Effects of Carthamus tinctorius on Semen Quality and Gonadal Hormone Levels in Partially Sterile Male Rats.
Korean J Urol. 2012 Oct ;53(10):705-10. Epub 2012 Oct 19. PMID: 23136631
PURPOSE: Traditional herbal medicine is just one of the many different approaches using plants in the remedy of diseases. Carthamus tinctorius (CT) or safflower is a popular plant that is used for coloring and flavoring in food industries. The effect of CT on spermatogenesis and sperm parameters has been reported in traditional medicine but has not yet been confirmed scientifically. Therefore, this study was designed to determine the effects of CT on spermatogenesis and the male reproductive system in an animal model.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sixty male rats were divided into five groups. Four groups were injected with 5 mg/kg of busulfan as a model of partial infertility. Then, the experimental groups were treated with 10 mg/kg, 25 mg/kg, or 50 mg/kg of CT extract for 35 days. The control was treated with busulfan (infertile control) or distilled water only. After this period, the animals were sacrificed and blood samples were taken for hormonal assay. The semen was collected from the epididymis and the reproductive organs were assessed. Sperm count and motility were measured and smears were prepared for assessment of the other parameters.
RESULTS: The results indicated that the percentage of sperm with good morphology, motility, and count increased significantly in the group treated with 10 mg/kg CT (p=0.002, p=0.03, and p=0.00001, respectively). The effects on hormonal changes and genital organ weights were also positive.
CONCLUSIONS: It is probable that the CT extract affects spermatogenesis and as a result sperm quality. Further studies are needed.