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A Review on Anxiolytic and Antiepileptic Effects of Oleo –Gum -Resin of Ferula asafoetida

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Abstract

Asafoetida oleo-gum resin is obtained as an exudation by incising the rhizomes and roots of different Ferula species belongs to Family: Umbelliferae which are distributed from the Mediterranean region to Central Asia and contains about 40-64% resin (ester of asareninotannols, ferulic acid, pinene, vanillin and free ferulic acid), 25% endogeneous gum and 4-20 % volatile oil. Various activities of different Ferula species like antispasmodic and hypotensive activity, Molluscicidal activity, antioxidant activity, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity, antifungal activity, antibacterial, Influenza A (H1N1) Antiviral and cytotoxic activity have been reported. The root acetone extact of Ferula gummosa is reported for its anticonvulsant property. Asafoetida is regularly consumed by the Indian population in food preparations so we decided to conduct our studies on regular available Asafoetida in India. In Ayurveda, asafoetida is considered to be one of the best spices for balancing the vata dosha. Asafoetida oleo-gum-resin is used traditionally for digestion, asthma, bronchitis, hysteria and as contraceptive/abortifacient and also has been claimed to be antiepileptic in classical Unani as well as ethnobotanical literature. So the present study was carried out to evaluate the anxiolytic and antiepileptic effect of Asafoetida.
Please cite this article in press as: Upadhyay PK et al., A Review on Anxiolytic and Antiepileptic Effects
of Oleo Gum -Resin of Ferula asafetida. American Journal of Pharmacy & Health Research 2014.
Review Article
www.ajphr.com
2014, Volume 2, Issue 8
ISSN: 23213647(online)
A Review on Anxiolytic and Antiepileptic Effects of Oleo Gum -
Resin of Ferula asafoetida
Prabhat Kumar Upadhyay*1,Omvir Singh2, Amit Yadav3, Raghvendra Sharma3
1. Institute of Pharmaceutical Research, GLA University, Mathura, (281406) U.P. India
2. J.K. Institute of Pharmacy and Management, Khurja, (203131), Bulandshahr,U.P. India
3. Aligarh College of Pharmacy, Aligarh, (202001) U.P. India
ABSTRACT
Asafoetida oleo-gum resin is obtained as an exudation by incising the rhizomes and roots of
different Ferula species belongs to Family: Umbelliferae which are distributed from the
Mediterranean region to Central Asia and contains about 40-64% resin (ester of
asareninotannols, ferulic acid, pinene, vanillin and free ferulic acid), 25% endogeneous gum and
4-20 % volatile oil. Various activities of different Ferula species like antispasmodic and
hypotensive activity, Molluscicidal activity, antioxidant activity, antinociceptive and anti-
inflammatory activity, antifungal activity, antibacterial, Influenza A (H1N1) Antiviral and
cytotoxic activity have been reported. The root acetone extact of Ferula gummosa is reported for
its anticonvulsant property. Asafoetida is regularly consumed by the Indian population in food
preparations so we decided to conduct our studies on regular available Asafoetida in India. In
Ayurveda, asafoetida is considered to be one of the best spices for balancing the vata dosha.
Asafoetida oleo-gum-resin is used traditionally for digestion, asthma, bronchitis, hysteria and as
contraceptive/abortifacient and also has been claimed to be antiepileptic in classical Unani as
well as ethnobotanical literature. So the present study was carried out to evaluate the anxiolytic
and antiepileptic effect of Asafoetida.
Keywords: Asafoetida, Oleo-gum resin, Ferula species.
*Corresponding Author Email pharmacy2014@rediffmail.com
Received 21 July 2014, Accepted 31 July 2014
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INTRODUCTION
Botanical Source 1
Asafoetida oleo-gum resin can be obtained as an exudation by incising the rhizomes and roots of
Ferula asafoetida L., Ferula foetida Royel, Ferula rubricaulis Boiss. and some other species of
Ferula belongs to Family: Umbelliferae.
Description of drug
There are two main varieties of Asafoetida i.e. Hing Kabuli Sufaid (Milky white asafoetida) and
Hing Lal (Red asafoetida). Asafoetida is acrid and bitter in taste and emits a strong disagreeable
pungent odour due to the presence of sulphur compounds therein. It is available in three forms
i.e. ‘Tears’, ‘Mass’ and ‘Paste’. ‘Tears’ is the purest form of resin, rounded or flattened, 5 to 30
mm in diameter and a greyish or dull yellow in colour. ‘Mass’ asafoetida is the common
commercial form, uniform in mass. ‘Paste’ form contains extraneous matter. Since pure
asafoetida is not preferred due to its strong flavour, it is mixed with starch and gum and sold as
compounded asafoetida mostly in bricket form. It is also available in free flowing (Powder form)
or in tablet forms.
Figure. 1 Bricket form of Asafoetida
Figure 2 Powder form of Asafoetida
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Figure. 3 Plant of Asafoetida
Origin and Distribution
The species are distributed from the Mediterranean region to Central Asia. In India it is grown in
Kashmir and in some parts of Punjab. The major supply of Asafoetida to India is from
Afghanistan and Iran.
Chemical constituents 2
Asafoetida contains about 40-64% resin, 25% endogeneous gum and 4-20 % volatile oil. The
garlic like odour of the oil is due to the presence of sulphur compounds. The main constituents of
the oil are isobutyl propanyl disulphide (C8H16S20). The three sulphur compounds viz. 1-
methylpropyl 1-propenyl disulphide, 1-(methylthio)-propyl 1-propenyl disulphide, and 1-
methylpropyl 3-(methylthio)-2-propenyl disulphide have also been isolated from the resin. The
resin portion is known to contain ester of asareninotannols, ferulic acid, pinene, vanillin and free
ferulic acid. Ferulic acid on treatment with hydrochloric acid is converted into umbellic acid,
which looses water to form umbelliferone.
Ferulic acid Umbelliferone
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Traditional therapeutic uses 3
Asafoetida is popular in India for many centuries as a flavouring agent, as an ingredient in
condiments and in many spice mixtures.
It is a valuable remedy for hysteria and nervous disorders of women and children.
It is useful in flatulence, flatulent colic and spasmodic affections of the bowels especially
when connected with hysteria, in fainting and emotional stress, nervous palpitation,
hypochondriasis and other affections due to hysteria.
It is also used in the spasmodic and the obstinate coughs of childhood remaining after
attacks of inflammation and also in the advanced stages of whooping cough, pneumonia and
bronchitis of children and in chronic bronchitis and asthma of adults.
In Unani medicine system it is used in the diseases of the brain, digestive, paralysis, cholera,
epilepsy, convulsion of children, flatulence, colic, caries of teeth as emmenagouge and to
improve vision.
Asafoetida is useful as an anthelmintic for round worms in children.
It is employed as anaesthesia in hemicranias and dental caries.
It is also used as contraceptive/abortifacient.
In Ayurveda, asafoetida is considered to be one of the best spices for balancing the vata
dosha.
Anxiety
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by cognitive, somatic,
emotional, and behavioral components. These components combine to create an unpleasant
feeling that is typically associated with uneasiness, fear, or worry.
Experts say, this is an urban phenomenon and is on rapid rise. Being termed by most as
celebration anxiety, the upper middle and higher strata of the society seem to be affected. Such
cases have increased by 25 per cent in urban areas and if not dealt with, could lead to social
disturbance.
Anxiety is a common experience in daily life and must be differentiated from anxiety disorder
which causes substantial suffering in the general population. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic
disorder, phobia and obsessional disorder are also now considered in the group of anxiety
disorders. Considering all the anxiety disorders together, data from the western countries report
prevalence estimates as high as 10 to 15% of the population. Although there are no definitive
data on the prevalence of anxiety disorders in the SEA Region, indirect evidence suggests that
the prevalence of these conditions is as high as in western countries and perhaps increasing due
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to the changing social and cultural environment. Moreover, the easy availability of tranquillizers
used widely by the common man as a remedy for anxiety is a cause of concern.
Anxiety disorders span the full range of human existence from childhood to old age, though
symptoms may vary considerably owing to developmental differences and related factors.
Anxiety disorders in children are often transitory phenomena, with the majority showing
remission by adolescence or early adulthood. Anxiety disorders in youth appear to be a risk
factor for the subsequent development of major depression in late adolescence and young
adulthood. For the most part, anxiety disorders are chronic, and these persist from young
adulthood into old age. But even in later life, new onset of anxiety disorders can occur, often in
the context of medical illness or other sources of life stress.
Epilepsy 3
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent unprovoked
seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or
synchronous neuronal activity in the brain. About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy,
with almost 90% of these people being in developing countries. Epilepsy is more likely to occur
in young children or people over the age of 65 years; however it can occur at any time. Epilepsy
is usually controlled, but not cured, with medication, although surgery may be considered in
difficult cases. However, over 30% of people with epilepsy do not have seizure control even with
the best available medications.
Epilepsy affects 2-10 per 1,000 populations. Studies from different parts of India reveal that the
problem varies from 9 per 1,000 in Bangalore, 5 per 1,000 in Mumbai, 4 per 1,000 in New Delhi
and 3 per 1,000 in Calcutta. In a survey conducted in Kandy district of Sri Lanka, it was
observed that 9 out of 1,000 people had epilepsy. Though there are no national statistics from
Bangladesh, it is estimated that there are at least 1.5-2.0 million people with epilepsy. About 70-
80% of people with epilepsy can lead normal lives if properly treated. However, 80-90% of
people with epilepsy are not being treated at all.
Pharmacotherapeutic approaches for the management of these ‘‘modernization-borne diseases’’
include psychotropic drugs such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, azapirones, nor-epinephrine
and serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and phenothiazines. Among
these, benzodiazepines are the most widely prescribed synthetic chemical drugs for the treatment
of anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and stress. Regular use of benzodiazepines causes deterioration of
cognitive functioning, addiction, physical dependence, and tolerance. In the light of adverse
effects associated with the synthetic drugs, researchers of today are exploring natural resources
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to discover safer and cost effective drugs. Investigating plants, based on their use in traditional
systems of medicine, is a sound, viable, and cost-effective strategy to develop new drugs.
Reported pharmacological activities of some Ferula species
Mohammad Fatehi et al reported the antispasmodic and hypotensive effects of Ferula asafoetida
gum extract. Exposure of the precontracted ileum by acetylcholine (10µM) to Ferula asafoetida
gum extract caused relaxation in a concentration-dependent manner. Similar relaxatory effect of
the extract was observed on the pre-contracted ileum by histamine (10µM) and KCl (28 mM).
However, when the preparations were pre-incubated with indomethacin (100 nM) and different
antagonists such as propranolol (1µM), atropine (100 nM), chlorpheniramine (25 nM) then were
contracted with KCl, exposure to the extract (3 mg/ml) did not cause any relaxation.
Furthermore, Ferula asafoetida gum extract (0.32.2 mg/100 g body weight) significantly
reduced the mean arterial blood pressure in anaesthetised rats. 4
Pradeep Kumar et al reported Molluscicidal activity of Ferula asafoetida, Syzygium aromaticum
and Carum carvi and their active components against the snail Lymnaea acuminate. Ethanol
extract was more toxic than other organic extracts. The ethanol extract of S. aromaticum (24 h
LC50:83.53 mg/l) was more effective than that of F. asafoetida (24 h LC50:132.31 mg/l) and C.
carvi (24 h LC50:130.61 mg/l) in killing the test animals. 5
Abbas Ali Dehpour et al determined the antioxidant activity of the methanol extract of Ferula
asafoetida and its essential oil composition by employing Gas Chromatography
MassSpectrometry, DPPH, Radical-scavenging activity, Reducing power determination, Assay
of nitric oxide-scavenging activity, Metal chelating activity, Determination of Antioxidant
Activity by the FTC Method and concluded that the aerial parts of the extract of F. assafoetida
exhibited good but different levels of antioxidant activity in all the models studied. The extracts
had good Fe2+ chelating ability, DPPH radical and nitric oxide scavenging activity. 6
Mohammad Sayyah et al reported that the root acetone extract of Ferula gummosa exhibited
dose-dependent prevention of tonic seizures induced by pentylenetetrazole (ED50 = 154.4
mg/kg). However, the extract produced sedation and motor impairment with TD50 value of 546
mg/kg. Preliminary phytochemical analysis showed the presence of terpenoids, alkaloids and a
little amount of cardenolids in the extract. 7
Uzma Sitara et al evaluated the antifungal effect of essential oils from Ferula assafoetida on in-
vitro growth of pathogenic fungi. Asafoetida oil @ 0.1% and 0.15% significantly inhibited the
growth of Aspergillus niger, Fusarium oxysporum, F. moniliforme, F. nivale, F. semitectum,
Drechslera hawiinesis and Alternaria alternate . 8
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Ali Mandegary et al conducted antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity of the aqueous,
methanolic and acetone extracts of the seed and root of Ferula gummosa Boiss in Mice and Rats.
None of the extracts had anti-inflammatory effect in Cotton pellet granuloma. Preliminary
phytochemical analysis of methanol and acetone extracts showed presence of terpenoids and
alkaloids and small amounts of cardenolids. 9
Venugopal Amrita et al reported antibacterial Effect of Asafoetida on Escherichia coli by
conducting Turbidometric Method, Paper Disc Method and Agar Ditch Method. Asafoetida
significantly inhibited the growth of E.coli. 10
Types of anxiety disorders 11
Anxiety disorders as recognized clinically include:
o Generalized anxiety disorder
o Panic disorder
o Phobias
o Post-traumatic stress disorder
o Obsessive compulsive disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) 12,13,14
GAD is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension,
even when there is little or nothing to provoke it. It is an ongoing state of excessive anxiety
lacking any clear reason or focus.
Signs & Symptoms
People with generalized anxiety disorder can't seem to shake their concerns. Their worries are
accompanied by physical symptoms, especially fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle
aches, difficulty in swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes.
Panic Disorder
It is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical
symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or
abdominal distress. Such attacks can be induced even in normal individuals by infusion of
sodium lactate, and the condition appears to have a genetic component.
Signs & Symptoms
People with panic disorder have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no
warning. During a panic attack, most likely heart pounds and person may feel sweaty, weak,
faint, or dizzy. Hands may tingle or feel numb, and person might feel flushed or chilled. Person
may have nausea, chest pain or smothering sensations, a sense of unreality or loss of control.
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Phobias
These include strong fears of specific objects or situations. e.g. snakes, open spaces, flying,
social interactions. Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized
by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social
phobia can be limited to only one type of situation such as a fear of speaking in formal or
informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others or in its most severe form, may be so
broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.
Signs & Symptoms
People with social phobia have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and
judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. Their fear may be so
severe that it interferes with work or school and other ordinary activities. Physical symptoms
often accompany the intense anxiety of social phobia and include blushing, profuse sweating,
trembling, nausea, and difficulty in talking.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 15,16
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in
which physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD
include recall of past stressful experiences like violent personal assaults, natural or human-
caused disasters, accidents or military combat.
Signs & Symptoms
People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel
emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. They may experience sleep
problems, feel detached or numb.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 17
OCD is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions)
and/or repetitive behaviours (compulsions). Repetitive behaviours such as hand washing,
counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive
thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called "rituals" however provides only
temporary relief and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
Signs and Symptoms
Common obsessive thoughts in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) include: Fear of being
contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others, Fear of causing harm to yourself or thers,
Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images, Excessive focus on religious or moral
ideas, Fear of losing or not having things you might need, Order and symmetry: the idea that
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everything must line up just right, Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered
lucky or unlucky.
While the onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder usually occurs during adolescence or young
adulthood, younger children sometimes have symptoms that look like OCD. However, the
symptoms of other disorders, such as ADD, autism, and Tourette’s syndrome, can also look like
obsessive-compulsive disorder, so a thorough medical and psychological exam is essential before
any diagnosis is made.
Neuroanatomic circuits supporting fear and anxiety 18,19,20
Fear and anxiety normally comprise adaptive responses to threat or stress. These emotional-
behavioral sets may arise in response to exteroceptive visual, auditory, olfactory, somatosensory
stimuli or to interoceptive input through the viscera and the endocrine and autonomic nervous
systems. Anxiety may also be produced by cognitive processes mediating the anticipation,
interpretation or recollection of perceived stressors and threats.
The Amygdala (amygdalae; plural) are a pair of small organs within the medial temporal lobes of
the brain. The amygdala is a part of the limbic system which performs important roles in the
formation and storage of memories associated with emotions including anxiety.
The structures that function in concert with the amygdala during fear learning include other
mesiotemporal cortical structures, the sensory thalamus and cortices, the orbital, medial
prefrontal cortex (mPFC), the anterior insula, the hypothalamus and multiple brainstem nuclei.
Much of this network appears to participate in the general process of associating a conditioned
stimulus (CS) or operant behavior with an emotionally salient unconditioned stimulus (US).
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... In the last few decades, research on the phytochemicals of the Ferula species have gained momentum due to their natural origin, effectiveness and low to no unpleasant side effects. In recent years, several biological activities of phytochemicals, isolated from various Ferula species found in different geographical regions, have been reported, such as antimicrobial (Utegenova et al., 2018;Kahraman et al., 2019), insecticidal (Liu et al., 2020;Pavela et al., 2020), aphicidal (Stepanycheva et al., 2012), antihelmintic (Tavassoli et al., 2018), antiprotozoal activity (Bashir et al., 2014;Amin et al., 2016), antimycobacterial (Fallah et al., 2015), antiviral (Zhai et al., 2012;Ghannadi et al., 2014), antioxidant (Deveci et al., 2018;Rahali et al., 2019), anticancer (Asemani et al., 2018;Hosseinzadeh et al., 2020a;Hosseinzadeh et al., 2020b), antitumor (Alizadeh et al., 2018), cytotoxic (Iranshahy et al., 2019;Mahaki et al., 2019), antiproliferative (Verma et al., 2019), acetylcholinesterase inhibitory (Deveci et al., 2018;Karakaya et al., 2019a), antidepressant (Mohammadhosseini, 2016), antiulcer (Bagheri et al., 2018), muscarinic receptors inhibitory (Khazdair et al., 2015;Gholamnezhad et al., 2018), antihypertensive (Safaeian et al., 2015), anti-epileptic (Kiasalari et al., 2013), antispasmodic (Pavlović et al., 2012), antinociceptive (Bagheri et al., 2014a), phytotoxic (Dastan et al., 2014), hypnotic (Abbasnia and Aeinfar, 2016), antihemolytic and antioxidant (Nabavi et al., 2011), anticoagulant (Han et al., 2010), anticonvulsant (Bagheri at al., 2010;Bagheri et al., 2014a;Bagheri et al., 2014b;Bagheri et al., 2014c) relaxant (Bayrami et al., 2013;Bagheri et al., 2014a;Bagheri et al., 2014b;Bagheri et al., 2014c), memory enhancement (Upadhyay, 2017), increasing digestive enzyme activity (Safari et al., 2019), antigenotoxic (Ozkan et al., 2014;Rezaee et al., 2014), antihyperlipidemic (Yusufoglu et al., 2015;Latifi et al., 2019), antihyperglycemic (Iranshahi and Alizadeh, 2012;Yusufoglu et al., 2015), antidiabetic (Yarizade et al., 2017;Latifi et al., 2019), anxiolytics (Upadhyay et al., 2014;Batra et al., 2020) and antihepatotoxicity (Fatima et al., 2017;Deniz et al., 2019). In these activities, essential oils also make up a minimal but significant share. ...
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Full-text available
The genus Ferula is the third largest and a well-known genus of the Apiaceae family. It is categorized in the Peucedaneae tribe and Ferulinae subtribe of the Apiaceae family. At present, about 180 Ferula species have been reported. The genus is mainly distributed throughout central and South-West Asia (especially Iran and Afghanistan), the far-East, North India, and the Mediterranean. The genus Ferula is characterized by the presence of oleo-gum-resins (asafoetida, sagapenum, galbanum, and ammoniacum) and their use in natural and conventional pharmaceuticals. The main phytochemicals present in the genus Ferula are as follows: coumarin, coumarin esters, sesquiterpenes, sesquiterpene lactones, monoterpene, monoterpene coumarins, prenylated coumarins, sulfur-containing compounds, phytoestrogen, flavonoids and carbohydrates. This genus is considered to be a valuable group of medicinal plants due to its many different biological and pharmacological uses as volatile oils (essential oils). Numerous biological activities are shown by the chemical components of the essential oils obtained from different Ferula species. Because this genus includes many bioactivities such as antimicrobial, insecticidal, antioxidant, cytotoxic, etc., researchers are now focusing on this genus. Several reviews are already available on this particular genus, including information about the importance and the uses of all the phytochemicals found in the species of Ferula . Despite this, no review that specifically provides information about the biological activities of Ferula -derived essential oils, has been published yet. Therefore, the present review has been conducted to provide important information about the chemical profile, factors affecting the chemical composition, and biological activities of essential oils of the Ferula species.
... Nevertheless, the assayed doses proved that the essential oil and resin from B. slechtendalii are more potent than other anxiolytic essential oils [9,10]. To date, the anxiolytic effect of fresh or crystallized oleo-gumresins has been poorly investigated [11]. We believe that ours is the first scientific study that reveals the anxiolytic-like activity of a Mexican "copal tree", which is traditionally used for rituals in southern Mexico. ...
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This study reports on the volatile profile and pharmacological activities of the essential oil and resin from Bursera slechtendalii, an aromatic medicinal tree commercialized in southern Mexico. The essential oil contained 25 volatiles including p-cymen-8-ol (25.4–35.7%), n-hexyl hexanoate (6.8–17.6%) and n-octyl hexanoate (7.6–14.8%), whereas the crystallized resin contained 14 volatiles, including n-octyl acetate (29.6–34.2%), limonene (15.8–18.7%) and n-octyl butyrate (12.6–17-6%). The inhalation of vapors from the resin and essential oil caused a significant anxiolytic-like effect (p < .01) in ICR mice after 20 min of exposure at a dose of 50–150 mg L−1. The prolonged inhalation of the essential oil (for 40 days, for 15 min, twice a day) produced a significant decrease (p < .01) in total cholesterol and LDL-c content as well as an increase of HDL-c levels in the same murine model. Interestingly, levels of hepatic lipid hydroperoxide decreased, whereas the hepatic activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase was significantly enhanced (P < .05). The detection of p-cymen-8-ol and n-octyl acetate in the plasma of mice strongly suggests their bioavailability and possible role in the biological activities described herein. Also, both the resin and essential oil from B. slechtendalii, as well as their main volatiles, showed a potent repellence activity against Aedes aegypti (p < .01).
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