Arctium lappa L. (A. lappa L) is an important medicinal plant used in Brazil to heal gastric ulcers. This study reveals the pharmacological action of this traditional medicine use. The aqueous extract obtained from the liquid-liquid partition of the 70% ethanol extract of the A. lappa was challenged against in vivo Hydrochloric acid (HCl)/ethanol-, piroxicam- and cold restrained stress-induced gastric ulcer, and pylorus ligation assays. NO-synthase inhibitor N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) and SH blocker (N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) were used to evaluate the participation of cytoprotective factors in ALT gastroprotection. Antiulcerogenic action of A. lappa L was evaluated in mice at doses of 50, 100 or 200 mg/kg. A. lappa L showed elevated gastroprotective action in all in vivo experimental models, but did not interfere with gastric secretion. The mechanisms involved in the gastroprotective action of A. lappa L are related to mucosal protector factors, such as nitric oxide (NO) and sulfhydryl (SH) compounds. This species is a promising herbal drug due to its effectiveness in the gastroprotection, which is in accordance with an ethnopharmacological use against gastric ulcers.
Key words: Arctium lappa L, gastric ulcer, gastroprotection.
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