The presence of cholinomimetic and calcium channel antagonist constituents in Piper betle Linn

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


The crude aqueous extract of Piper betle leaves (Pb.Cr) was studied for the possible presence of cholinomimetic and calcium channel antagonist constituents. Pb.Cr at doses of 1-10 mg/mL caused a moderate spasmogenic effect in isolated guinea-pig ileum and this activity was concentrated in the aqueous fraction, which was found to be about 5 times more potent. Pretreatment of the tissue with atropine (1 microM) but not hexamethonium (100 microM) completely abolished the contractile effect of the aqueous fraction indicating a cholinergic (muscarinic) mechanism. In isolated rabbit jejunum preparations Pb.Cr did not produce a significant increase in the spontaneous contractions, but instead produced a dose-dependent (0.03-3.0 mg/mL) inhibition of spontaneous activity. Activity-directed fractionation revealed that the spasmolytic action was concentrated in the ethyl acetate fraction. When tested against K(+)-induced contractions, both Pb.Cr and its ethyl acetate fraction (Pb.EtAc) caused a dose-dependent inhibition, suggesting calcium channel blockade (CCB). The potent CCB effect of the crude extract and its ethyl acetate fraction was confirmed when pretreatment of the tissue with Pb.Cr or Pb.EtAc shifted the Ca(++) dose-response curves to the right in a dose-dependent manner. These data indicate that the plant contains cholinomimetic and possible calcium channel antagonist constituents, which are concentrated in the aqueous and ethyl acetate fractions respectively. It is suggested that some of the traditional uses of this plant may be explained on the basis of these activities.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Phytotherapy Research