BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel diseases consist of uncontrolled intestinal inflammation leading to mucosal disruption. Polyphenols are micronutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may play an interesting role in the prevention of intestinal inflammation. Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla (L'Herit.) Britton, Verbenaceae) infusion is a popular herbal drink rich in polyphenols. This study evaluated the protective effects of lemon verbena infusion consumption on the development of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in rats. The infusion was given to rats as a drink providing 82 µmol polyphenols day−1 for 21 days. Colitis was induced with 40 g l−1 DSS in the drink for the last 7 days.
RESULTS: Lemon verbena infusion treatment restored body weight gain and prevented colonic shortening. Despite no protective effect on myeloperoxidase activity, A. triphylla infusion limited histological colonic alterations.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest that lemon verbena infusion partially protects rats against DSS-induced inflammation. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry