A study, published in the African Journal of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicines, states that eating radish can alleviate the symptoms of clinical depression. A team of Pakistani researchers from the University of Karachi and Hamdard University conducted the respective study. They revealed the antidepressant activities of rat-tailed radish (Raphanus caudatus).
Depression is a very common and prevalent mental problem these days. A recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 300 million people, around the world, suffer from depression.
People with this condition have depleted concentrations of the neurotransmitters like dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are important for maintaining the mood. Common characteristics of depression include,
- Low energy levels
- Loss of interest
- Changes in appetite
- Sleeping problems
- Suicidal thoughts
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that 10.7 percent of the American population suffering from the problem opts for antidepressants as a remedy. This number is increasing day by day which indicates that more and more people are falling victim to depression.
This is a great cause for concern because antidepressants are known for their adverse side effects and high cost. Researchers put in their tireless efforts to find natural alternatives in order to reduce the need for conventional antidepressants.
Medicinal plants can serve as safe, effective, and cheap alternatives for the problem.
This respective study determines the antidepressant potential of the rat-tailed radish.
Rat-tailed radish is widely consumed in many Asian and European countries. Research has determined it applications far beyond the kitchen! It is potentially used as a therapeutic against,
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Gastric disorders
For the study, the researchers collected the ethanolic extracts from dried rat-tailed radish. They administered varying doses (250, 500, and 1000 milligrams per kilogram) of the extract in male Swiss albino mice.
The mice were divided into three groups,
- The group receiving the radish extract
- The negative control group receiving a normal saline solution
- The positive control group given with the antidepressant Fluoxetine
The researchers opted for the following two tests in order to determine the effects of the extract on depression-like behavior in mice which often manifests as immobility.
- Forced swim test
- Tail suspension test
The former involves forcing the mice to swim in an open cylindrical container. The researchers observed that if the mice would struggle or just float motionlessly. The latter involved hanging the mice by their tails and observing the signs of movement in them.
The results of both the tests showed that all three doses of rat-tailed radish significantly improved the depression-like behavior in mice, as exhibited by reduced immobility time. Moreover, the extent of the antidepressant activity of the extract was comparable to that of Fluoxetine.
The researchers attribute the antidepressant activities of rat-tailed radish to the hepatoprotective and antioxidant content of its extract. They observed that the plant contains alkaloids, anthocyanins, and isothiocyanate compounds. All of these are associated with neuro-pharmacological potential.
The authors of the study stated that radish is a rich source of flavonoids, alkaloids, and isothiocyanate compounds. Hence, it may be safely suggested that the antidepressant-like activity of Raphanus caudatus could be due to the presence of these bioactive constituents.
Overall, the study proves that rat-tailed radish has potential antidepressant activities. Thus, it can serve as a natural remedy for depression. However, the researchers encourage further investigations in order to determine the specific compounds involved in this therapeutic application.