Medicinal plants in the treatment of diarrhea: A review of phytochemistry and pharmacology

O.S. Osuntokun, G. Olayiwola, O.A. Adalumo, O.S. Olaoluwa, R.O. Akomolafe , A.O. Ayoka


Background: Diarrhea is recognized and documented as one of the most important health problems, leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the developing countries, affecting mostly the children and infants. The various drug treatments available for diarrhea include the conventional drugs like loperamide, bismuth, subsalicylate and racecadotril. Various side effects (such as abdominal discomfort, dry mouth, nausea, constipation and headache) attributed to these synthetic drugs have stimulated a rapid and continuous growth of interest towards the use of herbal medicine for the treatment of diarrhea. In spite of numerous reports of herbal resources used traditionally in the treatment of diarrhea, most of them have not been scientifically validated for the claim because there is paucity of literature on the phytochemical properties and mechanisms of action of these plants. The aim of this review is to delineate various plants used for the treatment of diarrhea with their phytochemical properties and mechanisms of action in experimental animal models.
Methods: Literature search on various medicinal plants and mechanism of actions in the treatment of diarrhea was done and their findings were reviewed.
Results: It was evident from the literatures that many of these medicinal plants reviewed are potent antidiarrheal agent due to their different phytoconstituents.
Conclusion: This information will create a center of attention for scientists and consequently play a major role in future research and documentation of herbal resources inthetreatmentof diarrhea. However, Scientists are therefore encouraged to find out the mechanisms through which many these medicinal plants work.


Diarrhea;gastro-intestinal motility; medicinal plants; phytochemical constituents; animal models.

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