Influence of different wild-garlic (Allium ursinum) extracts on the gastrointestinal system: spasmolytic, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2017 Sep;69(9):1208-1218. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12746. Epub 2017 May 23.


Objectives: As there are no previous studies of the European wild-garlic (Allium ursinum) effects on the gastrointestinal system, despite its traditional applications in gastrointestinal disorders' treatment and regular use in the human diet, we have quantified and compared spasmolytic, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of its different leaf extracts.

Methods: Wild-garlic extracts were tested for spasmolytic activity on isolated rat ileum, antimicrobial activity on selected Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and fungi by microdilution method and antioxidant capacity by DPPH radical-scavenging assay.

Key findings: Wild-garlic extracts were found to decrease ileal basal tone. As the relaxation of K+ -induced contractions was similar to one caused by papaverin, the observed spasmolytic effect was most likely mediated through Ca2+ -channel inhibition. Ethanolic extract (with the highest phenolic and high alk(en)yl cysteine sulphoxides' levels) produced the strongest spasmolytic activity. In case of acetylcholine-induced contractions, only hydromethanolic extract showed no statistical difference in comparison with positive control. All samples exhibited certain antioxidant potential and strong antimicrobial activity against tested enteropathogenic strains (Salmonella enteritidis was the most sensitive, followed by Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis and Enterococcus faecalis).

Conclusion: Besides other already established health-promoting effects, wild garlic could be useful in treatment of mild gastrointestinal disturbances.

Keywords: Allium ursinum; enteropathogenic strains; qNMR of alk(en)yl cysteine sulphoxides; rat ileum; spasmolytic activity.

MeSH terms

  • Allium / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Free Radical Scavengers / isolation & purification
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / drug effects
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / drug effects
  • Male
  • Parasympatholytics / isolation & purification
  • Parasympatholytics / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Parasympatholytics
  • Plant Extracts