Evaluation of an Aqueous-Ethanolic Extract from Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) for its Activity on the Hormonal and Cellular Function of Testes in Adult Male Rat

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Rosmarinus officinalis has been used in traditional medicine extensively. This study evaluated the hormonal and cellular effects of Rosmarinus officinalis extract on testes of adult rats. Thirty male Wistar rats (in three groups) received 50 or 100 mg/Kg b.w of Rosmarinus officinalis extract (made from the plant’s leaves, flower and stem) (treatment groups) and 10 mL/Kg b.w normal saline (control group) respectively, on a daily bases by gavage route for 60 days. Then, spermatological properties, histometric parameters and sperm dynamics, testis and body weight, testicular cell population and serum testosterone level were analyzed by an acceptable method. Results showed that the mean serum testosterone level was decreased significantly in both treatment groups (50 and 100 mg/Kg b.w) during the experiment time, compared with control group (p < 0.05). However, Rosmarinus officinalis did not change the total count, motility and viability of sperm. In addition, Rosmarinus officinalis at both doses did not change body and testes weight and their ratio. Furthermore, Rosmarinus officinalis increased the number of Spermatogonia at both doses, Spermatocyte at doses of 50 mg/Kg b.w, Leydig cell and Spermatid at dose of 100 mg/Kg b.w significantly (p < 0.05). Rosmarinus officinalis did not significantly affect the number of Spermatozoid and Sertoli cells. In conclusion, it seems that Rosmarinus officinalis may have some hormonal and cellular effects on the testes which can contribute the spermatogenesis process in rat. Rosmarinus officinalis may have antiandrogenic effect potentially indicating the possibility of developing herbal male contraceptive.