Influence of Lavandula angustifolia, Melissa officinalis and Vitex angus-castus on the organism of rats fed with excessive fat-containing diet
AbstractPlant food additives are becoming more and more popular and broadly applied products, though the information on risks they poses to the organism is limited and contradictive. Obesity and overeating are some of the commonest health issues around the world, and people are increasingly consuming workability-enhancing preparations as a simple and fast method of weight control. The plant-based preparations are considered less harmful than the synthetic chemical ones. Lavandula angustifolia Mill., Melissa officinalis L. and Vitex angus-castus L. are broadly used as food additives and medicinal plants, despite the fact that their complex physiological assessment on model animals in the conditions of obesity has not yet been performed. We carried out a 30-day experiment on white male rats. All the animals were given high-fat diet, and the experimental animals, in addition to this diet, received 5% crumbled dry herbs of L. angustifolia, M. officinalis or V. angus-castus. Taking into account the overall amount of consumed food, the mean daily gain in body weight; at the end of the experiment, we determined the index of the weight of the internal organs, biochemical and morphological blood parameters. At the beginning and the end of the experiment, the rats were examined for motor and orienting activities, and emotional status. Rats on high-fat diet gained up to 112% body weight by the end of the experiment, while rats that had received V. angus-castus gained up to 119%, M. officinalis – 135%, L. angustifolia – 139%, compared with the initial body weight. Addition of medicinal plants to the diet led to increase in average daily weight increment, significantly and reliably after consuming lavender and lemon balm, less significantly and unreliably after eating Vitex. L. angustifolia and M. officinalis reduced the relative brain weight, and ingestion of L. angustifolia and M. officinalis caused notable decrease in the relative mass of the thymus (down to 58% and 47% of the relative weight of thymus in animals of the control group respectively). Also, these plants decreased the motor and orienting activities of the rats by the end of the experiment. As for the biochemical parameters of blood, the activity of alkaline phosphatase significantly increased to 406% following consumption of Melissa, to 350% after consuming lavender, and to 406% after Vitex, compared to the control group. Furthermore, all the groups were observed to have increased AST and ALT activities. Intake of lavender led to increases in cholesterol (to 125%) and LDL cholesterol (to 228%), whereas the groups that consumed lemon balm were observed to have decreases in urea nitrogen (to 79%), totalbilirubin (to 63%) and triglycerides (to 63%). Addition of Vitex led to increase in the index of aterogenecity against the background of notable fall in HDL cholesterol (to 52% of the control group). The medicinal plants also contributed to the normalization of the glucose level. Morphological analysis of blood revealed no significant changes, except heightened content of monocytes in blood, which is characteristic of all groups, including the control. Effects of L. angustifolia, M. officinalis and V. angus-castus on the organism of rats on excessive-fat diet require additional histological, histochemical and immunological surveys.
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