African Journal of Biotechnology

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Anti-motility and reductions in the concentrations of gut electrolytes: Mechanisms for the anti-spasmodic use of the seeds of avocado (Persea americana Mill) in folk medicine

Christian E Odo, Okwesili FC Nwodo, Parker E Joshua, Yusuf S Omeh, Christopher C Okonkwo, Ajiroghene S Gometi, Paul C Nweje-Anyalowu, Dickson I Dickson


The seeds of avocado (Persea americana Mill) are used in traditional medicine to treat, allay or prevent some spasm-related disorders, for instance, diarrhoea. The chloroform and methanol fractions of the chloroform-methanol extract of the seeds of P. americana were investigated for their qualitative and quantitative phytochemical constituents as well as effects on gastro-intestinal motility (transit) and castor oil-induced intestinal fluid sodium ion (Na+) and potassium ion (K+) concentrations in Wistar rats. The qualitative and quantitative phytochemical studies of the chloroform and methanol fractions showed the presence and amounts of alkaloids (2.92 ± 0.14 g/100 g and 2.81 ± 0.08 g/100 g respectively), flavonoids (3.43 ± 0.19 g/100 g and 3.11 ± 0.16 g/100 g, respectively), tannins (2.64 ± 0.13 g/100 g and 2.85 ± 0.14 g/100 g, respectively), steroids (1.51 ± 0.07 g/100 g and 1.27 ± 0.04 g/100 g, respectively), saponins (2.35 ± 0.08 % and 2.47 ± 0.09%, respectively), terpenoids, proteins and carbohydrates in both fractions. Fats and oil were present only in the chloroform fraction. At the two doses (100 and 200 mg/kg body weight), the chloroform and methanol fractions produced significant (p<0.05) and dose-related decreases in the gastro-intestinal motility and concentration of the intestinal fluid potassium ions but only the chloroform fraction at the dose of 200 mg/kg body weight significantly (p<0.05) decreased the concentration of the intestinal fluid sodium ions. Results of the fractions were comparable with those of the standard anti-diarrhoeal drug, hyoscine butylbromide (3 mg/kg body weight). The results indicate that the chloroform-methanol extract of the seeds of P. americana contains compounds with anti-spasmodic effect.

Keywords: Persea americana, spasm-related, castor oil, gastro-intestinal motility and electrolytes

African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 12(37), pp. 5610-5617

AJOL African Journals Online