Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic effects of Rhus chirindensis (Baker F.) [Anacardiaceae] stem-bark aqueous extract in mice and rats

John A O Ojewole
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2007 September 5, 113 (2): 338-45
In an attempt to scientifically evaluate some of the anecdotal, folkloric, ethnomedical uses of Rhus chirindensis Baker F. ('red currant'), the present study was undertaken to investigate the analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic effects of the plant's stem-bark aqueous extract (RCE) in mice and rats. The analgesic effect of RCE was evaluated by 'hot-plate' and 'acetic acid' analgesic test methods in mice; while its anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic effects were investigated in rats, using fresh egg albumin-induced pedal oedema, and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes mellitus animal models. Morphine (MPN, 10 mg/kg), diclofenac (DIC, 100 mg/kg) and chlorpropamide (250 mg/kg) were used as reference drugs for comparison. RCE (50-800 mg/kg i.p.) produced dose-dependent, significant (P<0.05-0.001) analgesic effects against thermally- and chemically-induced nociceptive pain in mice. The plant's extract (RCE, 50-800 mg/kg p.o.) also significantly (P<0.05-0.001) inhibited fresh egg albumin-induced acute inflammation, and caused dose-related, significant (P<0.05-0.001) hypoglycaemia in normal (normoglycaemic) and diabetic (hyperglycaemic) rats. The flavonoids, triterpenoids and other chemical compounds present in RCE are speculated to account for the observed pharmacological effects of the plant's extract in the experimental animal paradigms used. The findings of this experimental animal study indicate that Rhus chirindensis stem-bark aqueous extract possesses analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic properties; and thus lend pharmacological credence to the anecdotal, folkloric, ethnomedical uses of the plant in the treatment and/or management of painful, arthritic, inflammatory conditions, as well as in the management and/or control of type 2 diabetes mellitus in some rural communities of South Africa.

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