Context: Evidence show anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties of lavender.
Objective: Here, we studied the possible anxiolytic and antidepressant-like properties of an oral lavender’s flower aqueous extract (LAE) in chronic mild stress (CMS) model of rats.
Materials and Methods: Test and control rats received LAE (200 or 400 mg/ kg) and distilled water respectively. Tests of Sucrose preference (SP), elevated plus maze (EPM), and open field (OFT) were used to evaluate rats’ behavioral changes.
Results: The percentage of SP in the CMS group was 2.6 times less than that of the unstressed group (p<0.05). However, administration of LAE (200 and 400 mg / kg) increased SP of CMS rats by 2.0 and 3.01 times respectively in comparison to those of the stressed animals. EPM analysis revealed that 5-week CMS exposure significantly reduced the number of entries in open arm (0.8 times) as compared to unstressed rats (6.6 times). LAE (200 and 400 mg / kg) reversed CMS by increasing both the total time spent (1.73% and 1.23% respectively) and the number of entries in open arm (5 and 5.7 times respectively) compared to those related to unstressed group (p< 0.05). CMS decreased the number of entries and time spent in the central zone of OFT. Administration of LAE (200 and 400 mg/ kg) to stressed rats enhanced the total distance traveled respectively by 3.30% and 2.65% than the control rats.
Discussion & Conclusion: Taken together, oral lavender aqueous extracts showed ameliorating effects on the depression and anxiety-related behaviors in rats.
Keywords: depression, lavender, chronic mild stress, anxiety, aqueous extract