Context: Cuminum cyminum Linn. (Apiaceae), cumin, is a popular spice with a long history of medicinal use to treat various symptoms such as diarrhea, flatulence, gynecological, and respiratory diseases.
Objective: To date, no scientific investigation was reported regarding memory-enhancing and antistress activity of cumin fruits. The present study deals with the memory-enhancing and antistress activities and further the antioxidant status via lipid peroxidation inhibition.
Materials and methods: Antistress activity was evaluated by inducing stress via forced swimming and the urinary vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) and ascorbic acid were estimated as biomarkers. Memory-enhancing activity was studied by conditioned avoidance response using Cook's pole climbing apparatus in normal and scopolamine-induced amnestic rats. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay was used to evaluate the lipid peroxidation.
Results: Daily administration of cumin at doses of 100, 200, and 300 mg/kg body weight 1 h prior to induction of stress inhibited the stress-induced urinary biochemical changes in a dose-dependent manner without altering the levels in normal control groups. The cognition, as determined by the acquisition, retention, and recovery in rats, was observed to be dose-dependent. The extract also produced significant lipid peroxidation inhibition in comparison with known antioxidant ascorbic acid in both rat liver and brain.
Discussion and conclusion: This study provides scientific support for the antistress, antioxidant, and memory-enhancing activities of cumin extract and substantiates that its traditional use as a culinary spice in foods is beneficial and scientific in combating stress and related disorders.