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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:180598. doi: 10.1155/2013/180598. Epub 2013 Dec 26.

Nigella sativa Oil Enhances the Spatial Working Memory Performance of Rats on a Radial Arm Maze.

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Division of Biohealth Science, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Division of Biology, Center for Foundation Studies in Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Nigella sativa, an established historical and religion-based remedy for a wide range of health problems, is a herbal medicine known to have antioxidant and neuroprotective effects. This present study investigated the effect of Nigella sativa oil (NSO) administration on the spatial memory performance (SMP) of male adult rats using eight-arm radial arm maze (RAM). Twelve Sprague Dawley rats (7-9 weeks old) were force-fed daily with 6.0  μ L/100 g body weight of Nigella sativa oil (NSO group; n = 6) or 0.1 mL/100 g body weight of corn oil (control) (CO group; n = 6) for a period of 20 consecutive weeks. For each weekly evaluation of SMP, one day food-deprived rats were tested by allowing each of them 3 minutes to explore the RAM for food as their rewards. Similar to the control group, the SMP of the treated group was not hindered, as indicated by the establishment of the reference and working memory components of the spatial memory. The results demonstrated that lesser mean numbers of error were observed for the NSO-treated group in both parameters as compared to the CO-treated group. NSO could therefore enhance the learning and memory abilities of the rats; there was a significant decrease in the overall mean number of working memory error (WME) in the NSO-treated group.

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