Pharmacological basis for the use of Fumaria indica in constipation and diarrhea

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


The crude extract of Fumaria indica whole plant (Fi.Cr) and its fractions were studied in vitro for spasmogenic and spasmolytic effects to rationalize some of the traditional uses. Fi.Cr (1.0-5.0 mg/mL) caused a moderate degree of atropine-sensitive spasmogenic effect in guinea-pig ileum. In spontaneously contracting rabbit jejunum, Fi.Cr (0.03-0.3 mg/mL) caused a mild spasmogenicity followed by relaxation at the higher doses. In the atropinized preparations, Fi.Cr inhibited spontaneous and K(+)-induced contractions at the similar doses (0.1-1.0 mg/mL), which suggests calcium channel blockade (CCB). CCB effect was confirmed when pretreatment of the tissue with the Fi.Cr produced a dose-dependent shift in the Ca(2+) dose-response curves to the right, similar to that produced by verapamil. Activity-directed fractionation revealed that the spasmolytic effect is concentrated in the petroleum ether fraction, while dichloromethane fraction contains both spasmogenic and spasmolytic constituents. These data indicate that the presence of cholinergic and CCB constituents in Fi.Cr may explain the respective traditional use of Fumaria indica in constipation and diarrhoea.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Ethnopharmacology