Effects of a Methanol Fraction of the Leaves of Leonotis leonurus on the Blood Pressure and Heart Rate of Normotensive Male Wistar Rats

Leonotisleonurus a shrub indigenous to Southern Africa is widely used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of conditions ranging from skin diseases and cough to epileptic fits and ‘heart problems’. Studies on the aqueous extract of the leaves have indicated cycloxegenase enzyme inhibitory activity and an antihypertensive effect. Five methanol leaf extract fractions (MLEa - MLEe) of L. leonurus were tested on anaesthetized normotensive male Wistar rats (AWR) and isolated perfused working rat hearts (IWH). Fraction MLEc (0.01mg/kg – 0.05mg/kg) induced significant increases in BP and HR in AWR and positive chronotropic and inotropic effects in IWH (1.0mg/ml – 5.0mg/ml). Pre-administration of atenolol (2.0mg/kg) and prazosin (60μg/kg) significantly inhibited MLEc effect on HR and MAP respectively in vivo, while atenolol (7.0mg/ml) pre-perfusion significantly inhibited MLEc effect in vitro. The hypertensive effect of MLEc is probably via β1agonism. Results also indicate the presence of multiple cardioactive compounds in L. leonurus.