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ABSTRACT

 

In this study, evaluation of the antidiarrhoeal effect of aqueous fruit extract of Phoenix
dactylifera L. on the histology of the small intestine of Wistar rat, a preliminary
phytochemical screening of the aqueous fruit extract of Phoenix dactylifera (AEPD)
revealed the presence of alkaloids, tannins, saponins, flavonoids and carbohydrates. Oral
acute toxicity study (LD50) of the extract was conducted and found to be greater than
5000mg/ kg in Wistar rats. The antidiarrhoeal activity of the extract was evaluated on
castor oil induced diarrhoea, gastrointestinal transit and enteropooling in Wistar rats. In the
castor oil induced diarrhoeal study, the following experiments were conducted –
determination of standard drug (loperamide) antidiarrhoeal dose between the doses of
3mg/kg and 5mg/kg loperamide in Wistar rats; antidiarrhoeal activity of the extract in
prophylactic and therapeutic administrations in Wistar rats; antidiarrhoeal activity of the
combined administration of extract and loperamide in prophylactic and therapeutic
administrations in Wistar rats. In the extract prophylactic and therapeutic treatments, the
Wistar rats were divided into four (5) groups (n= 5), group 1 served as the control; group 2
was administered loperamide (5mg/kg) as standard drug; groups 3 and 4 administered
AEPD (1000mg/kg and 2000mg/kg respectively). In the combined administration
prophylactic and therapeutic treatments, the Wistar rats were divided into four (4) groups
(n= 5), group 1 served as the control; group 2 was administered loperamide (5mg/kg);
groups 3 and 4 were administered 1000mg/kg AEPD + 5mg/kg loperamide and 2000mg/kg
AEPD + 5mg/kg loperamide respectively. In the gastrointestinal transit and enteropooling
studies, the Wistar rats were divided into four (4) groups (n= 5), group 1 served as control,
groups 2 and 3 served as extract low and high dose; administered AEPD (1000mg/kg and
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2000mg/kg respectively) and group 4 served as the standard drug group administered
loperamide (5mg/kg). The extract and the combined treatment (AEPD + standard drug)
showed inhibitory activity against castor oil induced diarrhoea in both prophylactically and
therapeutically treated animals. A significant reduction (p<0.05) in the gastrointestinal
motility in charcoal meal test and decreased volume of intestinal fluid accumulation
(enteropooling) induced by castor oil compared to the control was observed. The
histoarchitecture of the jejunal mucosae of the Wistar rats were also preserved as compared
to the control that manifested with severe histoarchitectural distortion. Inhibition of the
severity of diarrhoea, gastrointestinal propulsion and fluid secretion by the extract and the
combined treatment of extract + standard drug suggest that the extract might exert its
antidiarrhoeal activity by antisecretory mechanism ascribed to the phytochemicals present
in the extract.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page ………………………………………………………………..………….. i
Declaration ………………………………………..……………………………….. ii
Certification ……………………………………………………….………..…….. iii
Dedication ………. ………………………………………………………….…….. iv
Acknowledgements …………………………………………………………..…….. v
Abstract ………………………………………………………………………..…. vii
Table of contents …………………………………………………………………… ix
List of figures ………………………………………………………….…….…….. xvi
List of tables ….……………………………………………………………..……. xvii
List of plates…………………………………………………………………….. xviii
List of appendices …………………………………………………………………. xx
List of abbreviations …………………………………………………………….. xxi
CHAPTER ONE
1.0 Introduction ……………………………………………….…………………… 1
1.1 Background Information …………………………………………….………… 1
1.2 Medicinal Plants ………………………………………………………..……… 3
1.2.1 Antidiarrhoeal Plants ………………………………………………………… 5
1.2.2 Date Palm …………………………………………………….……………… 6
1.2.3 Phoenix Dactylifera L.……………………………………………..………… 7
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1.3 Statement of the Research Problem …………………………………………… 9
1.4 Justification of the Study ……………………………………………..…….…. 9
1.5 Significances of the Study …………………………………………………… 10
1.6 Aims and Objectives of the Study …………………………………………… 10
1.6.1 Aims ………………………………………………………………………… 10
1.6.2 Objectives.…………………………………………………..……………… 11
CHAPTER TWO
2.0 Literature Review ………………………………………………..…………… 12
2.1 Diarrhoea ……………………………………………………………………… 12
2.1.1 Causative Organisms ……………………………………..……………… 13
2.1.2 Types of Diarrhea ………………………………………………………… 14
2.1.3 Diarrhoea as a Global Burden ……………………………………………. 14
2.1.4 Diarrhoea Treatment …………………………………………….……….. 15
2.1.4.1 Western Medicine ………………………………………………..………. 15
2.1.4.2 Treatment with Medicinal Plants ………………………………..……….. 17
2.2 Phoenix dactylifera l. …………………………………………..…………… 18
2.2.1 Taxonomy ………………………………………………………………….. 20
2.2.2 Botanical Description ………………………………………….……………. 20
2.2.3 Varieties of Date Palm ……………………………………………………… 21
2.2.4 Nutritional Composition …………………………………………………… 21
2.2.5 Phytochemistry ……………………………………………………………… 21
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2.2.6 Medicinal Applications of Phoenix dactylifera …………………….…….… 23
2.3 Castor Oil ……………………………………………………………………. 30
2.3.1 Uses …………………………………………………………………..…..… 30
2.3.2 Castor Oil in Animal Studies …………………………………….………… 30
2. 4 Loperamide Hydrochloride ………….……………………………………….. 31
2.4.1 Definition ……………………………….………………………………….. 31
2.4.2 Chemistry ………………………………………………………..…..……… 31
2.4.3 Indications and Usage ………………………………………………….….. 32
2.4.4 Clinical Pharmacology ……………………………………………….…..… 32
2.4.5 Adverse Reactions ………………………………………………………..… 33
2.4.6 Loperamide Hydrochloride in Animal Studies …………………………..… 34
2.5 Gastrointestinal Tract ………………………………………………………… 35
2.5.1 Development of the Gastrointestinal Tract (Embryology) …………..…….. 35
2.5.2 Gross Anatomy of the Gastrointestinal Tract ………………………………. 36
2.5.3 Histology of the Gastrointestinal Tract ……………………………………. 37
2.5.3.1 Structure of the Gastrointestinal Tract ………………………………….. 38
2.5.4 Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract …………………………………. 39
2.5.4.1 Regulation of Gastrointestinal Tract ………………………..……….…… 40
CHAPTER THREE
3.0 Material and Methods ………………………………………………..………. 41
3.1 Materials ………………………………………………………………..……. 41
3.1.1 Plant Material ………………………………………………………………. 41
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3.1.2 Experimental Animals ……………………………………………………… 41
3.1.3 Castor Oil ………………………………………………………..………… 42
3.1.4 Loperamide Hydrochloride …………………………………………..…….. 42
3.1.5 Blotting Papers ……………………………………………………..………. 42
3.1.6 Animal Feed ………………………………………………………..………. 42
3.1.7 Other Materials…..……………………………………………………….…. 42
3.2 Methods …………………………………………………..…………………. 43
3.2.1 Preparation of Phoenix dactylifera Fruit Extract …………………………… 43
3.2.2 Phoenix dactylifera Phytochemical Screening……….…………….…..…… 43
3.2.3 Dose Preparation of Aqueous Fruit Extract of Phoenix dactylifera ………… 44
3.2.4 Acute Toxicity (LD50) Study ………………………………………..…..… 44
3.2.5 Dose Preparation of Loperamide Hydrochloride (Standard Drug) .….……. 44
3.2.6 Antidiarrhoeal Activity Studies ……….………………………….………… 45
3.2.6.1 Experimental Design …………………………………………………..… 45
3.2.6.1.1 Standard Drug Antidiarrhoeal Dose Determination……….………….… 45
3.2.6.1.2 P. dactylifera Extract Prophylactic Antidiarrhoeal Study….…………… 47
3.2.6.1.3 P. dactylifera Extract Therapeutic Antidiarrhoeal Study….…………… 47
3.2.6.1.4 P. dactylifera Extract + Standard Drug Prophylactic Antidiarrhoeal
Study……………………………………………………………….…. 50
3.2.6.1.5 P. dactylifera Extract + Standard Drug Therapeutic Antidiarrhoeal
Study………………………………………………………………….. 50
3.2.7 Castor Oil-Induced Enteropooling Studies …………………………………. 54
3.2.8 Small Intestinal Transit Study (Gastrointestinal Transit Test) ………..…… 55
3.2.9 Histological Investigation ………..…………………………….………..…. 57
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3.2.10 Data Analysis ………………………………………………………..…….. 57
CHAPTER FOUR
4.0 Results ……………………………………………………………..…………. 58
4.1 Phytochemical Analysis ……………………………………………………… 58
4.2 Physical Observation ………………………………………..……………….. 58
4.3 Acute Toxicity (LD 50) Test ……………………………………….…………. 58
4.4 Standard Drug Anti-diarrhoeal Dose Determination……………………….… 63
4.5 Antidiarrhoeal Activity Studies………………………………………….…… 63
4.5.1 P. dactylifera Extract Prophylactic Antidiarrhoeal Study…………….…… 65
4.5.2 P. dactylifera Extract Therapeutic Antidiarrhoeal Study…………….……. 67
4.5.3 P. dactylifera Extract + Standard Drug Prophylactic Antidiarrhoeal Study..69
4.5.4 P. dactylifera Extract + Standard Drug Therapeutic Antidiarrhoeal Study.. 70
4.5.5 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of Treatments………………,… 73
4.5.5.1 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of 1000mg/kg AEPD in Prophylactic
and Therapeutic Treatments…………………………………. 73
4.5.5.2 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of 2000mg/kg AEPD in Prophylactic
and Therapeutic Treatments…………………………….…… 75
4.5.5.3 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of 1000mg/kg AEPD + 5mg/kg
Standard Drug in Prophylactic and Therapeutic Treatments………….…… 75
4.5.5.4 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of 2000mg/kg AEPD + 5mg/kg
Standard Drug in Prophylactic and Therapeutic Treatments……………..…78
4.5.5.5 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of 1000mg/kg AEPD and
1000mg/kg extract + 5mg/kg Standard Drug in Prophylactic Treatments…78
4.5.5.6 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of 2000mg/kg AEPD and 2000mg/kg
extract + 5mg/kg Standard Drug in Prophylactic Treatments… 81
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4.5.5.7 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of 1000mg/kg AEPD and 1000mg/kg
extract + 5mg/kg Standard Drug in Therapeutic Treatments…. 81
4.5.5.8 Comparison of the Antidiarrhoeal Activity of 2000mg/kg AEPD and 2000mg/kg
extract + 5mg/kg Standard Drug in Therapeutic Treatments…. 84
4.6 Castor Oil-Induced Enteropooling Studies – Effect on Castor Oil-Induced
Enteropooling……………………………………………………………… 86
4.7 Castor Oil-Induced Small Intestinal Transit Studies – Effect on Castor
Oil-Induced Gastrointestinal Transit………………………….……….…… 88
4.8 Histological Study …………………………………………………………….. 90
4.8.1 Histological Features of the Normal (Untreated) Experimental Animals….. 90
4.8.2 Histological Features of the Treated Experimental Animals ………..………. 90
4.8.2.1 Histological Features of the Control (Treated) Experimental Animal…….. 90
4.8.2.2 Histological Features of the Prophylactically Treated Antidiarrhoeal Study
Experimental Animals……………………………………………………… 93
4.8.2.3 Histological Features of the Therapeutically Treated Antidiarrhoeal Study
Experimental Animals……………………………………………………… 93
4.8.2.4 Histological Features of the AEPD + Standard Drug Prophylactically Treated
Antidiarrhoeal Study Experimental Animals……….…………..…….….. 100
4.8.2.5 Histological Features of the AEPD + Standard Drug Therapeutically Treated
Anti-diarrhoeal Study Experimental Animals…………………….….….. 100
CHAPTER FIVE
5.0 Discussion ……………………………………………………………..……. 105
5.1 Phytochemical studies ……………………………………………………….. 105
5.2 Acute Toxicity Study ………………………………………………..………. 105
5.3 Standard Drug Anti-diarrhoeal Dose Determination………………………… 105
5.4 Antidiarrhoeal Activity………………………………………………………. 106
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5.4.1 Castor oil induced diarrhoea ……………………………………………… 106
5.4.2 Comparison of the Anti-diarrhoeal Activity of Treatments…………….…. 111
5.4.3 Castor Oil-Induced Enteropooling ………………………………………… 114
5.4.4 Castor Oil – Induced Gastrointestinal Transit ……………….……………. 115
5.5 Histological Study …………………………………………………………… 116
5.4.1 Histology of the Treated Experimental Animals …………….…………… 117
CHAPTER SIX
6.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation …………………..……..……. 121
6.1 Summary ……………………………………………………………………. 121
6.2 Conclusion……………………………………………………..……………. 121
6.3 Recommendation ……………………………………………..…………….. 122
REFERENCES …………………………………………………………………. 123
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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background Information
Diarrhoea remains the second leading cause of death among children under five globally.
Nearly one in six child deaths – more than one million each year – is due to diarrhoea. It
kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined (WHO, 2011).
In 2006, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health
Organization (WHO) issued a report highlighting the most common cause of death among
children. Diarrhoea and pneumonia were reported to be responsible for an estimated 40 per
cent of all child deaths around the world each year.
There are lessons to be learned from past experience. An international commitment to
tackle childhood diarrhoea in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in a major reduction in child
deaths. This came about largely through the scaling up of oral rehydration therapy, coupled
with programmes to educate caregivers on its appropriate use. But, these efforts lost
momentum as the world turned its attention to other global emergencies.
Today, only 39 per cent of children with diarrhoea in developing countries receive the
recommended treatment, and limited trend data suggest that there has been little progress
since 2000. Each year, an estimated 2.5 billion cases of diarrhoea occur among children
under five years of age, and estimates suggest that overall incidence has remained
relatively stable over the past two decades. More than half of these cases are in Africa and
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South Asia where bouts of diarrhoea are more likely to result in death or other severe
outcomes (WHO, 2009).
Nature is and will still serve as the man’s primary source for the cure of his ailments.
However, the potential of higher plants as sources for new drugs is still largely unexplored
(Oke, 2002). Medicinal plants are of great importance to the health of individuals and
communities. The medicinal value of these plants lies in some chemical substances that
produce a definite physiological action on the human body. The most important of these
bioactive constituents of plants are alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds
(Hill, 1952). Many of these indigenous medicinal plants are used as spices and food plants.
They are also sometimes added to foods meant for pregnant and nursing mothers for
medicinal purposes (Okwu, 1999).
In all countries of the world there exists traditional knowledge related to the health of
humans and animals. The importance of traditional medicine as a source of primary health
care was first officially recognised by the World Health Organisation in the Primary
Health Care Declaration of Alma Ata (1978) and has been globally addressed since 1976
by the Traditional Medicine Programme of the WHO. That Programme defined traditional
medicine as: “the sum total of all the knowledge and practices, whether explicable or not,
used in diagnosis, prevention and elimination of physical, mental or social imbalance and
relying exclusively on practical experience and observation handed down from generation
to generation, whether verbally or in writing.” In Africa, traditional healers and remedies
made from plants play an important role in the health of millions of people.
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People living in tribal localities and in villages are using indigenous plants as medicines
from long ago because this knowledge reaches to them from generation to generation, and
is based on experience. Also the tribes and villages are far away from cities and mostly
there are no health facilities. Inhabitants are dominantly poor or middle class and the prices
of synthetic drugs are rising day by day and they cannot withstand the sharply rising prices
of synthetic drugs, so as a consequence, non-availability of expensive synthetic drugs
(Shinwari and Khan, 1998).
Health is the key to the development of a nation. As defined by the Alma-Ata Declaration
of 1978, it is that essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially
acceptable methods and technology made universally acceptable to individuals and
families in the community and through their full participation and at a cost that the
community and the country can afford, in order to maintain, at every stage of their
development, in the spirit of self-reliance and self determination (WHO, 1978). Keeping in
view the importance of medicinal plants, there is a need to investigate and scientifically
authenticate the efficacy of native plants.
1.2 Medicinal Plants
From the very beginning of human existence, man has familiarized himself with plants and
used them in a variety of ways throughout the ages. In search of food and to cope
successfully with human suffering, primitive man began to distinguish those plants suitable
for nutritional purpose from others with definitive pharmacological action. This
relationship has grown between plants and man, and many plants came to be used as drugs.
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The growth of knowledge to cure disease continues at an accelerating pace, and number of
new plant-derived drugs increase likewise (Shinwari and Gilani, 2003).
Plant-based medicines enjoy a respectable position today, especially in the developing
countries, where modern health service is limited. Indigenous remedies which are more
effective, safe and inexpensive are gaining popularity among both rural and urban areas.
Information from ethnic groups or indigenous traditional medicine has played a vital role
in the discovery of novel products from plants as chemotherapeutic agents (Katewa et al.,
2004).
The World Health Organization has emphasized the importance of the traditional
indigenous medicines, since a large majority of rural people in the developing countries
still use these medicines as the first defence in health care (Goleniowski et al., 2006).
Globally, about 85% of all medications for primary health care are derived from plants
(Farnsworth, 1988).
Plants continue to serve as possible sources for new drugs and chemicals derived from
various parts of plants. These plants can be extremely useful as lead structure for synthetic
modification and optimization of bioactivity.
Besides widespread use of botanicals as medicinal products in developing countries, such
products are also becoming part of the integrative health care systems of industrialized
nations known as “complementary alternative system of medicines” (CAM). Safety and
efficacy of natural herbal product is therefore a cause of concern to promote and rationalize
their use (Tijani et al., 2008).
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Herbal medicine is currently experiencing a revival in Western society, along with other
complementary therapies such as traditional Chinese Medicines, Osteopathy and
Homeopathy (Shinwari and Gilani, 2003).
1.2.1 Antidiarrhoeal Plants
Plants, plant products and minerals are among the most important treatments for diarrhoea
and are part of indigenous and popular, as well as western, medicine and diet (Heinrich,
1998).
There are various cultural or indigenous explanatory models for diarrhoea. Each of these
models demonstrates the importance for establishing successful diarrhoea control
programmes (Coreil and Mull, 1988). Each community has its own particular approach to
health and disease even at the level of ethno-pathogenic perceptions of diseases and
therapeutic behaviour.
In this respect, we can argue that there are as many traditional medicines for diarrhoea as
possible as there are communities. This gives traditional medicine its diverse and pluralist
nature (Rukangira, 2009).
Some of the anti-diarrhoeal plants are: Aegle marmelos; Baphia nitida’ Butea
monosperma; Dalbergia lanceolaria; Galla Chinensis; Juniperus PhoeniciaLitsea
polyantha; Mangifera indica; Phoenix dactylifera, e.t.c. (Rajeev et al., 2010).
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1.2.2 Date Palm (Classical Name: Phoenix Linn.)
Date palm fruit or its juice was employed in Ancient Egypt in many medicinal remedies.
Date wine was used as an alcoholic beverage, which drinks were used for pleasure,
nutrition, medicine, ritual and remuneration and funerary purposes (Cherrington, 1925).
Historically, medicinal uses of the date palm in ancient Egypt can seem quaint, alone or
combined with other medicaments of those days, such as, myrrh, red natron, milk, carob,
honey, sweet beer and bone of a dog. These are used severally in remedies for swelling of
limbs, swollen or aching legs, sneezing and children’s cough, to kill worms, to cure ‘heat
of the heart’ and accelerate hair growth. (Darby and Manniche, 1989 ).
However, the date palm folk medicine does cover a wide spectrum and is described as
follows: “an aphrodisiac, contraceptive, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, estrogenic,
expectorant, laxative, pectoral, purgative, refrigerant; the date is listed in folk remedies for
ague, anemia, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, catarrh, chest, condylomata, (Duke, 1983a)
cough, diarrhea, eyes, fatigue, fever, flu, gonorrhea and piles (Duke, 1983). Dates are
cooling, tonic, alexeteric and are useful in leprosy thrist, abdominal complains, fever,
vomiting, wanderering of the mind and loss of consciousness (Vayalil, 2002). Its use is
also mentioned and applied in relation to cancers, indurations or tumors of the abdomen,
gum, liver, mouth, parotids, spleen, stomach, testicle, throat, uterus, and viscera.
“Medicinally, fresh juice is cooling and laxative; gum useful in treatment of diarrhoea and
diseases of the genito-urinary system; fruit is demulcent, expectorant, anti-scorbutic,
nutrient, laxative, aphrodisiac, and is prescribed in asthma, chest complaints and cough,
fever, and gonorrhea. And, a plaster of the nuts or of the bark is a folk remedy for
– 29 –
whitlows, hardnesses, and scirrhi” (Duke, 1983b). Dates are also used internally to clear
enigmatic or to regulate the urine and in vaginal pessaries with other ingredient to enhance
fertility. Date palm pollen grains have gonadotrophic activity.
It is not without basis that present day researchers are suddenly mightily interested in
delving into the plant profiles of the near and distant past. In a now over-populated world,
every effort needs to be made to try to find cures and treatments from our beneficent Plant
Kingdom for the fast gathering speed and proliferation of current diseases, conditions and
ailments that beset the human race.
Reviewing the folk medicine as well as the literature, some species of Palms have been
reported to possess many important biological effects. One of such species is Phoenix
dactylifera which is one of the most important economic plants of Palmae.
1.2.3 Phoenix dactylifera L.
Phoenix dactylifera commonly known as the true date palm is a palm in the genus
Phoenix, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Due to its long history of cultivation for fruit,
its exact native distribution is unknown, but probably originated somewhere in the desert
oases of northern Africa, and also Western Asia. It is a medium-sized plant, 15–25m tall,
often clumped with several plants from a single root system, but often growing singly as
well. The leaves are pinnate, 3–5 m long, with spines on the petiole and about 150 leaflets;
the leaflets are 30 cm long and 2 cm broad. The full span of the crown ranges from 6 to
10m (Walid et al., 2003).
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Date palm is believed to have been introduced into Nigeria in the early 8th century by Arab
traders from North Africa. Date fruits are a highly valued delicacy among many
communities in Nigeria, especially during ceremonies and festivals. The national
consumption of dates in 2009 was estimated at 8,958 metric tons which placed the country
among the world top 10 consumers of date (Sani et al., 2010).
Phoenix dactylifera is known in Arabic as Nakl; in English as Date palm, in French as
Dattier and in Hausa (Nigeria) as Dabino. Phoenix dactylifera is well known in northern
Nigeria (with almost desert-like climate; the states in this axis are Jigawa, Bornu, Kebbi,
Yobe, Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara) (Okere et al., 2010).
The various parts of this plant are widely used in traditional medicine for the treatment of
various disorders which include memory disturbances, fever, inflammation, paralysis, loss
of consciousness, nervous disorders (Nadkarni, 1976; Anonymus, 1985). The fruits
of Phoenix dactylifera are used as a detersive and astringent in intestinal troubles,
treatment for sore throat, colds, bronchial asthma, to relieve fever, cystisis, gonorrhea,
edema, liver and abdominal troubles and to counteract alcohol intoxication (Seelig, 1974).
It is also scientifically proved to possess a variety of pharmacological activities which
indicate its usefulness in various kinds of diseases and disorders.
Recently many pharmacological studies have been conducted on Phoenix dactylifera and it
has been demonstrated to have some of the following activity:
 Antiulcer activity
 Effect on gastrointestinal transit
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 Hepatoprotective activity
 Antioxidant activity
 Antiinflammatory activity
 Nephroprotective activity, etc (Vyawahare et al., 2009).
1.3 Statement of the Research Problem
Millions of children under five years of age die each year. About 1.8 million of these
deaths result from diarrhoeal cases.
Diarrhoea is more prevalent in the developing world due, in large part, to the lack of safe
drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as poorer overall health and nutritional
status. Improving unsanitary environments alone, however, will not be enough as long as
children continue to remain susceptible to the disease and are not effectively treated once it
begins.
Remote areas or villages are far away from cities and mostly there are no health facilities.
Inhabitants are dominantly poor or middle class and the prices of synthetic drugs are rising
day by day and they cannot withstand the sharply rising prices of synthetic drugs, so as a
consequence, there is non-availability of expensive synthetic drugs in these areas.
1.4 Justification of the Study
Popular and indigenous medical systems, often, are the only source of immediate help for
populations that lack access to formal health resources. Because plants are integral
– 32 –
elements of these medical systems, it is important to understand indigenous therapeutic
objectives in using plant medicine.
The improvement of health in developing nations requires an understanding of indigenous
and popular concepts of diarrhoea, including its etiology and treatment.
1.5 Significances of the Study
The present study is of importance in the identification and evaluation of available natural
agent as alternative to currently used anti-diarrhoeal drugs, which are not always free from
adverse effects.
Results of this study could lead to the identification of safe and more effective agent that is
affordable and readily available which is paramount to combating the problem of diarrhoea
in developing countries.
Knowledge gained from this study could provoke the minds of indigenous researchers into
directing their research focus into the field of medical ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology
and medicinal plants.
1.6 Aim and Objectives of the Study
1.6.1 Aim
 To evaluate the anti-diarrhoeal effect of aqueous fruit extract of Phoenix dactylifera on
the histology of the small intestine in Wistar rats.
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1.6.2 Objectives
 To investigate the efficacy of aqueous fruit extract of Phoenix dactylifera in the
treatment of diarrhoea in experimentally-induced diarrhoea in Wistar rats.
 To evaluate the antidiarrhoeal activity of aqueous fruit extract of Phoenix dactylifera
using established antidiarrhoeal drug, loperamide hydrochloride, as a standard.
 To investigate the synergistic anti-diarrhoeal activity of an established antidiarrhoeal
drug, loperamide hydrochloride, and aqueous fruit extract of Phoenix dactylifera.
 To investigate the efficacy of aqueous fruit extract of Phoenix dactylifera administration
in the preservation of the histology of the jejunal mucosa of experimentally-induced
diarrhoea in Wistar rats.
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