Pharmacological evaluation of aqueous extract of Althaea officinalis flower grown in Lebanon

Pharm Biol. 2011 Mar;49(3):327-33. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2010.516754. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Althaea*
  • Animals
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Edema / metabolism
  • Flowers*
  • Lebanon
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Stomach Ulcer / metabolism


  • Plant Extracts