Prokinetic and laxative activities of Lepidium sativum seed extract with species and tissue selective gut stimulatory actions

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Apr 12;134(3):878-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.01.047. Epub 2011 Feb 3.


Aim of the study: To provide ethnopharmacological basis for the medicinal use of Lepidium sativum seeds in indigestion and constipation.

Materials and methods: The in vivo studies were conducted in mice, while isolated tissues of mouse, guinea-pig and rabbit were suspended in tissue bath to measure isotonic contractions.

Results: The aqueous-methanolic extract of Lepidium sativum seeds (Ls.Cr) at 30 and 100mg/kg showed atropine-sensitive prokinetic and laxative activities in mice, which were partially sensitive to atropine. In isolated gut preparations of mouse and guinea-pig, Ls.Cr (0.1-1mg/mL) caused a concentration-dependent stimulatory effects both in jejunum and ileum, which was blocked in the presence of atropine. In rabbit jejunum, the stimulant effect of Ls.Cr remained unchanged in the presence of atropine, pyrilamine or SB203186, while in rabbit ileum, the stimulatory effect was partially blocked by atropine. The Ls.Cr was more efficacious in gut preparations of rabbit than in guinea-pig or mouse. The phytochemical analysis of the plant extract detected alkaloids, saponins and anthraquinones as plant constituents.

Conclusion: This study showed the prokinetic and laxative effects of Lepidium sativum in mice, which were partially mediated through a cholinergic pathway. The in vitro spasmodic effect of the plant extract mediated through a similar mechanism with species and tissue-selectivity, provides a rationale for the medicinal use of the seeds of Lepidium sativum in indigestion and constipation, and suggests studying the plant extracts on more than one species to get the wider picture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Ileum / drug effects
  • Ileum / physiology
  • Laxatives / pharmacology*
  • Lepidium sativum / embryology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Seeds / chemistry*


  • Laxatives
  • Plant Extracts