Momordica charantia Linn (Cucurbitaceae) is a medicinal herb, whose common name bitter melon, has been reported to possess antidiabetic property. However, its antidiarrhoeal potential is still unknown. The antidiarrhoeal activity of aqueous leaf extract of M. charantia (MC) was evaluated on castor oil-induced diarrhoea, gastrointestinal transit, intestinal fluid accumulation and gastric emptying in rats. The aqueous extract of the plant showed inhibitory activity against castor oil induced diarrhoea. A significant reduction (p< 0.05) in the gastrointestinal motility in charcoal meal test in rats was observed. The extract decreased volume of intestinal secretion induced by castor oil with a significant effect (p< 0.05) on the gastric emptying of the test animals compared to control rats. Inhibition of the gastrointestinal propulsion and fluid secretion by the extract suggest the extract might exert its antidiarrhoeal activity by antisecretory mechanism.
Key words: Anti-diarrhoeal, bitter melon, castor oil, fluid accumulation, gastrointestinal transit, Momordica charantia.
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