Ocimum sanctum L.(OS) leaves have been shown to have a potential for lipid-lowering action. The question arises whether the essential oil (EO) containing in OS leaves contributes to this lipid-lowering effect. Therefore, the present study was conducted to evaluate the anti-hyperlipidaemic ability of the EO extracted from OS leaves in rats fed with a high cholesterol diet. EO of OS leaves was extracted using the hydrodistillation method and its chemical composition was further determined by GC-MS. Male Wistar rats weighing between 90-120 g were used. Four groups of rats were established: a normal control group, a high cholesterol (HC) group, an HC group treated with EO, and an HC group treated with the reference drug simvastatin. The HC rats were fed with 2.5% cholesterol diet supplement for 7 weeks. During the last 3 weeks, HC rats in the third and fourth group were fed with the EO and simvastatin respectively. At the end of experiment, the serum lipid profile, and liver and faecal lipids were determined. The results showed that phenylpropanoid compounds (eugenol and methyl eugenol) were the major components of the EO. There were no significant differences in body weight gain, food intake, and heart weight in all groups of rats. The HC diet apparently raised the serum total cholesterol, LDL-C and atherogenic index without significant effect on serum triglyceride, whereas it decreased the HDL-C level. The EO significantly decreased serum total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglyceride and atherogenic index whereas no significant effect on HDL-C was observed. EO depressed a high level of liver total cholesterol and triglyceride whereas no significant effect on both lipids excreted in faeces was found. It can be concluded that the EO extracted from OS leaves contributes a lipid-lowering action in HC rats. Its anti-hyperlipidaemic action is predominantly due to the suppression of liver lipid synthesis. Phenylpropanoid compounds, the main composition of EO are possibly responsible for the lipid-lowering effect.
hyperlipidemia; Ocimum sanctum L.; liver lipid; faeces lipid; EO
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