Hyperlipidemia is one of the leading causes of death in developed as well as in developing countries like Bangladesh. Hyperlipidemia is a major risk factor for early development of atherosclerosis and its cardiovascular complications. The objective of the study was to evaluate antihyperlipidemic, antiathersclerotic and cardio-protective activities of the leaves (LE) and aerial root (AR) extracts of Heritiera fomes (Family: Malvaceae, local name: Sundari) which is a common species in the world’s largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans, major part of which is located in Bangladesh.
Methods and findings:
Extracts of the powdered LE and AR of Heritiera fomes were obtained using methanol, and the extracts were applied at doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg of body weight, to treat the diabetic rats. Alloxan Monohydrate was used to induce diabetic condition in Sprague dawley rats. Metformin Hydrochloride was also used as a standard drug to treat the diabetic rats in order to compare the efficacy of the plant extracts with that of the standard drug. After 21 days of treatment, the animals were sacrificed and lipid profiles were estimated. The lipid levels were elevated in alloxan-induced diabetic rats as compared to the control rats. Total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL and VLDL were increased in diabetic rats and the HDL level was significantly (P<0.001) decreased. After treatment with Heritiera fomes (LE and AR), the lipid levels of diabetic rats were returned to normal level and this reduction was dose-dependent, whereas HDL level was significantly (P<0.001) increased. LE and AR extracts also reduced atherosclerotic index and increased cardio-protective index as compared to the diabetic rats.
Conventional drugs available for the treatment of hyperlipidemia carry the risks that may lead to many adverse effects such as weight loss, hypoglycemia, muscle pain, muscle damage, liver damage etc. So, medicinal plants having antihyperlipidemic, antiathersclerotic and cardio-protective properties should be given importance to avoid the adverse effects associated with modern allopathic lipid-lowering drugs. This study demonstrated that Heritiera fomes can be an excellent medicinal plant for the treatment of hyperlipidaemia, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular complications.