The effect of Aloe ferox Mill. in the treatment of loperamide-induced constipation in Wistar rats

BMC Gastroenterol. 2010 Aug 19:10:95. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-10-95.


Background: Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint all over the world and it is a risk factor of colorectal cancer. In this study, the efficacy of aqueous leaf extract of Aloe ferox Mill. was studied against loperamide-induced constipation in Wistar rats.

Methods: Constipation was induced by oral administration of loperamide (3 mg/kg body weight) while the control rats received normal saline. The constipated rats were treated with 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg body weight/day of the extract for 7 days during which the feeding characteristics, body weight, fecal properties and gastrointestinal transit ratio were monitored.

Results: The extract improved intestinal motility, increased fecal volume and normalized body weight in the constipated rats, which are indications of laxative property of the herb with the 200 mg/kg body weight of the extract showing the best efficacy.

Conclusion: The effect of the extract compares favourably well with senokot, a standard laxative drug. These findings have therefore, lent scientific credence to the folkloric use of the herb as a laxative agent by the people of the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aloe*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cathartics / pharmacology
  • Cathartics / therapeutic use
  • Constipation / chemically induced*
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Feces
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects
  • Loperamide / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Leaves*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Senna Extract / pharmacology
  • Senna Extract / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cathartics
  • Plant Extracts
  • Loperamide
  • Senna Extract