Acacia nilotica

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Acacia nilotica belongs to the family Fabaceae. Its bark has been traditionally used to treat a series of conditions including colds, diarrhoea and leprosy. It has also been used to manage haemorrhages. For these uses,the bark is usually powdered and then taken as a concoction. Furthermore, gum obtained from the plant as an exudate has been applied pharmaceutically as a suspending and emulsifying agent.

The aim of this study was to investigate the antidiarrhoeal activity of a methanolic extract of the bark of Acacia nilotica. The methanolic extract was tested in an ex vivo set up of a guinea pig ileum. The preparation was set up in an organ bath containing aerated Tyrode solution. The effect of the extract on the motility and tone of the ileum was then compared with that of atropine which was used as the positive control and acetylcholine which was used as the negative control.

The results were presented in the form of UgoBasile recorder tracings showing the comparative spasmolytic effects of the methanolic extract of Acacia nilotica bark, atropine and acetylcholine on a spontaneously contracting isolated guinea pig ileum preparation. Phytochemical tests were also carried out to determine the compounds present in the bark of Acacianilotica. The results of these tests were presented in a tabular form.

From the phytochemical tests carried out, it was found out that the Acacia nilotica bark contained tannins, phenols, saponins and cardiac glycosides. In the pharmacological test, the methanolic extract exhibited relaxant activity on the guinea pig ileum with maximum activity observed at a concentration of 1600 µg/ml.

From the results obtained, it was concluded that Acacia nilotica bark has spasmolytic activity. This study could therefore form a solid starting point for further research on the same with a view of developing formulations that could be used to manage diarrhoea. Indeed, the results support the use of the aqueous extract from the Acacia nilotica bark by the traditional herbalists in controlling diarrhoea.

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