-two male Wistar rats were divided into control group, testosterone group, low-dose (50 mg/kg) petroleum ether extract (PEE) group and high-dose (100 mg/kg) PEE group. PEE obtained from the roots of Anacyclus pyrethrum was administered orally to albino rats once daily, and 0.5 mg/kg (body weight) of testosterone was given intramuscularly twice weekly and served as positive control. The course of treatment was 28 days. The effects of PEE and testosterone on changes in body and accessory sexual organ weights, sexual behavior, penile erection and sexual performance were studied before treatment, after 15 and 28 days of treatment and 7 and 15 days after treatment.

Results: After 28 days of treatment, PEE and testosterone had a marked influence on body and accessory sexual organ weights as compared with arachis oil. The treated male rats were more receptive and oriented towards female rats and increased precopulatory activities like licking and sniffing of female anogenital were observed. The penile erection index was significantly increased with reduction in mount latency and intromission latency period. There were four-fold increase in mount and three-fold increase in intromission frequency in treated rats reflecting improved sexual performance. The behavioral and sexual parameters were also observed after a lapse of 7 and 15 days of discontinuance of drug treatment.

Conclusion: Unlike testosterone, the PEE of Anacyclus pyrethrum shows efficacy in rats tested after the lapse of 7 and 15 days of discontinuation of treatment. This suggests that the drug has prolonged effect and capacitate the treated rats for improved sexual potential.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphrodisiacs / pharmacology*
  • Asteraceae / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Petroleum*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*


  • Aphrodisiacs
  • Petroleum
  • Plant Extracts