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Anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of Pimpinella anisum in rat brain

Fariba Karimzadeh12, Mahmoud Hosseini3, Diana Mangeng4, Hassan Alavi2, Gholam Reza Hassanzadeh5, Mohamad Bayat5, Maryam Jafarian1, Hadi Kazemi6 and Ali Gorji147*

Author Affiliations

1 Shefa Neuroscience Center, Tehran, Iran

2 Mashhad Neuroscience Center, University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Physiology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Institut für Physiologie I, Westfalische Wilhelms-University Münster, Münster, Germany

5 Department of Anatomy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

6 Department of Pediatric, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

7 Razavi Neuroscience Center, Mashhad, Iran

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:76  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-76

Published: 18 June 2012



Essential oil of Pimpinella anisum L. Apiaceae (anise oil) has been widely used in traditional Persian medicine to treat a variety of diseases, including some neurological disorders. This study was aimed to test the possible anti-seizure and anti-hypoxia effects of anise oil.


The effects of different concentrations of anise oil were tested on seizure attacks induced by pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) injection and neuronal hypoxia induced by oxygen withdrawal as well as on production of dark neurons and induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) in in vivo and in vitro experimental models of rat brain.


Anise oil significantly prolonged the latency of seizure attacks and reduced the amplitude and duration of epileptiform burst discharges induced by injection of intraperitoneal PTZ. In addition, anise oil significantly inhibited production of dark neurons in different regions of the brain in epileptic rats. Anise oil also significantly enhanced the duration of the appearance of anoxic terminal negativity induced by oxygen withdrawal and inhibited induction of LTP in hippocampal slices.


Our data indicate the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of anise oil, likely via inhibition of synaptic plasticity. Further evaluation of anise oil to use in the treatment of neurological disorders is suggested.

Cephalic pain; Stroke; Brain ischemia; Medical plants; Traditional therapy