Ethnopharmacological relevance: Matricaria recutita L. (Chamomile) has been widely used in the Tunisian traditional medicine for the treatment of digestive system disorders. The present work aims to investigate the protective effects of chamomile decoction extract (CDE) against castor oil-induced diarrhea and oxidative stress in rats.
Methods: The antidiarrheal activity was evaluated using castor oil-induced diarrhea method. In this respect, rats were divided into six groups: Control, Castor oil, Castor oilþLoperamide (LOP) and Castor oilþvarious doses of CDE. Animals were per orally (p.o.) pre-treated with CDE during 1 h and intoxicated for 2 or 4 h by acute oral administration of castor oil.
Results: Our results showed that CDE produced a significant dose-dependent protection against castor oil-induced diarrhea and intestinal fluid accumulation. On the other hand, we showed that diarrhea was accompagned by an oxidative stress status assessed by an increase of malondialdehyde (MDA) level and depletion of antioxidant enzyme activities as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). Castor oil also increased gastric and intestinal mucosa hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and free iron levels. Importantly, we showed that chamomile pre-treatment abrogated all these biochemical alterations.
Conclusion: These findings suggested that chamomile extract had a potent antidiarrheal and antioxidant properties in rats confirming their use in traditional medicine.