Phytochemical constituents, antioxidant activity and toxicity potential of the essential oil from Ferula gummosa Boiss. roots


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.