Allergic diseases, such as allergic asthma, are hypersensitivity reactions initiated by immunological mechanisms. Myrica esculenta (M. esculenta) is known traditionally in Ayurveda to possess anti-asthmatic activity. The present investigation was undertaken to evaluate the effect of crude extract of stem bark of M. esculenta (Family Myricaceae, commonly known as Kaiphal) on experimental allergic reactions. Experimental models studied were allergic pleurisy and vascular permeability induced by acetic acid in mice. Pretreatment with M. esculenta (75 mg/k g and 150 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly inhibited the eosinophil accumulation (P < 0.01) respectively in the pleural cavity. M. esculenta (75 and 150 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly inhibited the rise in plasma exudation (57.12% and 59.77%, P <0.01) induced by acetic acid in mice. These findings demonstrate that the crude extract from the stem bark of M. esculenta possesses antiallergic activity. This activity may be mediated by reducing the release of mediators such as histamine, inhibition of mast cell degranulation, and inhibition of eosinophil accumulation thereby preventing the release of cytokines and chemokines.
Key words: Allergy, eosinophil, inflammation, Myrica esculenta, vascular permeability.