A.O.T Ashafa, TO Sunmonu, AA Abass, AA Ogbe
Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2011 2(3):158-162
Background: Constipation is a highly prevalent and often chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder affecting humans irrespective of race and color exposing victims to colorectal cancer. The present study evaluated the efficacy of the ethanolic leaf extract of Aloe vera against loperamide-induced constipation in rats. Materials and Methods: Rats were constipation induced by the oral administration of loperamide (3 mg/kg body weight) while the control animals received normal saline. Constipated rats were treated with 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg body weight/day of the ethanolic leaf extract for 7 days during which the feeding characteristics, body weight, fecal properties, and gastrointestinal transit ratio were monitored. Results: Treatment of constipated rats with the extract at 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg body weight for 7 days improved intestinal motility, increased fecal volume, and normalized body weight in the constipated rats. These are indications of the 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 favorably well with Gaviscon, a standard laxative drug. These findings have therefore lent scientific support to the use of the herb as a laxative agent in Nigerian folkloric medicine.