Anti-Atherosclerotic Effects of the Hydroalcoholic Extract of Crocus sativus L. (saffron) Petals on Hypercholesterolemic Rats

Ayub Ghorbani , Ehsan Shirzadpour , Mohammad Reza Kaffashian , Safoura Mohamadpour , Yaser Seifinejad , Mansour Amraei

Abstract

Cardiovascular diseases are the major causes of mortalities worldwide. One of the methods for preventing and fighting cardiovascular diseases is the use of medicinal herbs that have been known to have fewer side effects as compared to chemical drugs. The present study aimed at investigating the effects of the hydroalcoholic extract of saffron (Crocus Sativus L.) petals on the atherosclerotic plaques. For this purpose, male Wistar Rats with the average weights of 170-220 g were assigned to six 5-member groups. The treatments lasted for 6 weeks. To perform histological examinations, the aorta and hearts of the rats were dissected at the end of the 6th week, and kept in a 10% formalin solution. The aorta tissues in the control group were fed with an ordinary diet and were thus completely healthy and natural, but atherogenic lesions and plaque formation symptoms were evidenced in the sham group that had been fed with a high-cholesterol diet. No signs of tissue or atherogenic lesions were detected in the 4 experimental groups treated with saffron petal extract plus lovastatin at various dosages. Also, a significant difference was found between the average weights of all the groups and the sham group (P<0.001). The hydroalcoholic extract of saffron petals was interestingly found to act like lovastatin, which is a chemical drug for preventing atherogenic lesions. Compared to chemical drugs, medicinal herbs as a source of different antioxidants can provide an appropriate alternative mitigation of cardiovascular diseases.



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