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Antiasthmatic potential of aqueous extract of Cassia occidentalis
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by the fibrosis of the airways, hyperplasia and hypertrophy of smooth muscle cells and mucus secretary cells due to infiltration of activated eosinophils and activation of mast cells and lymphocytes. Various traditional medicinal plants have been used in folk medicine to treat a wide range of physical ailments such as asthma and bronchitis. Cassia occidentalis L. (Caesalpiniaceae) leaf juice is traditionally used for the treatment of the respiratory tract ailments and is well-known drug in Ayurvedic and Unani system of medicine. This plant is abundant in the region of North Maharashtra commonly known as Kasmardan. Since no scientific studies have been carried out on the leaf the present study evaluates the antiasthmatic activity an aqueous extract of C. occidentalis (COAE) on in vitro and in vivo animal models. In vitro studies carried out on histamine- induced contraction in isolated goat tracheal chain and in vivo studies on milk- induced eosinophilia, mast cell degranulation and capillary permeability in mice (n=5). The results showed that aqueous extract of C. occidentalis inhibited the contractile effect of histamine (P<0.05). A dose dependent contraction of goat tracheal chain is observed. Treatment with COAE (200mg/ kg, i.p.) decreased eosinophilia by 71% while mast cells were protected 66% from degranulation as compared to control group. Also, COAE decreased capillary permeability by 69% in mice was evident from its effect on optical density of the dye. Thus, COAE showed antihistaminic, mast cell stabilizing and decreasing capillary permeability effect and hence possesses potential role in the treatment of asthma.