Influence of dietary spices and their active principles on pancreatic digestive enzymes in albino rats

Nahrung. 2000 Feb;44(1):42-6. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-3803(20000101)44:1<42::AID-FOOD42>3.0.CO;2-D.


A few common spices or their active principles were examined for their possible influence on digestive enzymes of pancreas in experimental rat. Groups of animals were maintained for 8 weeks on the following spice diets: curcumin (0.5%), capsaicin (15 mg%), piperine (20 mg%), ginger (50 mg%), cumin (1.25%), fenugreek (2%), mustard (250 mg%) and asafoetida (250 mg%). Dietary curcumin, capsaicin, piperine, ginger, fenugreek and asafoetida prominently enhanced pancreatic lipase activity. Curcumin, capsaicin, piperine, ginger, cumin and asafoetida also stimulated pancreatic amylase. Trypsin was significantly stimulated by curcumin, capsaicin, piperine, ginger and cumin, while chymotrypsin was stimulated by all the spices tested except mustard. This stimulatory influence of test spices on the pancreatic digestive enzymes was however not observed when their intake was restricted to a single oral dose. The positive influences on the pancreatic digestive enzymes exerted by a good number of spices consumed in diet could be a factor contributing to the well recognised digestive stimulant action of spices.

MeSH terms

  • Amylases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Digestive System / drug effects*
  • Digestive System / enzymology*
  • Disaccharidases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology
  • Pancreas / drug effects*
  • Pancreas / enzymology*
  • Pancrelipase / metabolism
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spices*


  • Pancrelipase
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • Amylases
  • Disaccharidases