Cuminum cyminum Linn. (Apiaceae), cumin, is a popular spice with a long history of medicinal use to treat various symptoms such as diarrhea, flatulence, gynecological, and respiratory diseases.
To date, no scientific investigation was reported regarding memory-enhancing and antistress activity of cumin fruits. The present study deals with the memory-enhancing and antistress activities and further the antioxidant status via lipid peroxidation inhibition.
Antistress activity was evaluated by inducing stress via forced swimming and the urinary vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) and ascorbic acid were estimated as biomarkers. Memory-enhancing activity was studied by conditioned avoidance response using Cook's pole climbing apparatus in normal and scopolamine-induced amnestic rats. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay was used to evaluate the lipid peroxidation.
Daily administration of cumin at doses of 100, 200, and 300 mg/kg body weight 1 h prior to induction of stress inhibited the stress-induced urinary biochemical changes in a dose-dependent manner without altering the levels in normal control groups. The cognition, as determined by the acquisition, retention, and recovery in rats, was observed to be dose-dependent. The extract also produced significant lipid peroxidation inhibition in comparison with known antioxidant ascorbic acid in both rat liver and brain.
This study provides scientific support for the antistress, antioxidant, and memory-enhancing activities of cumin extract and substantiates that its traditional use as a culinary spice in foods is beneficial and scientific in combating stress and related disorders.