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Open Access Research article

A study of antimicrobial activity, acute toxicity and cytoprotective effect of a polyherbal extract in a rat ethanol-HCl gastric ulcer model

Emmanuel E Haule1, Mainen J Moshi1*, Ramadhani SO Nondo1, Dennis T Mwangomo1 and Rogasian LA Mahunnah2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biological and Preclinical Studies, Institute of Traditional Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

2 Department of Medical Botany, Plant Breeding and Agronomy, Institute of Traditional Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:546  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-546

Published: 2 October 2012

Abstract

Background

The decoction of the aerial parts of Rhynchosia recinosa (A.Rich.) Bak. [Fabaceae] is used in combination with the stem barks of Ozoroa insignis Del. (Anacardiaceae), Maytenus senegalensis (Lam.) Excell. [Celastraceae] Entada abyssinica Steud. ex A.Rich [Fabaceae] and Lannea schimperi (Hochst.)Engl. [Anacardiaceae] as a traditional remedy for managing peptic ulcers. However, the safety and efficacy of this polyherbal preparation has not been evaluated. This study reports on the phytochemical profile and some biological activities of the individual plant extracts and a combination of extracts of the five plants.

Methods

A mixture of 80% ethanol extracts of R. recinosa, O. insignis, M. senegalensis, E. abyssinica and L. schimperi at doses of 100, 200, 400 and 800 mg/kg body wt were evaluated for ability to protect Sprague Dawley rats from gastric ulceration by an ethanol-HCl mixture. Cytoprotective effect was assessed by comparison with a negative control group given 1% tween 80 in normal saline and a positive control group given 40 mg/kg body wt pantoprazole. The individual extracts and their combinations were also tested for antibacterial activity against four Gram negative bacteria; Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922), Salmonella typhi (NCTC 8385), Vibrio cholerae (clinical isolate), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (clinical isolate) using the microdilution method. In addition the extracts were evaluated for brine shrimp toxicity and acute toxicity in mice. Phytochemical tests were done using standard methods to determine the presence of tannins, saponins, steroids, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids and terpenoids in the individual plant extracts and in the mixed extract of the five plants.

Results

The combined ethanolic extracts of the 5 plants caused a dose-dependent protection against ethanol/HCl induced ulceration of rat gastric mucosa, reaching 81.7% mean protection as compared to 87.5% protection by 40 mg/kg body wt pantoprazole. Both the individual plant extracts and the mixed extracts of 5 plants exhibited weak to moderate antibacterial activity against four G-ve bacteria. Despite Ozoroa insignis being toxic to mice at doses above 1000 mg/kg body wt, the other plant extracts and the combined extract of the 5 plants were tolerated by mice up to 5000 mg/kg body wt. The brine shrimp test results showed the same pattern of toxicity with Ozoroa insignis being the most toxic (LC50 = 10.63 μg/ml). Phytochemical tests showed that the combined extract of the five plants contained tannins, saponins, steroids, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids and terpenoids. Flavonoids, tannins and terpenoids are known to have antioxidant activity.

Conclusion

The combined extract of the five plants exhibited a dose-dependent protective activity in the rat ethanol-HCl gastric ulcer model. The extracts also exhibited weak antibacterial activity against four Gram negative bacteria and low acute toxicity in mice and brine shrimps. Although the results support claims by traditional healers who use a decoction of the five plants for treatment of peptic ulcers, more models of gastric ulceration and proper animal toxicity studies are needed to validate possible clinical use of the polyherbal extract. It is also evident that the doses of the crude extracts showing protection of the gastric mucosa are too large for realistic translation to direct clinical application, but further studies using bioassay guided fractionation are important to either identify more practical fractions or active compound/s.

Keywords:
Ozoroa insignis; Maytenus senegalensis; Entada abyssinica; Lannea schimperi; Gastroprotection; Toxicity