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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Newer insights into the mechanism of action of Psidium guajava L. leaves in infectious diarrhoea

Tannaz Birdi1*, Poonam Daswani1, S Brijesh1, Pundarikakshudu Tetali2, Arvind Natu3 and Noshir Antia14

Author Affiliations

1 The Foundation for Medical Research, 84A, RG Thadani Marg, Worli, Mumbai 400018, Maharashtra, India

2 Naoroji Godrej Centre for Plant Research, Lawkin Ltd. Campus, Shindewadi, Shirwal, Satara 412801, Maharashtra, India

3 Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Central Tower, Sai Trinity, Garware Circle, Sutarwadi, Pashan, Pune 411021, Maharashtra, India

4 The Foundation for Research in Community Health, 3-4, Trimiti-B Apartments, 85, Anand Park, Pune 411 007, Maharashtra, India

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:33  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-33

Published: 28 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Psidium guajava L., Myrtaceae, is used widely in traditional medicine for the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, gastroenteritis, stomachaches, and indigestion. However, the effect of the leaf extract of P. guajava on the pathogenesis of infectious diarrhoea has not been studied. The present study evaluates the effect of a hot aqueous extract (decoction) of dried leaves of P. guajava on parameters associated with pathogenicity of infectious diarrhoea. The aim was to understand its possible mechanism(s) of action in controlling infectious diarrhoea and compare it with quercetin, one of the most reported active constituents of P. guajava with antidiarrhoeal activity.

Methods

The crude decoction and quercetin were studied for their antibacterial activity and effect on virulence features of common diarrhoeal pathogens viz. colonization of epithelial cells and production and action of enterotoxins. Colonization as measured by adherence of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and invasion of enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) and Shigella flexneri was assessed using HEp-2 cell line. The production of E. coli heat labile toxin (LT) and cholera toxin (CT) and their binding to ganglioside monosialic acid (GM1) were studied by GM1-ELISA whereas the production and action of E. coli heat stable toxin (ST) was assessed by suckling mouse assay.

Results

The decoction of P. guajava showed antibacterial activity towards S. flexneri and Vibrio cholerae. It decreased production of both LT and CT and their binding to GM1. However, it had no effect on production and action of ST. The decoction also inhibited the adherence of EPEC and invasion by both EIEC and S. flexneri to HEp-2 cells. Quercetin, on the other hand, had no antibacterial activity at the concentrations used nor did it affect any of the enterotoxins. Although it did not affect adherence of EPEC, it inhibited the invasion of both EIEC and S. flexneri to HEp-2 cells.

Conclusion

Collectively, the results indicate that the decoction of P. guajava leaves is an effective antidiarrhoeal agent and that the entire spectrum of its antidiarrhoeal activity is not due to quercetin alone.