Effect of moringa oleifera leaf extracts on the isolated rabbit heart and uterus
Ntulume, R. Davis
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Local communities, world over prevent and treat indigenous diseases using local herbal remedies. Moringa oleifera is one of the many plants used in herbal preparations in Uganda for treating numerous human ailments such as malnutrition, cardiovascular diseases and uterine conditions among others. Despite its wide use by communities around the world, there is inadequate scientific information available on the actual pharmacological effects of Moringa oleifera leaves on the heart and uterine muscles. Study Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of ether, ethanol and aqueous extracts of Moringa oleifera leaves on the isolated heart and uterine muscles. Methodology: Air dried Moringa oleifera leaves were pounded and crude extracts were prepared using ether, ethanol and distilled water as solvents. Stock solutions of the extracts were prepared using distilled water. Dimethylsulfoxide was used to facilitate dissolution of the ether extract. From the stock solutions, serial dilutions were prepared and applied to isolated rabbit heart and uterine muscles and the effect on the heart rate and contraction of the muscles was measured from kymograph recordings using a lagendorffâ s perfusion apparatus. The effects of the extracts were compared against standard solutions of acetylcholine, adrenaline, oxytocin and salbutamol. Results: All Moringa oleifera leaf extracts caused a reduction in the contractility of the heart muscle with ether causing -40%, ethanol -28.3% and aqueous extract -46.2%. The negative change observed in heart rate by ether was -5%, ethanol -23% and aqueous extract -9%. On the contractility of the uterine muscle, the aqueous extract caused a +240% change while the ether and ethanol extracts caused -100% and -36% change respectively. Conclusion: The aqueous, ethanol and ether extracts of Moringa oleifera leaves contain compounds that cause reduction in heart rate and relaxation of cardiac muscle and may have medical use in management of cardiac conditions like hypertension. The herb may also be used for obstetric conditions however pregnant women need to take the aqueous form of the herb with caution as it may cause contractions leading to miscarriages and abortions.