Document Type: Research article
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Persea americana is a plant used by traditional medicine practitioners to treat ailments including diarrhoea and diabetes mellitus in Nigeria. Hence, the chloroform and the methanol fractions of the chloroform-methanol extract of the leaves of P. americana were evaluated for their acute toxicity as well as anti-diarrhoeal effects in Wistar rats to substantiate this claim. The chloroform and methanol fractions [at graded doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg body weight (b.w) of each] were studied for their anti-diarrhoeal effects in terms of the reductions in the wetness of faeces and the frequency of defaecation of castor oil-induced diarrhoea. To understand the mechanism of their anti-diarrhoeal effects, their actions were further evaluated on castor oil-induced enteropooling (intestinal fluid accumulation). The median lethal dose (LD50) of the methanol fraction was found to be less than 5000 mg/kg b.w. At the two doses, the chloroform and the methanol fractions showed dose-dependent significant (p<0.05) reductions in the wetness of faeces and the frequency of defaecation with the 200 mg/kg b.w of the chloroform fraction being the most effective. Results of the fractions were comparable with those of the standard anti-diarrhoeal drug, hyoscine butylbromide (3 mg/kg b.w). Both fractions produced remarkable (p<0.05) dose-related inhibition of castor oil-induced enteropooling as shown by the significant (p<0.05) decreases in the weight and volume of the intestinal contents. Experimental findings show that the chloroform-methanol extract of the leaves of P. americana possesses significant anti-diarrhoeal effect and may be a potent source of anti-diarrhoeal drug(s) in future.