Gastroprotective activity of essential oil of the Syzygium aromaticum and its major component eugenol in different animal models.
Syzygium aromaticum, a medicinal plant commonly known as clove, is used to treat toothache, respiratory disorders, inflammation, and gastrointestinal disorders. From the flower buds of S. aromaticum, it is possible to obtain an essential oil comprised of a mixture of aliphatic and cyclic volatile terpenes and phenylpropanoids, being eugenol as the main component. The aims of this study were: (1) to extract the essential oil of the flower buds of S. aromaticum, (2) to identify and quantify the main component of the essential oil, and (3) to evaluate its antiulcer activity using different animal models. Assays were performed using the following protocols in rats: indomethacin-induced and ethanol/HCl-induced ulcer model. Both essential oils from S. aromaticum and eugenol displayed antiulcer activities in the rat models of indomethacin- and ethanol-induced ulcer. Studies focusing on the possible mechanisms of gastroprotection were also undertaken using the following experiments: evaluation of gastric secretion by the pylorus-ligated model, determination of mucus in gastric content, participation of nitric oxide (NO) and endogenous sulfhydryl in gastric protection. The results show that there was no significant effect on the volume of gastric juice and total acidity. However, the quantification of free gastric mucus showed that the clove oil and eugenol were capable of significantly enhancing mucus production. With regard to the NO and endogenous sulfhydryls, the results demonstrated that the gastroprotection induced by clove oil and eugenol are not related to the activities of the nitric oxide and endogenous sulfhydryls. No sign of toxicity was observed in the acute toxicity study. In conclusion, the results of this study show that essential oil of S. aromaticum, as well as its main component (eugenol), possesses antiulcer activity. The data suggest that the effectiveness of the essential oil and eugenol is based on its ability to stimulate the synthesis of mucus, an important gastroprotective factor. However, further pharmacological and toxicological investigations are required to enable its use for the treatment of gastric ulcer.
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