Therapeutic effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and its active constituents on nervous system disorders

Document Type : Review Article


1 Pharmaceutical Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is an evergreen bushy shrub which grows along the Mediterranean Sea, and sub-Himalayan areas. In folk medicine, it has been used as an antispasmodic, mild analgesic, to cure intercostal neuralgia, headaches, migraine, insomnia emotional upset, and depression. Different investigations have highlighted rosemary neuropharmacological properties as their main topics. Rosemary has significant antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-apoptotic, anti-tumorigenic, antinociceptive, and neuroprotective properties. Furthermore, it shows important clinical effects on mood, learning, memory, pain, anxiety, and sleep. The aim of the current work is to review the potential neuropharmacological effects of different rosemary extracts and its active constituents on nervous system disorders, their relevant mechanisms and its preclinical application to recall the therapeutic potential of this herb and more directions of future research projects. The data were gathered by searching the English articles in PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Science. The keywords used as search terms were ‘Rosmarinus officinalis’, ‘rosemary’, ‘nervous system’, ‘depression’, ‘memory’, ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ ‘epilepsy’, ‘addiction’, ‘neuropathic pain’, and ‘disorders’. All kinds of related articles, abstracts and books were included. No time limitation was considered. Both in vitro and in vivo studies were subjected to this investigation. This review authenticates that rosemary has appeared as a worthy source for curing inflammation, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and memory boosting. It also arranges new perception for further investigations on isolated constituents, especially carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid, and essential oil to find exquisite therapeutics and support drug discovery with fewer side effects to help people suffering from nervous system disorders.


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