Baccharis dracunculifolia DC (Asteraceae), a native plant from Brazil, commonly known as 'Alecrimdo-campo' is widely used in folk medicine to treat inflammation, hepatic disorders and stomach ulcers, and it is the most important botanical source of Southeastern Brazilian propolis, known as green propolis. Its essential oil is composed of non-oxygenated and oxygenated terpenes. In this work, the effects of the essential oil obtained from the aerial parts of B. dracunculifolia on gastric ulcers were evaluated. The antiulcer assays were undertaken using the following protocols in rats: nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced ulcer, ethanol-induced ulcer, stress-induced ulcer, and determination of gastric secretion using ligated pylorus. The treatment in the doses of 50, 250 and 500 mg/kg of B. dracunculifolia essential oil significantly diminished the lesion index, the total lesion area and the percentage of lesions in comparison with both positive and negative control groups. With regard to the model of gastric secretion a reduction of gastric juice volume and total acidity was observed, as well as an increase in the gastric pH. No sign of toxicity was observed in the acute toxicity study. Considering the results, it is suggested that the essential oil of B. dracunculifolia could probably be a good therapeutic agent for the development of new phytotherapeutic medicine for the treatment of gastric ulcer.
(c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.