Struchium sparganophora (L.) Ktze (Asteraceae) is one of the vegetables equally consumed for medicinal purposes in the South Western part of Nigeria where it is used to treat a range of infections. The ethnomedical claimed use of the plant as an abortifacient crude drug was investigated on diethylstilboestrol treated rats. The methanol extract and its aqueous, and chloroform fractions were tested at the concentrations of 10 to 160 mg/ml corresponding to final bath concentrations (FBC) of 200 to 3200 µg/ml. The activities of the extract were also examined in the presence of oxytocin, acetylcholine, salbutamol and atropine. At a concentration of 10 mg/ml, the extract induced uterine contraction equivalent to 0.96 ± 0.23 g force which increased to 1.98 ± 0.07g at a concentration of 160 mg/ml. The aqueous fraction produced maximum contraction of 0.88 ± 0.33 g at the highest concentration while the chloroform fraction was inactive. While simultaneous administration of 0.008 µg/ml oxytocin or 0.004 µg/ml acetylcholine augmented the contractile effects of the extract, its activities were significantly attenuated in the presence of 1 µg salbutamol or 2 µg atropine. The results showed that the leaves of S. sparganophora have contractile effects on the uterus and partial separation of the constituents did not enhance the activities. The effects are probably mediated through the activation of the oxytocin and muscarinic receptors.
Key words: Struchium sparganophora, methanol extract, uterine contraction.
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