2008 Volume 44 Issue 6 Pages 195-207
The leaf of Psidium guajava Linn. (family: Myrtaceae) is used traditionally in African folk medicine to manage, control and/or treat a plethora of human ailments, including diarrhoea. In this study, we examined the antidiarrhoeal activity of Psidium guajava leaf aqueous extract (PGE) on experimentally-induced diarrhoea in rodents. PGE (50-400 mg/kg p.o.) produced dose-dependent and significant (P<0.05-0.01) protection of rats and mice against castor oil-induced diarrhoea, inhibited intestinal transit, and delayed gastric emptying. Like atropine (1 mg/kg, p.o.), PGE produced dose-dependent and significant (P<0.05-0.01) antimotility effect, and caused dose-related inhibition of castor oil-induced enteropooling in the animals. Like loperamide (10 mg/kg, p.o.), PGE dose-dependently and significantly (P<0.05-0.01) delayed the onset of castor oil-induced diarrhoea, decreased the frequency of defaecation, and reduced the severity of diarrhoea in the rodents. Compared with control animals, PGE dose-dependently and significantly (P<0.05-0.01) decreased the volume of castor oil-induced intestinal fluid secretion, and reduced the number, weight and wetness of faecal droppings. PGE also produced concentration-related and significant (P<0.05-0.01) inhibitions of the spontaneous, rhythmic, pendular contractions of the rabbit isolated duodenum. The findings of this study indicate that PGE possesses antidiarrhoeal activity, and thus lend pharmacological credence to the suggested folkloric use of the plant as a natural remedy for the treatment, management and/or control of diarrhoea in some rural communities of southern Africa.