An Ethiopian ethnomedicine shows potential as a natural anti-diarrheal drug

Broad-leaved croton (Croton macrostachyus Hochst.ex Del.) is believed in Ethiopian folklore medicine to have antidiarrheal activity. A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine aimed to find scientific evidence of the plant’s antidiarrheal activity.

  • Researchers from Ambo University and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia used castor oil to induce diarrhea in mice.
  • The researchers used aqueous, chloroform, and methanol leaf extracts of the broad-leaved croton plant for the study.
  • The mice in the study were randomly divided into three treatment groups and two controls.
  • One of the control groups served as the negative control, while the other served as the positive control and was treated with standard drugs for diarrhea.
  • The treatment groups received different doses of the fractions: 300, 400, 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) for the chloroform and methanol fractions; and an additional dose of 1000 mg/kg for the aqueous fraction.
  • Results revealed that only the chloroform and methanol extracts caused significant anti-diarrheal activity.
  • In the castor oil-induced model, the chloroform and methanol extracts at doses of 400 and 500 mg/kg substantially delayed the onset of diarrhea and reduced stool frequency and weight of feces.
  • The chloroform extract demonstrated anti-motility effect at all doses, while the methanol extract displayed anti-motility effect at the 400 mg/kg dose.
  • Nonetheless, the aqueous extract exhibited significant anti-motility effect at the dose of 1000 mg/kg.
  • The antidiarrheal benefits of the broad-leaved croton extract could be attributed to its bioactive components, such as tannins, alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, steroids, and terpenoids.

Overall, the study suggested that the chloroform and methanol extracts of broad-leaved croton leaves exhibited significant anti-diarrheal activity.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Degu A, Engidawork E, Shibeshi W. EVALUATION OF THE ANTI-DIARRHEAL ACTIVITY OF THE LEAF EXTRACT OF CROTON MACROSTACHYUS HOCSHT. EX DEL. (EUPHORBIACEAE) IN MICE MODEL. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 29 September 2016; 16(379). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1357-9

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