Background: Nigella sativa Linn. is well known seed in the Middle East, Asia, and the Far East as a natural remedy for many ailments and as a flavoring agent proclaimed medicinal usage dating back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. An authentic saying of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) about black seed is also quoted in Al-Bukhari.
Objective: This study was carried out to evaluate the antidepressant effect and isolate the potential antidepressant constituents of the polar extract of N. sativa seeds.
Materials and methods: The antidepressant effect was evaluated through the immobility duration in tail suspension and forced swim tests (FSTs). Albino mice were orally treated with N. sativa polar extract and its RP-18 column chromatography fractions (50 and 100 mg/kg,).
Results: The polar extract and two of its sub-fractions were significantly able to decrease the immobility time of mice when subjected to both tail suspension and FSTs, the effects are comparable to standard drug (Sertraline, 5 mg/kg). However, these treatments did not affect the number of crossings and rearing in the open field test. Phytochemical investigation of the two active fractions led to the isolation of quercetin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside 1, quercetin-7-O-β-D-gluco- pyranoside 2, tauroside E 3, and sapindoside B as the potential antidepressant constituents.
Summary: Phytochemical and biological evaluation the antidepressant constituents in Nigella sativa using the tail suspension and forced swim methods afforded the isolation and identification of quercetin-3-O-α-L rhamnopyranoside, quercetin-7-O-β-D gluco pyranoside, tauroside E, and sapindoside B as the potential antidepressant constituents in the polar extract of N. sativa. The isolated compounds were identified through extensive NMR analysis (1D, 2D, ESI MS). Abbreviations used: TST: Tail suspension test, FST: Forced swim test, OFT: An Open field test.
Keywords: Antidepressant constituents; Nigella sativa; forced swim test; tail suspension test.