Exploring Red Onion Peel Extract as a Natural Mania Treatment

Jim Crocker
10th May, 2024

Exploring Red Onion Peel Extract as a Natural Mania Treatment

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Imo State University, red onion husk extract was found to be safe for use in animals
  • The extract reduced brain oxidative stress and protected against manic-like symptoms in rats
  • These findings suggest red onion husk could be a potential treatment for bipolar disorder
In the ongoing quest to uncover new treatments for mental health conditions, scientists from Imo State University have turned their attention to a common kitchen ingredient: the red onion. Specifically, the outer husk of the red onion, often discarded as waste, has been the focus of recent research due to its abundance of bioactive compounds. This study[1] explores the potential of red onion husk extract in managing manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, a chronic condition characterized by alternating periods of elation and depression[2]. Bipolar disorder affects millions worldwide, and while medications like lithium are standard treatments, they are not without side effects and limitations. It's here that the red onion husk extract could offer a complementary or alternative approach. The study follows previous research that has demonstrated the positive effects of natural antioxidants, such as blackberry extract, in preventing or reducing manic behavior in animal models[2] and the beneficial impact of long-term consumption of antioxidants, like yellow onion husk extract, on aging rodents[3]. The red onion husk extract was subjected to both acute and repeated oral dose studies to determine its safety. The good news is that the extract showed a favorable safety profile, meaning it did not cause significant harm to the animals even with prolonged use. Researchers used techniques like FT-IR analysis to identify the various organic compounds present in the extract and GC-MS analysis to pinpoint specific bioactive substances, including antioxidants. To assess the efficacy of the extract in a controlled environment, a ketamine-induced manic behavior model in Wistar rats was used. Ketamine, a substance known to induce hyperlocomotion and oxidative damage, was given to the animals to simulate manic-like symptoms. Oxidative stress markers like TBARS were significantly increased, and antioxidant enzyme activities were suppressed in the rats' brains after ketamine administration, indicating damage. Furthermore, an increase in acetylcholinesterase (AchE) activity suggested higher neuronal excitability, akin to what might be seen during a manic episode. Pre-treatment with the red onion husk extract, however, told a different story. The extract effectively reduced the oxidative stress caused by ketamine, as seen by decreased TBARS levels and partially restored antioxidant enzymes. Notably, the extract significantly enhanced catalase (CAT) activity, which may suggest a unique mechanism of action in combating oxidative stress. Additionally, the extract counteracted the ketamine-induced rise in AchE activity, thereby offering neuroprotection and potentially preventing the onset of manic symptoms. The findings of this study are promising, indicating that red onion husk extract has strong antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that could be beneficial in managing manic episodes. This aligns with earlier studies[4] that highlight the importance of postmarketing surveillance to fully understand a drug's benefits and adverse effects. The natural compounds found in the red onion husk extract could provide a safer alternative with fewer side effects compared to traditional pharmacological treatments. The study from Imo State University builds upon the notion that natural antioxidants can play a role in preventing or treating age-related diseases and mood disorders[3]. By demonstrating the safety and therapeutic potential of red onion husk extract, the research opens the door to further exploration into how these natural compounds can be used in the food and pharmaceutical industries, not just for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. In conclusion, the red onion husk extract, a byproduct often overlooked, has shown a potential new avenue for the management of manic episodes in bipolar disorder. The study supports the idea that natural substances can offer significant health benefits, including neuroprotection and antioxidant effects. While the results are promising, further research is necessary to fully understand how these compounds work and to evaluate their effectiveness in human clinical trials.

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Main Study

1) Towards a natural treatment for mania: red onion husk extract modulates neuronal resilience, redox signalling, and glial activation.

Published 9th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Blackberry extract improves behavioral and neurochemical dysfunctions in a ketamine-induced rat model of mania.


3) Antioxidant effect of ethanolic onion (Allium cepa) husk extract in ageing rats.


4) Adverse event detection in drug development: recommendations and obligations beyond phase 3.


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