BACKGROUND: The Ruta graveolens L. is currently used by the Jordanian population systemically for its antispasmodic, diuretic, sedative, and analgesic effects and externally for its antirheumatic effect.
OBJECTIVE: To study plant effects on the reproductive system and fertility using adult male albino rats with special emphasis on the aggressive behavior and sex behavior. The aqueous extracts of Ruta graveolens L. solution was fed orally to male albino rats at a dose of 500 mg/kg body weight for 60 days.
RESULTS: This dose induces a significant decrease in the weight of reproductive organs (P<0.01) when compared to controls. The sperm motility and density in cauda epidydimides and testicular ducts were significantly decreased (P<0.01). A significant decreased (P<0.001) in spermatogenesis activity is observed in somniferous tubule. Treated rats testicular cell population showed a decrease in number of spermatocytes and spermatids (P<0.001) when compared to controls. Serum hormonal assay indicated a decrease in testosterone and follicular stimulating hormone levels in treated rats. A decrease in number of female rats impregnated by males receiving treatment was observed and demonstrated by a decrease in the implantation sites and viable fetuses number (P<0.01). The ingested extract also suppresses the sexual behavior in adult male rats expressed by a prolongation of first mount time, increase in intromission latency, decrease in intromissions number, and prolongation of the post-ejaculatory interval. This led to reduction of the ejaculation time and increase of the post ejaculatory intervals. Ingestion of R. graveolens markedly abolished aggressive behavior parameters in adult male treated rats namely, a suppression in lateralization, boxing bouts and ventral presenting postures.
CONCLUSION: The aqueous extracts of Ruta graveolens L might have adverse effects on territorial aggression and sexual behavior in male albino rats.