Ozolua RI, Saba AO, Uwaya DO, Abelega N and Oghuvwu SO
Background: The seeds of Garcinia kola Heckel (Guttiferrae) are widely eaten in West Africa for cultural and ethnomedicinal reasons including cough suppression and body fat reduction. We prepared a 70% ethanol extract and designed experiments to investigate the antitussive and anti-hypercholesterolemic effects. Methods: For the antitussive investigations, guinea pigs were exposed to 7.5% citric acid aerosol in a chamber and cough bouts were counted after acute doses of the extract. Mucus expectoration was evaluated in mice after administering the extract for seven days by measuring the concentration of phenol red dye released from mouse trachea. Hypercholesterolemia was induced and doses of the extract were administered for 14 days. Results: Single doses of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg (p.o.) significantly (p<0.01) and dose-dependently suppressed cough bouts by 67, 78 and 92% respectively when compared cough bouts exhibited before treatment. The dose of 400 mg/kg was slightly but not significantly superior to the standard drug dihydrocodeine (84%) in cough suppression. The extract administered daily for 7 days also significantly (p<0.05) reduced concentration of phenol red released from mouse trachea in comparison with control. At 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg/day for 14 days, extract like 5 mg/kg simvastatin significantly (p<0.0001) attenuated the increase in plasma cholesterol level but only doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg/day significantly blunted increase in body weight compared to cholesterol treated rats. Conclusion: The extract possesses antitussive effect and attenuates hypercholesterolemia thereby lending credence to its ethnomedicinal uses.