2012 Volume 48 Issue 2_3 Pages 37-45
Tridax procumbens is commonly used in traditional medicine in southern part of Nigeria for the treatment of hypertension. However, the mechanism of its antihypertensive properties remains unclear. Attempts were made to investigate the properties of direct actions of aqueous extract of the leaves of T. procumbens on mechanical responses of smooth muscles in aortic ring preparations isolated from the rat. Endothelium-intact aortic rings, isolated from the normotensive rats, had been pre-contracted with noradrenaline, and cumulative addition of the aqueous extract (0.15–1.05 mg/mL) to the bathing fluid induced a concentration-dependent relaxation. Aqueous extract of T. procumbens also attenuated the contractile responses to KCl and shifted the concentration-response curve to the right. The contractile responses to serotonin were also attenuated and the concentration-response curve was shifted to the right in the presence of the extract. The results of this study indicated that aqueous leaf extract of T. procumbens possesses vasodilatory effects on the aortic smooth muscles isolated from the rat. Based on these results, a possible mechanism involved in the relaxing actions of the extract on vascular smooth muscle was discussed. The results of this study may provide a scientific basis for the use of this extract to the treatment of hypertension in Nigerian traditional medicine.