Diuretic activity and toxicity of some Verbascum nigrum extracts and fractions
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CONTEXT: Verbascum nigrum L. (Scrophulariaceae) is a perennial plant used in folk medicine for the treatment of kidney diseases due to its presumable diuretic properties. OBJECTIVE: We investigated the diuretic activity and toxicity of extracts from different parts of V. nigrum and identified a group of compounds responsible for the biological effect. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Five ethanol extracts from herb, roots, flowers, leaves and stems as well as five fractions of polar compounds isolated from herb of V. nigrum were orally administrated as a single dose of 50 mg/kg to rats. Urinary excretion and electrolyte content were measured at 3 and 6 h after the treatment. The acute toxicity of the V. nigrum extracts and fractions was evaluated in mice.RESULTS: All extracts, except the one prepared from the roots, showed a significant increase of the urine output within first 3 h after their administration. The extract from stems was the most active, inducing urine output of 14.6 ± 0.8 ml/kg BW versus 5.2 ± 1.4 ml/kg BW of the control. It also demonstrated saluretic activity with a natriuretic index 4.1 and a kaliuretic index 3.8. The diuretic activity was correlated with the flavonoid content in the plant organs. Flavonoid fractions demonstrated significant activity; the higher content of flavonoids (expressed as hesperidin) translated into more pronounced diuretic (35.9 ± 2.1 ml/kg BW) and saluretic effects (natriuretic index 4.5 and kaliuretic index 5.4). CONCLUSION: The diuretic activity of traditionally used V. nigrum was validated experimentally. The pharmacological effect was attributed to flavonoids, which accumulated in aerial parts of the plant, mainly in stems.
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