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Ethnobotanical claims regarding Kigelia africana reported antiulcer properties as part of its medicinal application. In this work, aqueous leaf extract from K. africana was investigated for its phytochemical constituents and antiulcer potential against ethanol-induced ulcer in rats. The participation of oxidative stress on ethanol-induced ulcer and the potential protective antioxidant activity of K. africana extracts were investigated by determining vitamin C and thiobarbituric acid reactive species (TBARS) contents in the gastric mucosa of rats. The HPLC analysis showed the presence of gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and also the flavonoids rutin, quercetin and kaempferol in the aqueous plant extract. Oral treatment with K. africana extract (1.75; 3.5; 7 and 14 mg/kg) one hour after ulcer induction with ethanol decreased in a dose dependent manner the ulcer index. Ethanol increased significantly stomachal TBARS levels and decreased vitamin C content when compared to the control animals. K. africana blunted the ethanol-induced oxidative stress and restored vitamin C content to the control levels. The present results indicate that the aqueous leaf extract from K. africana possesses antiulcer potential. The presence of flavonoids in plant extract suggests that its antiulcerogenic potential is associated with antioxidant activity. Of particular therapeutic potential, K. africana was effective against ethanol even after the induction of ulcer, indicating that it can have protective and curative effects against gastric lesion.
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