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August 04, 2020

Investigating the Effect of Damask Rose on Reducing Anxiety and Depression


According to the world health organization (WHO), among 870 million people in Europe, over 12% suffer from anxiety and depression (1), which not only prevent from adhering to proposed diets and treatments, but also have negative effects on self-care and treatment results. Patients with higher social support and lower anxiety levels have a higher success rate in achieving various personal care goals. (2)

Damask rose (Rosa damascena mill L.), also known as Gole Mohammadi, is a native Iranian plant. According to some studies on the effects of Damask rose, it can quench thirst, stop bladder bleeding, enhance digestion, and control pests. In addition, these studies noted other effects such as antispasmodic, anti-bacterial, antivirus, and hematopoietic. Damask rose can also be used to strengthen the nerves and to treat anxiety and depression. (1)

Rosa damascena mill L. is one of the most notable species of Rosaceae family flowers. It is known as an ornamental plant, and besides its perfuming effect, several pharmacological properties including anti-HIV, antioxidant, antibacterial, antitussive, antidiabetic, hypnotic, and relaxant effect on tracheal chains have been reported. Therefore, R. Damascena has also been used for medicinal purposes. Many “in vivo” and “in vitro” studies have been conducted on various products and isolated constituents like flowers, petals, and hips (seed-pot) of this plant.

The medicinal effects of Rosaceae are partly related to their abundance of phenolic compounds. Phenolics possess a wide range of pharmacological activities such as antioxidants, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antidepressant, and free-radical scavengers. Several pharmacological studies have been examined on R. damascena to assess the effects on the central nervous system (CNS). The effects of this plant on CNS are extensive. Ethanolic extract of the flowering tops of R.damascena has been shown to possess a strong depressant activity on CNS in mice. Some of the effects that were evaluated are hypnotic, anticonvulsant, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and analgesic effects. (3)

In a study, the ethanolic extract of the flowering tops of Rosa damascena (Rosaceae) was examined for the effect on the central nervous system (CNS) using a number of neuropharmacological experimental models in mice. The flowering tops of R. damascena were collected. Dried ground flowering tops (400 g) were extracted with 95% ethanol in a Soxhlet apparatus at an elevated temperature. The extract was concentrated by evaporation under reduced pressure at 40°C to yield a gummy reddish-black coloured extract (yield appx. 5.6%). Swiss mice of either sex (20-25 g) were picked and kept under standard laboratory conditions. The animals were fed with a standard diet and water ad libitum. Then, they were randomly divided into four groups consisting of five mice each. The test groups received R. damascena flowering tops extracts at the doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg while positive control was treated with diazepam (1 mg/kg i.p.) and control with vehicle (1% Tween 80 in water). Thirty minutes later, pentobarbitone (40 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered to each mouse to induce sleep. The extract produced a dose-dependent reduction of the onset and duration of pentobarbitone-induced hypnosis, reduction of locomotor (4) (locomotor activity or LMA is used to assess whether an NCE possesses psychostimulant or sedative activity (5)), and exploratory activities in the open field and cross-hole tests. At the same dose levels, the extract dose-dependently inhibited acetic acid-1induced writhing (4) (a chemical method used to induce pain of peripheral origin by injection of irritant principles like phenylquinone and acetic acid in mice (6)). The results suggest that the extract possess CNS depressant activity. Finally, the overall results obtained from this study showed CNS depressant activity of the flowering tops on experimental animal models. Among the extracts, 500 mg/kg dose of the ethanolic extract of R. damascena flowering top showed more prominent depressant activity than 250 mg/kg dose. The mechanism of this depression is not yet clearly understood, but it can be assumed that the drug may exert CNS depressant effect by interfering with the function of the cortex. (4)

In another study conducted in 2016, the antidepressant-like effect of R. damascene was evaluated using the forced swimming test (FST), which is a commonly used stressor test. The experiment was carried out with 24 healthy albino mice of either sex weighing about 25 to 30 grams. One week prior to experimentation, the subject mice were acclimatized to their new environment. Two doses of aqueous extract (20 and 40 mg/kg) were injected intraperitoneally. After 30 min of injection, immobility and swimming times were measured and compared with control (negative control), and imipramine (positive control). The study suggests that R. damascene in the doses of 20 mg and 40 mg/kg significantly decreased immobility time compared to the control than standard. As a result, its antidepressant activity was proved. The dose of 40 mg/kg body weight showed anti-depressant activity almost similar to the standard drug imipramine (10 mg/kg). The results suggest that R. damascene has dose-dependent antidepressant activity comparable with imipramine. (7)


In addition to anti-anxiety drug treatments, there are several ways to treat anxiety like psychological treatment and complementary medicine treatments. Complementary medicine and herbal medicine have developed globally, and these new treatments have gained special status and value. Aromatherapy is a type of complementary medicine in which the volatile oil of plants is used to elevate the level of physical, spiritual, and physiological health. (1) Studies demonstrate efficient anti-anxiety effects of the aromatherapy method, which has not accompanied by side effects. (2)

A large number of plants have been found useful for aromatherapy, including tea oil, chamomile, lemon balm, and rose oil. A study was carried out to investigate the effect of inhaling rose water aromatherapy on anxiety in hemodialysis patients. This randomized controlled clinical trial was carried on 46 patients who were randomly divided into control and experimental groups. The experimental group inhaled rose water for 4 weeks, but the control group did not undergo any intervention. At the end of week 2 and week 4, the participants’ anxiety was measured, and the results were statistically analyzed. Inhalation of rose water fragrance in the experimental group caused a significant decrease in the state and trait of anxiety levels compared with controls. According to the results of this study, rose water noticeably reduces the anxiety of hemodialysis patients. Therefore, inhalation of rose water can improve the patient’s emotional and spiritual condition during hemodialysis treatment. (1)





1- Barati, F., Nasiri, A., Akbari, N., & Sharifzadeh, G. (2016). The Effect of Aromatherapy on Anxiety in Patients. Nephrourol, 8(5), e38347. Retrieved from

2- Kasra Dehkordi, A., Tayebi, A., Ebadi, A., Sahraei, H., & Einollahi, B. (2017). Effects of Aromatherapy Using the Damask Rose Essential Oil on Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in Hemodialysis Patients: A Clinical Trial. Nephro-Urology Monthly, 9(6), e60280. Retrieved from

3- Boskabady, M.H., Shafei, M.N., Saberi, Z., & Amini, S. (2011). Pharmacological Effects of Rosa Damascena. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 14(4), 295–307. Retrieved from

4- Nyeem, M.A.B., Alam, M.A., Awal, M.A., Mostofa, M., Uddin, S.J., Islam, N., & Rouf, R. (2006). CNS Depressant Effect of the Crude Ethanolic Extract of the Flowering Tops of Rosa Damascena. Iranian Journal of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 5(2), 171-174. Retrieved from


6- Gawade, S.P. (2012). Acetic acid induced painful endogenous infliction in writhing test on mice. Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, 3(4): 348. Retrieved from

7- Tirupathi, H., Golla, P. (2016). To evaluate and compare antidepressant activity of Rosa damascena in mice by using forced swimming test. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 5(5), 1949-1952. Retrieved from


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