Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Background and objectives: Ferula gummosa Boiss. (Umbelliferae) is a popular medicinal plant, which is known mostly for therapeutic uses of its oleo-gum-resin (Barijeh in Persian). In the present study, the essential oil of F. gummosa roots was investigated for its phytochemical constituents, antioxidant activity and toxicity potential. Methods: Phytochemical constituents of the essential oil (extracted by hydrodistillation method) were analyzed using GC-MS. Antioxidant and toxicity properties of the oil were also evaluated in DPPH free radical-scavenging assay and brine shrimp lethality test, respectively. Results: Forty-two compounds, representing 87.7% of total oil, were identified by GC-MS analysis of the plant roots oil. The essential oil was characterized by a high concentration of monoterpene hydrocarbons (55.9%), mainly β-pinene (33.2%), β-phellandrene (8.0%) and α-pinene (6.9%). In DPPH free radical-scavenging assay, the oil sample did not demonstrate any activity at the highest tested concentration (1.0 mg/mL). However, it was found very toxic in brine shrimp lethality test with LD50 value of 2.4 µg/mL. Conclusion: The results of this study introduced the F. gummosa roots oil as a source of monoterpene hydrocarbons, especially β-pinene. Considering the high yield of essential oil extraction (12.1% v/w), these compounds may be involved in anticonvulsant, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties of F. gummosa root. Moreover, considerable toxicity of the root oil highlights it as an appropriate candidate for further mechanistic toxicological studies.