Using The BALB/c Asthmatic Mouse Model to Investigate the Effects of Hydrocortisone and a Herbal Asthma Medicine on Animal Weight
Euphorbia hirta is an anti-inflammatory phytomedicine used to treat asthma. It contains, amongst other components, Quercitrin, which is converted to Quercetin in the alimentary canal and is thought to be responsible for its therapeutic potential. In this study, the BALB/c asthmatic mouse mode was used to investigate the short and long term effects of Euphorbia hirta on asthma and weight change. Hydrocortisone was used as positive control. Data showed that animals in both the short and long term control groups experienced slow but steady progressive weight increments. Both immunization and nebulization had positive weight gain effects on the animals but the effects were more pronounced following immunization but were only minimal following nebulization. Prolonged treatment with hydrocortisone remarkably reduced the cumulative weight gained following prior experimental procedures (immunization and nebulization), followed by a slow and sustained increase in the rate of weight gain. On the other hand, prolonged administration of the plant causes only a minimal reduction in weight gained due to induced asthmatic conditions. It is concluded that E. hirta, besides reducing asthma symptoms similarly to that of hydrocortisone (as seen with white blood cell counts), does not impact on weight gain as severely as hydrocortisone.