Effect of botanical extracts containing carnosic acid or rosmarinic acid on learning and memory in SAMP8 mice

Physiol Behav. 2016 Oct 15;165:328-38. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.08.013. Epub 2016 Aug 12.


Oxidative damage is one of the hallmarks of the aging process. The current study evaluated effects of two proprietary antioxidant-based ingredients, rosemary extract and spearmint extract containing carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, respectively, on learning and memory in the SAMP8 mouse model of accelerated aging. The two rosemary extracts contained carnosic acid (60% or 10% carnosic acid) and one spearmint extract contained 5% rosmarinic acid. Three doses of actives in each extract were tested: 32, 16, 1.6 or 0mg/kg. After 90days of treatment mice were tested in T-maze foot shock avoidance, object recognition and lever press. Rosemary extract containing 60% carnosic acid improved acquisition and retention in T-maze foot shock, object recognition and lever press. Rosemary extract with 10% carnosic acid improved retention in T-maze foot shock avoidance and lever press. Spearmint with 5% rosmarinic acid improved acquisition and retention in T-maze foot shock avoidance and object recognition. 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) was reduced in the brain cortex after treatment with all three extracts (P<0.001) compared to the vehicle treated SAMP8. Protein carbonyls were reduced in the hippocampus after administration of rosemary with 10% carnosic acid (P<0.05) and spearmint containing 5% rosmarinic acid (P<0.001). The current results indicate that the extracts from spearmint and rosemary have beneficial effects on learning and memory and brain tissue markers of oxidation that occur with age in SAMP8 mice.

Keywords: Carnosic acid; Learning; Memory; Rosmarinic acid; SAMP8 mice.

MeSH terms

  • Abietanes / pharmacology*
  • Aging / drug effects
  • Aging / genetics
  • Aldehydes / metabolism
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cinnamates / pharmacology*
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Depsides / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electroshock
  • Maze Learning / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Recognition, Psychology / drug effects*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Rosmarinus / chemistry*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Abietanes
  • Aldehydes
  • Cinnamates
  • Depsides
  • Triglycerides
  • 4-hydroxy-2-undecenal
  • 3-nitrotyrosine
  • Tyrosine
  • salvin
  • rosmarinic acid