The effect of Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) hydroalcoholic extract on serum lipid profiles and liver enzymes in male rats fed a high cholesterol regimen

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Medicinal Plants Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

2 Neurophysiology Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Physiology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background and Objective: Currently, hyperlipidemia is a major health-threatening factor in developed and developing countries. Hyperlipidemia induced by high cholesterol (HC) diet rapidly increases the risk of cardiovascular and liver diseases. F. vulgare is used in traditional medicine for a wide range of ailments and has hepatoprotective, hypolipidemic and cardiovascular activities. This study was done to evaluate the effect of F. vulgare hydroalcoholic extract on serum lipid profiles and liver enzymes in adult Wistar rats.
Materials and Methods: In this experimental study, 28 male rats (190-220 g) were divided into four different groups including: Control, HC diet, Control plus Fennel extract, and Fennel extract-treated high cholesterol-fed groups. Rats were fed a high-cholesterol diet (HC group) or normal rat chow (control group) for 8 weeks. The extract was administered at a dose of 150 mg/kg, once daily for 3 weeks. The blood samples were collected from retroorbital sinus. Then, the measurements of serum biochemical parameters were performed. The data was analyzed by one-way ANOVA test.
Results: Our study showed that the levels of triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol, LDL, LDH, ALT, and ALP significantly increase in HC group and the level of HDL in HC group significantly decreases by HC diet compared to control group (p<0.001) after 8 weeks. The levels of TG, total cholesterol, LDL, LDH, ALT, and ALP significantly reduced by treatment with fennel extract and the level of HDL in fennel extract-treated HC-fed group was significantly higher compared to HC group (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The results from the present research showed hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of F. vulgare that leads to protection of the liver and cardiovascular system from high cholesterol damage in rats.


1.       Artham SM, Lavie CJ, Milani RV, Ventura HO. The obesity paradox: impact of obesity on the prevalence and prognosis of cardiovascular diseases. Postgraduate Medicine 2008;120(2):34-41.
2.       Amin KA, Nagy MA. Effect of Carnitine and herbal mixture extract on obesity induced by high fat diet in rats. Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome 2009;1(1):17.
3.       Capewell S, Ford ES, Croft JB, Critchley JA, Greenlund KJ, Labarthe DR. Cardiovascular risk factor trends and potential for reducing coronary heart disease mortality in the United States of America. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2010;88(2):120-30.
4.       Qin R, Zhang J, Li C, Zhang X, Xiong A, Huang F, et al. Protective effects of gypenosides against fatty liver disease induced by high fat and cholesterol diet and alcohol in rats. Archives of Pharmacal Research 2012;35(7):1241-50.
5.       Rahman MM, Alam MN, Ulla A, Sumi FA, Subhan N, Khan T, et al. Cardamom powder supplementation prevents obesity, improves glucose intolerance, inflammation and oxidative stress in liver of high carbohydrate high fat diet induced obese rats 2017;16(1):151.
6.       Tahmasebi M, Sadeghi H, Nazem H, Kokhdan EP, Omidifar N. Hepatoprotective effects of Berberis vulgaris leaf extract on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Journal of Education and Health Promotion 2018;7:147.
7.       Al-Muzafar HM, Amin KA. Efficacy of functional foods mixture in improving hypercholesterolemia, inflammatory and endothelial dysfunction biomarkers-induced by high cholesterol diet. Lipids in Health and Disease 2017;16(1):194.
8.       Fidele N, Joseph B, Emmanuel T, Theophile D. Hypolipidemic, antioxidant and anti-atherosclerogenic effect of aqueous extract leaves of Cassia. occidentalis Linn (Caesalpiniaceae) in diet-induced hypercholesterolemic rats. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2017;17(1):76.
9.       Muckensturm B, Foechterlen D, Reduron JP, Danton P, Hildenbrand M. Phytochemical and chemotaxonomic studies of Foeniculum vulgare. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 1997;25(4):353-8.
10.    Badgujar SB, Patel VV, Bandivdekar AH. Foeniculum vulgare Mill: a review of its botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, contemporary application, and toxicology. BioMed Research International 2014;2014:842674.
11.    Koppula S, Kumar H. Foeniculum vulgare Mill (Umbelliferae) attenuates stress and improves memory in wister rats. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 2013;12(4):553-8.
12.    Ghorbani A. Studies on pharmaceutical ethnobotany in the region of Turkmen Sahra, north of Iran (Part 1): general results. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2005;102(1):58-68.
13.    13.  Jabbar A, Raza MA, Iqbal Z, Khan MN. An inventory of the ethnobotanicals used as anthelmintics in the southern Punjab (Pakistan). Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2006;108(1):152-4.
14.    Rasul A, Akhtar N, Khan BA, Mahmood T, Uz Zaman S, Khan HM. Formulation development of a cream containing fennel extract: in vivo evaluation for anti-aging effects. Die Pharmazie 2012;67(1):54-8.
15.    Kunzemann J, Herrmann K. [Isolation and identification of flavon(ol)-O-glycosides in caraway (Carum carvi L.), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), anise (Pimpinella anisum L.), and coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.), and of flavon-C-glycosides in anise. I. Phenolics of spices (author's transl)]. Zeitschrift fur Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und -Forschung 1977;164(3):194-200.
16.    Nassar MI, Aboutabl E-sA, Makled YA, El-Khrisy E-D, Osman AF. Secondary metabolites and pharmacology of Foeniculum vulgare Mill. Subsp. Piperitum. Revista Latinoamericana de Química. 2010;38(2):103-12.
17.    Parejo I, Jauregui O, Sánchez-Rabaneda F, Viladomat F, Bastida J, Codina C. Separation and characterization of phenolic compounds in fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) using liquid chromatography− negative electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2004;52(12):3679-87.
18.    Ozbek H, Ugras S, Dulger H, Bayram I, Tuncer I, Ozturk G, et al. Hepatoprotective effect of Foeniculum ulgare essential oil. Fitoterapia 2003;74(3):317-9.
19.    Kooti W, Mansouri E, Ghasemiboroon M, Harizi M, Ashtary-Larky D, Afrisham R. The Effects of Hydroalcoholic Extract of Apium graveolens Leaf on the Number of Sexual Cells and Testicular Structure in Rat. Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products 2014;9(4):e17532.
20.    Mansouri E, Kooti W, Bazvand M, Ghasemi Boroon M, Amirzargar A, Afrisham R, et al. The Effect of Hydro-Alcoholic Extract of Foeniculum vulgare Mill on Leukocytes and Hematological Tests in Male Rats. Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products 2015;10(1):e18396.
21.    Piri M, Shahin M, Oryan S. The effects of Anethum on plasma lipid and lipoprotein in normal and diabetic rats fed high fat diets. Journal of Shahrekord Uuniversity of Medical Sciences 2010;11(4):15-25.
22.    Garg C, Ansari SH, Khan S, A., Garg M. Effect of Foeniculum vulgare Mill Fruits in Obesity and Associated Cardiovascular Disorders Demonstrated in High Fat Diet Fed Albino Rats. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences 2011.
23.    Xu RY, Wan YP, Tang QY, Wu J, Cai W. The effects of high fat on central appetite genes in Wistar rats: a microarray analysis. Clinica chimica acta. International Journal of Clinical Chemistry 2008;397(1-2):96-100.
24.    Woo MN, Bok SH, Lee MK, Kim HJ, Jeon SM, Do GM, et al. Anti-obesity and hypolipidemic effects of a proprietary herb and fiber combination (S&S PWH) in rats fed high-fat diets. Journal of Medicinal Food 2008;11(1):169-78.
25.    Shahat AA, Ahmed HH, Hammouda FM, Ghaleb H. Regulation of Obesity and Lipid Disorders by Foeniculum vulgare Extracts and Plantago ovata in High-fat Diet-induced Obese Rats. American Journal of Food Technology 2012;7:622-32.
26.    Keskin E. Effects of L-Carnitine on Liver Enzymes in Rats Fed Cholesterol Rich Diet. Animal and Veterinary Sciences 2015; 3(4):117-119
27.    Parsaeyan N. The Effect of Foeniculum VULgare (Fennel) Extract on LIpid Profile, Lipid Peroxidation and Liver Enzymes of Diabetic Rat. Iranian Journal of Diabetes and Obesity 2016;8(1):24-9.