Year : 2009  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 54-56 Table of Contents     

Gastroprotective effect of medicinal plants from Chapada do Araripe, Brazil

1 Technology Sciences Centre, State University of Ceará, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
2 Vice-Rectory of Research and Post-Graduation, Fortaleza University, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil

Correspondence Address:
Adriana Rolim Campos
Vice-Rectory of Research and Post-Graduation, Fortaleza University, Fortaleza, CE
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DOI: 10.4103/0975-1483.51881

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Gastric ulcer is a serious gastrointestinal disorder that requires a well targeted therapeutic strategy. A number of drugs are available for the treatment of gastric ulcer, but clinical evaluation has shown incidence of relapses, side effects, and drug interactions. The search for novel molecules has been extended to herbal drugs that offer better protection and decreased relapse. The essential oils from Croton zehntneri (EOCZ) and Vanillosmopsis arborea (EOVA), the oil from Caryocar coriaceum pulp (OCC), the latex from Himatanthus drasticus (LHD), and the extract from Stryphnodendron rotundifolium (ESR) obtained from Chapada do Araripe, Cearα (Brazil) have been evaluated for cytoprotetive activity on ethanol-induced ulcer formation in mice. EOCZ, EOVA, OCC, and ESR were administrated by gavage at doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg and LDH, by the same way, at 0.2 and 0.4 mL/animal (n=8). Following 60 min, mice were given 0.2 mL of ethanol (96%) by gavage. Thirty minutes after the administration of ethanol, all groups were sacrificed and the gastric ulcer index was calculated by planimetry. Preliminary results suggest that all the plants tested showed significant activity. EOVA (6.47±1.91%*), OCC (8.86±2.45%*) and ESR (1.50±0.30%**) were the most active. Data are expressed as mean±s.e.m. of the lesioned area (%) and were analyzed by ANOVA and Student-Newman-Keul´s test (* P <0.05 and ** P <0.01 vs. control). Phytochemical screening showed the presence of tannins, terpenes, and essential fatty acids, thus suggesting that these substances may be involved in the observed antiulcer activity.

Keywords: Croton zehntneri, Vanillosmopsis arborea, Caryocar coriaceum, Himatanthus drasticus, Stryphnodendron rotundifolium, gastroprotection

How to cite this article:
Leite Gd, Penha AS, da Silva GQ, Colares AV, Rodrigues FG, Costa JG, Cardoso AL, Campos AR. Gastroprotective effect of medicinal plants from Chapada do Araripe, Brazil. J Young Pharmacists 2009;1:54-6

How to cite this URL:
Leite Gd, Penha AS, da Silva GQ, Colares AV, Rodrigues FG, Costa JG, Cardoso AL, Campos AR. Gastroprotective effect of medicinal plants from Chapada do Araripe, Brazil. J Young Pharmacists [serial online] 2009 [cited 2014 Apr 20];1:54-6. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Plant extracts are attractive sources of new drugs and have been shown to produce promising results in the treatment of gastric ulcers. [1] The pathogenesis of gastroduodenal ulcers are influenced by various aggressive and defensive factors, such as acid-pepsin secretion, mucosal barrier, mucus secretion, blood flow, cellular regeneration, and endogenous protective agents (prostaglandins and epidermal growth factor). [2] Gastric ulcers are caused due to imbalances between offensive and defensive factors of the gastric mucosa. [3] Oral administration of absolute ethanol in rats is noxious for the stomach, affecting the gastric mucosa topically by disrupting its barrier and provoking pronounced microvascular changes a few minutes after its application. Thus, rapid and strong vasoconstriction is accompanied by rapid and vigorous arteriolar dilation and this combination of microvascular events induces damage in the mucosal capillaries. [4],[5]

Natural medicinal products have been used for millennia for the treatment of multiple aliments. Although many have been superseded by conventional pharmaceutical approaches, there is currently a resurgence of interest in the use of natural bioactive products by the general public, with many healthy subjects and patients taking them for the prevention and treatment of multiple conditions, including gastrointestinal disorders and postoperative recovery. [6] Unfortunately, current evidence of the scientific validity of many of these traditional and commercial compounds is severely limited. [7]

In order to validate the medicinal properties of Croton zehntneri, Vanillosmopsis arborea, Caryocar coriaceum, Himatanthus drasticus, and Stryphnodendron rotundifolium , we investigated the anti-ulcerogenic effects in a model of gastric ulcers induced by alcohol in mice.

  Materials and Methods Top

Plant Material

Croton zehntneri leaves, Vanillosmopsis arborea bark, Caryocar coriaceum fruit pulp, Himatanthus drasticus latex, and Stryphnodendron rotundifolium leaves were collected from Chapada do Araripe, Cearα State, Brazil. The essential oils were obtained by hydrodistillation and dried and the powdered stem bark of S. rotundifolium was extracted with EtOH.


Experiments were performed in male Swiss mice (20-25 g) obtained from the Central Animal House of Regional University of Cariri. They were housed at 22 ± 2 o C under a 12 h light/12 h dark cycle and had free access to a standard pellet diet (Purina Chow) and tap water. For experiments, the animals were deprived of food for 12h but allowed free access to water. The experimental protocol was approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee of this University in accordance with the guidelines for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Ethanol-Induced Gastric damage

The gastroprotective activity was accessed by the method of Robert, et al . [8] After 12 h of food deprivation, groups of animals (n = 8) were orally given EOCZ, EOVA, OCC, and ESR (200 and 400 mg/kg), or LDH (0.2 and 0.4 mL/animal) or vehicle (tap water 10 mL/kg, control). One hour after, each animal was orally given 0.2 mL of ethanol (96%) and the animals were killed 30 min later. Their stomachs were excised, opened along the greater curvature, rinsed with saline (0.9%), and the mucosal lesion area (mm 2 ) was measured by planimetry with a transparent grid (1 mm 2 area) placed on the glandular mucosal surface and was expressed in percentage (%) in relation to the total area of the stomach. The results were expressed as mean±s.e.m and the statistical significance was assessed using one-way analysis of variance ANOVA followed by Student-Newman-Keul´s test. P values of less than 0.05 were considered to indicate a significant difference between means.

  Results and Discussion Top

In the recent past, several reports documented the gastroprotective activity of latex, constituents that include flavonoids, oleo-resins, terpenes, xanthones, saponins, alkaloids, and tannins. [9] Administration of absolute ethanol to fasted mice resulted in severe gastric damage visible from the outside of the stomach as thick reddish-black lines. In the present study, we have indicated that all plants studied have an effective anti-ulcer activity against ethanol-induced gastric ulcers [Table 1]. The gastric protective effect of the extract may be related to an antacid effect or cytoprotective properties of the plants. [10] It is possible that the inhibitory effect of the plants is due, at least partly, to the presence of tannins, terpenes, and fatty acids since these compounds were associated with anti-ulcerogenic activity in other plants. [11],[12],[13] In addition, such results justify the traditional use of Croton zehntneri , Vanillosmopsis arborea , Caryocar coriaceum, Himatanthus drasticus, and Stryphnodendron rotundifolium . Furthermore, it also supports some of the phytochemical and pharmacological investigation of these plants carried out by many researchers. The results suggest that traditional folk medicine could be used as a guide in our continuing search for new natural products with potential medicinal properties.

  Acknowledgements Top

The authors are grateful to CNPq, CAPES, and FUNCAP for financial support and research fellowships.

  References Top

1.Akthar MS, Munir M. Evaluation of antiulcerogenic effect of Solanum nigrum, Brassica olerceae and Ocimum basilicum in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1989;27:163-76.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Salas Coll C. Fundamentos fisiopatológicos para el tratamiento de la úlcera pιptica. G E N 1990;44:180-90.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Sudjarwo SA. Gastroprotective effect of curcumine on ethanol-induced gastric mucosal lesions in rats. Folia Med Indonesiana 2005;41:85-9.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Ko JK, Cho CH, Ogle CW. The vagus nerve and its non-cholinergic mechanism in the modulation of ethanolinduced gastric mucosal damage in rats. J Pharm Pharmacol 1994;46:29-33.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Glavin GB, Szabo, S. Experimental gastric mucosal injury: laboratory models reveal mechanisms of pathogenesis and new therapeutic strategies. FASEB J 1992;6:825-31.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Ghosh S, Playford RJ. Bioactive natural compounds for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Clin Sci (Lond)2003;104:547-56.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Salim AS. Removing oxygen-derived free radicals stimulates healing of ethanol-induced erosive gastritis in the rat. Digestion 1990;47:24-8.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Robert A, Nezamis JE, Lancaster C, Hanchar AJ. Cytoprotection by prostaglandins in rats. Prevention of gastric necrosis produced by alcohol, HCl, NaOH, hypertonic NaCl and thermal injury. Gastroenterology 1979;77:433-43.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.De Olinda TM, Lemos TL, Machado LL, Rao VS, Santos FA. Quebrachitol-induced gastroprotection against acute gastric lesions: role of prostaglandins, nitric oxide and K+ ATP channels. Phytomedicine 2008;15:327-33.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Naseri MKG, Mard SA. Gastroprotective effect of Alhagi maurorum on exprimental gastric ulcer in rats. Pak J Med Sci 2007;23:570-3.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Campos AR, Barros AI, Santos FA, Rao VS. Guarana (Paullinia cupana Mart.) offers protection against gastric lesions induced by ethanol and indomethacin in rats. Phytother Res 2003;17:1199-202.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Hiruma-Lima CA, Gracioso JS, Toma W, Almeida AB, Paula ACB, Brasil DS, et al . Gastroprotective effect of aparisthman, a diterpene isolated from Aparisthmium cordatum, on experimental gastric ulcer models in rats and mice. Phytomedicine 2001;8:94-100.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Sehirli O, Tatlidede E, Yüksel M, Erzik C, Cetinel S, Yeπen BC, Sener G. Antioxidant effect of alpha-lipoic acid against ethanol-induced gastric mucosal erosion in rats. Pharmacol 2008;81:173-80.  Back to cited text no. 13    


  [Table 1]

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