Presence of cholinergic and calcium antagonist constituents in Saussurea lappa explains its use in constipation and spasm

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


(c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.This study was carried out to provide a scientific basis for the traditional use of Saussurea lappa, in constipation and spasms. Isolated tissue preparations were used to see if the aqueous-methanol crude extract of the S. lappa root (Sl.Cr) contains gut stimulatory and inhibitory constituents. In isolated guinea-pig ileum, a quiescent preparation, Sl.Cr caused a concentration-dependent (0.3-5.0 mg/mL) spasmogenic effect, with the maximum effect reaching 91% of the acetylcholine maximum. A further increase in concentration caused a declining effect, indicating the presence of spasmolytic constituent(s). The spasmolytic effect was more marked in the spontaneously contracting rabbit jejunum and in the atropinized preparations. The spasmolytic effect was mediated through calcium channel blocking (CCB) activity, as evident by its inhibitory effect against high K(+) (80 mm)-induced contraction and displacement of the Ca(++) concentration-response curves to the right. These data indicate that the crude extract of Sl.Cr contains gut stimulatory constituent(s) of cholinergic-type providing a scientific basis for its use in constipation. The presence of spasmolytic constituents of CCB-type more evident in the spontaneous contracting gut preparation may explain its use in spasms.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Phytotherapy Research