Background: Mareya micrantha (Benth.) Müll. Arg. (Euphorbiaceae) is a shrub that is commonly used in Côte d'Ivoire (West Africa) for the treatment of constipation and as an ocytocic drug. The present study was carried out to investigate the laxative activity of Mareya micrantha in albino's Wistar rats.
Methods: Rats were divided in 5 groups of 5 animals each, first group as control, second group served as standard (sodium picosulfate) while group 3, 4 and 5 were treated with leaf aqueous extract of Mareya micrantha at doses of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight (b.w.), per os respectively. The laxative activity was determined based on the weight of the faeces matter. The effects of the leaves aqueous extract of Mareya micrantha and castor oil were also evaluated on intestinal transit, intestinal fluid accumulation and ions secretion.
Results: Phytochemicals screening of the extract revealed the presence of flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, polyphenols, sterols and polyterpenes. The aqueous extract of Mareya micrantha applied orally (100, 200 and 400 mg/kg; p.o.), produced significant laxative activity and reduced loperamide induced constipation in dose dependant manner. The effect of the extract at 200 and 400 mg/kg (p.o.) was similar to that of reference drug sodium picosulfate (5 mg/kg, p.o). The same doses of the extract (200 and 400 mg/kg, p.o.) produced a significant increase (p < 0.01) of intestinal transit in comparison with castor oil (2 mL) (p < 0.01). Moreover, the extract induced a significant enteropooling and excretion of Cl-, Na+, K+ and Ca2+ in the intestinal fluid (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: The results showed that the aqueous extract of Mareya micrantha has a significant laxative activity and supports its traditional use in herbal medicine.