Bronchodilatory effect of Acorus calamus (Linn.) is mediated through multiple pathways.

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Aim Of The Study: This study was undertaken to provide a pharmacological basis for traditional use of Acorus calamus in airways disorders. Materials and Methods: Isolated guinea-pig trachea and atria were suspended in organ baths bubbled with carbogen and mechanisms were found using different parameters. Results: In isolated guinea-pig tracheal segments, crude extract of Acorus calamus was more effective than carbachol in causing relaxation of high K(+) (80 mM) precontractions, similar to verapamil, suggesting blockade of calcium channels. The n-hexane fraction was equipotent against both precontractions, similar to papaverine, while ethylacetate fraction was more potent against carbachol precontractions but had a negligible dilator effect against K(+), similar to atropine and or rolipram. Pretreatment of tracheal preparations with n-hexane or ethylacetate fractions potentiated isoprenaline-induced inhibitory concentration-response curves, similar to papaverine or rolipram. Pretreatment of tracheal preparations with ethylacetate fraction caused a rightward parallel shift in carbachol response curve at lower concentration (0.003 mg/mL) similar to atropine and a non-parallel shift at higher concentrations (0.01 mg/mL), with reduction of maximum response, similar to rolipram. In isolated guinea-pig atrial preparations, crude extracts, its fractions and papaverine inhibited force and rate of contractions at higher concentrations than the smooth muscle while verapamil was equipotent. Conclusion: These data indicate the presence of unique combination of airways relaxant constituents in crude extract of Acorus calamus, a papaverine-like dual inhibitor of calcium channels and phosphodiesterase in n-hexane fraction and a novel combination of anticholinergic, rolipram-like phosphodiesterase4 inhibitor in ethylacetate fraction and associated cardiac depressant effect, provide a pharmacological basis for traditional use of Acorus calamus in disorders of airways.


Journal of Ethnopharmacology