Purpose: Rosmarinus officinalis, traditionally known as rosemary, has been widely used in traditional medicines and has long been known as the herb of remembrance. However, few studies have investigated the effects of non-volatile components of rosemary on central nervous system function.
Methods: Fractionation of R. officinalis led to the isolation of salvigenin, rosmanol and cirsimaritin, which were investigated in mouse models of acute toxicity, antinociception (tail immersion and hot plate tests), depression (tail suspension and forced swim tests) and anxiety (elevated plus maze and light/dark box paradigms).
Results: Rosmanol, cirsimaritin and salvigenin were not found to exhibit any signs of acute toxicity (50-200 mg/kg), but elicited antinociceptive, antidepressant and anxiolytic activities.
Conclusion: Rosmanol, cirsimaritin and salvigenin, all previously shown to have biphasic modulation of GABAA receptors, demonstrated CNS activity in mouse models of antinociception, antidepressant and anxiolysis. The anxiolytic activity of all three compounds was not ameliorated by flumazenil, but was inhibited by pentylenetetrazol, suggesting a mode of action via GABAA receptors at a site other than the high affinity benzodiazepine binding site. This article is open to POST-PUBLICATION REVIEW. Registered readers (see "For Readers") may comment by clicking on ABSTRACT on the issue's contents page.