Gut modulatory, blood pressure lowering, diuretic and sedative activities of cardamom

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Feb 12;115(3):463-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.10.015. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is traditionally used in various gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and neuronal disorders.

Aim of the study: To rationalize cardamom use in constipation, colic, diarrhea, hypertension and as diuretic.

Materials and methods: Cardamom crude extract (Ec.Cr) was studied using in vitro and in vivo techniques.

Results: Ec.Cr caused atropine-sensitive stimulatory effect in isolated guinea-pig ileum at 3-10mg/ml. In rabbit jejunum preparations, Ec.Cr relaxed spontaneous and K+ (80 mM)-induced contractions as well as shifted Ca++ curves to right, like verapamil. Ec.Cr (3-100mg/kg) induced fall in the arterial blood pressure (BP) of anaesthetized rats, partially blocked in atropinized animals. In endothelium-intact rat aorta, Ec.Cr relaxed phenylephrine (1 microM)-induced contractions, partially antagonized by atropine and also inhibited K+ (80 mM) contractions. In guinea-pig atria, Ec.Cr exhibited a cardio-depressant effect. Ec.Cr (1-10mg/kg) produced diuresis in rats, accompanied by a saluretic effect. It enhanced pentobarbital-induced sleeping time in mice. Bio-assay directed fractionation revealed the separation of spasmogenic and spasmolytic components in the aqueous and organic fractions respectively.

Conclusion: These results indicate that cardamom exhibits gut excitatory and inhibitory effects mediated through cholinergic and Ca++ antagonist mechanisms respectively and lowers BP via combination of both pathways. The diuretic and sedative effects may offer added value in its use in hypertension and epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / administration & dosage
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / isolation & purification
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Cholinergic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Cholinergic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Cholinergic Agents / pharmacology
  • Diuresis / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Elettaria / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Parasympatholytics / administration & dosage
  • Parasympatholytics / isolation & purification
  • Parasympatholytics / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Spasm / chemically induced


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Cholinergic Agents
  • Parasympatholytics
  • Plant Extracts