Acalypha indica Linn (Euphorbiaceae), a popular traditional medicine, is an erect herb found throughout various parts of India. In Ayurveda, Acalypha indica was commonly used in asthma and allergy. However, no attempts were made in past to validate the antiasthmatic potential of Acalypha indica.
The present study was aimed to assess the anti-asthmatic potential of ethanolic extracts of Acalypha indica leaves (EAIL) using various experimental animal models.
EAIL was analyzed using different screening methods such as acetylcholine and histamine-induced contraction of goat tracheal chain, clonidine-induced catalepsy in mice, milk-induced leucocytosis and eosinophilia in mice, clonidine-induced mast cell degranulation in rats, passive paw anaphylaxis in rats, histamine-induced bronchoconstriction in guinea pigs, and ovalbumin (OVA)-induced histopathological alterations in mice.
Data received in the present study showed that EAIL drastically antagonized acetylcholine and histamine-induced contraction of goat tracheal chain, suggesting its anticholinergic and antihistaminic activity respectively. The duration of immobility, produced by clonidine, was found to be decreased in mice which showed its H receptor blocking activity. In milk-induced leucocytosis and eosinophilia in mice, EAIL significantly reduced the number of leucocytes and eosinophils suggesting its adaptogenic and anti-allergic potential. Inhibition of clonidine-induced mast cell degranulation in rats displayed its mast cell stabilizing potential. Reduction of paw edema in passive paw anaphylaxis exhibited antianaphylactic activity of EAIL. Guinea pigs were protected from histamine-induced bronchoconstriction by EAIL which revealed its bronchodilator potential. Furthermore, the histopathological architecture of lung tissue was near to normal.
Our results contribute towards validation of the traditional use of Acalypha indica in the treatment of asthma due to the presence of a wide range of phytoconstituents. Hence our investigation revealed that EAIL possessed strong antiasthmatic property by virtue of various mechanisms.

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