Effect of ambrein, a major constituent of ambergris, on masculine sexual behavior in rats

Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 1995 Mar-Apr;329(2):283-94.


The effect of ambrein, a major constituent of ambergris, was studied on the sexual behavior of male rats. The rats were administered ambrein in doses of 100 and 300 mg/kg body weight. Male sexual activities were assessed by recording the erectile responses (penile erection) and homosexual mountings in the absence of female. The copulatory studies were carried out by caging males with receptive females brought into estrus with subcutaneous injections of estradiol benzoate and progesterone. The copulatory pattern of treated male rats (mountings, intromissions, ejaculations and refractory period), the pendiculations (yawns/stretches) and orientation activities towards females, the environment and themselves, were recorded. Ambrein produced recurrent episodes of penile erection, a dose-dependent, vigorous and repetitive increase in intromissions and an increased anogenital investigatory behavior, identifying the drug used in the present study as a sexual stimulant. It is conceivable from the present results that the ambrein-modified masculine sexual behavior in male rats supports the folk use of this drug as an aphrodisiac.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphrodisiacs / administration & dosage
  • Aphrodisiacs / pharmacology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Copulation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ejaculation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Naphthols / administration & dosage
  • Naphthols / chemistry
  • Naphthols / pharmacology*
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Triterpenes


  • Aphrodisiacs
  • Naphthols
  • Triterpenes
  • ambrein