Evaluation of the aphrodisiac potential of a chemically characterized aqueous extract of Tamarindus indica pulp

J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Jan 10;210:118-124. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2017.08.016. Epub 2017 Aug 19.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Tamarindus indica is an ingredient in the traditional aphrodisiac formulations in Africa and India. It is also a widely used food ingredient in other tropical countries.

Aim of the study: The present study was aimed to evaluate the aphrodisiac potential and reproductive safety profile of aqueous extract of Tamarindus indica in male Wistar rats.

Materials and methods: The aqueous extract was prepared by maceration of pulp followed by reduction of volume in rotavapor under heat followed by freeze drying. The prepared extract was characterized for contents of total phenol, flavonoid, and saponin. It was also subjected to phytoconstituent analysis using GCMS. Further, the extract was evaluated for acute toxicity study. The aphrodisiac and reproductive toxicity potential were evaluated in animals after grouping them in four with six animals each namely, normal control, standard (Sildenafil citrate, 4mg/kg p.o.) and extract of Tamarindus indica treated groups at two dose levels, 125 and 250mg/kg p.o. The study was conducted for 54 days with daily once dosing of extract and standard. Equal number of females was grouped without treatment for evaluation of parameters of sexual desire (mount frequency and intromission frequency) and parameters of sexual arousal (mount latency and intromission latency). These parameters were evaluated on day 14, 28, 42 and 54. Animals were sacrificed on day 54, testes were removed and studied for histopathological changes.

Results: The extract showed 6.6mg gallic acid equivalent/g of total phenol, 2.3mg catechin equivalent/g of flavonoid and 11.6% saponin. Forty chemical constituents were identified by GCMS analysis. In acute toxicity study, the extract was found to be safe till 2000mg/kg p.o. Efficacy study showed significant (p<0.05) improvement in parameters of sexual desire (mount frequency and intromission frequency) and parameters of sexual arousal on all observed days except mount frequency for 125mg/kg on 42nd day and intromission frequency for both doses of tamarind compared to normal control. Improvements in these parameters were comparable to the standard drug. Histopathology study and sperm count suggested an increase in sperm production without any sign of toxicity in testis. Sperm motility significantly (p<0.05) increased in the treatment groups that received extract at 250mg/kg compared to normal control.

Conclusion: Aqueous extract of Tamarindus indica possessed aphrodisiac activity together with spermatogenic potential.

Keywords: Aphrodisiac; Saponin; Sperm count; Sperm motility; Tamarindus indica.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphrodisiacs / administration & dosage
  • Aphrodisiacs / isolation & purification
  • Aphrodisiacs / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Libido / drug effects
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects
  • Tamarindus / chemistry*
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Time Factors
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute


  • Aphrodisiacs
  • Plant Extracts