Mother’s milk is important for survival, proper development and growth of the neonate for which continuous milk supply is essential. Bauhinia variegata is used as a galactagogue by various tribals of West Midnapore district, West Bengal, India but it lacks scientific basis.
Objectives: The present investigation was undertaken to investigate the potential of aqueous leaf extract of Bauhinia variegata in promoting milk production in lactating mice (Mus musculus) and its effect on growth of suckling pups and also to find its antioxidant status.
Methods: Galactagogue activity was evaluated in terms of quantity of milk produced from the mice treated with leaves extracts. Lactating mice (n=6 in each group) with at least 5 pups each were treated with the extract at 250 mg/kg and 350 mg/kg body weight while the control was administered with distilled water. A total of 18 lactating mother mice were used in the study. The mice were daily administered with the aqueous leaf extract via oral feeding with gavage which started from day 1 to day 15 and the performance of milk production were measured along the experimental duration by weight-suckle-weight method. Correspondingly the leaf extract was also subjected to qualitative, UV-Vis and GC-MS analysis for the presence of any suitable compound which enhances the milk production. Results were statistically analyzed by means of ANOVA and expressed as mean ± S.E., the growth rate of pups were measured along the experimental period.
Results: Aqueous leaf extract of Bauhinia variegata at both the doses significantly increased milk production (23.2%) than the control mice. The pups also gained weight significantly (p<0.05) with regard to control. Serum prolactin levels steadily increased from day 1 to day 8. However, the milk production was more in the mice treated with 250 mg/kg of leaves extract when compared to 350 mg/kg body weight. GS-MS chromatogram of the aqueous extract showed 20 major peaks besides a number of peaks with very narrow retention time. The fragmentation patterns for some of the peaks were compared with the library of NIST which revealed presence of several phytoestrogenic compounds. The information summarized here is intended to serve as a reference tool for ethno-pharmacologists and its scientificity.