Gastrointestial and respiratory activities of Acacia leucophloea

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Ethnopharmacological relevance: The barks of Acacia leucophloea (Fabaceae) are used in Pakistan traditional medicine as an astringent, a bitter, a thermogenic, a styptic, a preventive of infections, an anthelmintic, a vulnery, a demulcent, an expectorant, an antipyretic, an antidote for snake bites and in the treatment of bronchitis, cough, vomiting, wounds, ulcers, diarrhea, dysentery, internal and external hemorrhages, dental caries, stomatitis, and intermittent fevers and skin diseases. Materials and methods: A study was carried out for the possible elucidation of mechanisms justifying the traditional medicinal uses of A. leucophloea (Fabaceae) in gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. In vitro experiments were carried out over isolated rabbit jejunum and guinea-pig ileum in order to determine spasmolytic and bronchorelaxant activities, while in vivo studies were conducted in mice for antidiarrheal properties. Results: A methanol crude extract of barks of the plant caused a concentration-dependent relaxation (0.1-3 mg/ml) of isolated rabbit jejunum preparations in a pattern similar to that of nifedipine and dicyclomine, suggesting a Ca(2+) channel-blocking mechanism in addition to an anticholinergic effect. In guinea-pig ileum the extract caused a parallel shift in the Ach-curves without suppression of maximum contractile response, followed by a non-parallel shift with the suppression of maximum contractile response at higher concentration similar to that caused by dicyclomine. Moreover, in rabbit trachea, it also caused the relaxation of carbachol (1 mu M) and high K.-induced contractions at a dose ranging between 0.1578 and 0.734 mg/ml and 0.46-0.94 mg/ml, respectively. These findings indicate that the extract possesses spasmolytic and bronchodilator activities, mediated possibly through blockade of Ca2+ channels, thus justifying its medicinal use in diarrhea and asthma. Acacia leucophloea methanol extract exhibited dose-dependent (100-500 mg/ml) protective effect against castor oil induced diarrhea. Conclusions: The data obtained contribute to the validation of the traditional use of Acacia leucophloea bark in treating gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders, providing an hypothesis on the possible mechanisms of action.


Journal of Ethnopharmacology