Medicinal use of basil, Ocimum basilicum, dates back to ancient times in Iran, China, and India. This herb has been used since ancient times as a medicine and food and it is known that the antioxidant effect of O. basilicum is beneficial to spermatogenesis, so it was hypothesized that this herb might also provide protection to sperm parameters. Male Wistar rats (n = 30) were allocated to three groups, a control group (n = 10) and two treatment groups (n = 20). The first treatment group received O. basilicum extract (1.5 g/kg body weight), the second extract group received O. basilicum extract (3g/kg body weight) for 40 consecutive days. Animals were maintained under standard conditions. At the conclusion of the test period rat testes tissues were removed from all group members, before sperm was collected from the epididymis and prepared for analysis. Total testosterone serum, sperm concentration, percentage of sperm viability and sperm motility were significantly increased in the experimental group, which received 1.5 g/kg body weight O. basilicum extract (p < 0.05), compared to control group. LH, FSH hormones, morphology and testes weights for both experimental and control groups were similar. Results indicate that administration of 1.5 g/kg body weight of O. basilicum extract significantly increased sperm percentage, viability, motility and total serum testosterone. This suggested that O. basilicum extract may be a promising treatment for enhancing healthy sperm parameters.
Key words: Ocimum basilicum, sperm, rat, testosterone.
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