Context: Althaea officinalis Linn. (Malvaideae) flower is commonly used in folk medicine in Lebanon and neighboring countries. Although most of the studies have been conducted on the mucilage-rich roots, little is known about the flower.
Objective: This study investigates the potential role of aqueous extract of Althaea officinalis flower in lipemia, gastric ulcer, inflammation, and platelet aggregation using the rat model.
Material and methods: Blood lipid profile and liver function were assessed after 1 month of extract intake via drinking water. Anti-inflammatory activity was tested against acute and chronic inflammation induced by carrageenan and formalin, respectively. Antiulcer activity was evaluated using ethanol-induced gastric ulcer. Antiplatelet activity was investigated in vitro using the adenosine 5'-diphosphate (ADP)-induced platelet aggregation bioassay.
Results: The 50 mg/kg body weight dose resulted in significant increase in serum HDL cholesterol level with no effects on stool cholesterol and triacylglycerol. Increasing the dose to 500 mg/kg body weight caused a significant decrease in stool water content. No adverse effect on liver enzymes was observed. Significant anti-inflammatory (acute and chronic inflammation) and antiulcerogenic activities were observed at all used doses (50, 100, and 250 mg/kg body). Time-dependent inhibition of platelet aggregation was demonstrated at 500 µg/ml concentration.
Discussion and conclusion: The aqueous extract of Althaea officinalis flower demonstrated potential benefits in lipemia, inflammation, gastric ulcer, and platelet aggregation with no visible adverse effect.