Context: The water extract of Boswellia sacra Flueck. (Burseraceae) is used in the treatment of gastric and hepatic disorders in the Arab countries.
Objective: The effect of Boswellia sacra water extract on gastric secretion and experimentally induced gastric ulcers in rats was studied.
Materials and methods: Acetic acid-induced chronic gastric ulcers, pylorus ligation, aspirin-induced, ethanol-induced, and restraint plus cold stress-induced gastric ulcer models were employed. The effect on normal rats was also studied. The water extract of B. sacra was administered orally at doses of 2 and 5 ml/kg once daily ranging from single dose to 30 d treatment depending on the model. The extract was subjected to GC-MS analysis to determine the presence of various phytoconstituents.
Results: Boswellia sacra water extract (5 ml/kg, p.o (per os)) aggravated acetic acid-induced chronic ulcers, wherein an increase in ulcer index (p < 0.01) and ulcer score (p < 0.05) was observed. In pylorus-ligated rats, the extract increased gastric content volume (p < 0.01), free acidity (p < 0.01), total acidity (p < 0.01), ulcer index (p < 0.01), and pepsin activity (p < 0.05). There was no significant effect on the development of ethanol-induced and aspirin-induced ulcers while an increase in the development of stress-induced ulcers was observed (p < 0.01). The extract did not produce any ulcers when administered to normal rats. The dose of 2 ml/kg was less proulcerogenic compared with 5 ml/kg. The GC-MS analysis revealed the presence of several phytoconstituents that included menthol, 3-cyclohexen-1-ol, and octanoic acid.
Conclusion: Boswellia sacra water extract has proulcerogenic activity due to its gastric hypersecretory effect.
Keywords: Gastric cytoprotection; gastric secretion; ulcer index; volatile oils.