Role of laxative and antioxidant properties of Malva sylvestris leaves in constipation treatment

Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 May:89:29-35. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.02.020. Epub 2017 Feb 17.


Introduction: Mallaw (Malva sylvestris L.) is a medicinal plant who is traditionally being used as an antiulcer, laxative and anti-hemorrhoid, besides of its culinary use as a food in Tunisian cuisine. The present study was carried out to evaluate the protective effect of Malva sylvestris aqueous extract (MSAE) on constipation- induced by loperamide in male Wistar rats.

Methods: Rats were divided into six groups of six animals each: Control, Loperamide (LOP), LOP+ yohimbine (2mg/kg b.w, i.p.) and LOP+ various doses of MSAE (100, 200 and 400mg/kg b.w, p.o.). The laxative activity was determined based on the weight, frequency and water content of the feces matter. The effects of MSAE were also evaluated on normal gastric emptying and gastro-intestinal transit as well as loperamide-induced serum metabolic parameters changes and colon oxidative stress.

Results: The MSAE (100, 200 and 400mg/kg; b.w, p.o.), significantly reduced loperamide-induced constipation in a dose-dependent manner. Our extract improves also the gastrointestinal motility, mitigates colon lipid peroxidation and H2O2 colon overload, preserve normal antioxidant enzymes activities and non-enzymatic antioxidant levels, as well as provides stability of lipid profile, hepatic (AST and ALT) and renal (urea and creatinine) levels changed by loperamide intoxication.

Conclusion: We suggests in the present work that MSAE had a potent effect against Loperamide- induced constipation through in part to an increase of gastrointestinal motility, astimulation of water intestinal secretion as well as its antioxidant properties.

Keywords: Constipation; Gastrointestinal motility; Lipid peroxidation; Loperamide; MSAE.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Constipation / chemically induced
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Feces
  • Gastric Emptying / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / drug effects
  • Laxatives / therapeutic use*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Loperamide
  • Male
  • Malva / chemistry*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Laxatives
  • Plant Extracts
  • Loperamide