Assessment of the laxative activity of an ethanolic extract of Bambusa arundinacea (Retz.) Willd. shoot

J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Mar 25;214:8-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2017.11.038. Epub 2017 Dec 5.


Ethnobotanical relevance: Bambusa arundinacea (Retz.) Willd., commonly known as Kanta Bans, plays an important ethnobotanical role, especially in Asia. In traditional medicine it has reportedly been used for the treatment of constipation, blood-diseases, leucodema, inflammation and urinary discharges. A number of ethnomedicinal records exist regarding the use of B. arundinaceae shoots as a laxative, however, there are no scientific studies reported on its laxative activity. Therefore, the aim of this present study was to evaluate the laxative activity of an ethanolic B. arundinaceae shoot extract in mice.

Materials and methods: B. arundinacea shoots were collected from Dhaka, Bangladesh in July 2015. An ethanolic shoot extract was obtained and its laxative activity was evaluated by faecal consistency, gastrointestinal transit and entero-pooling assays in a mouse model. Furthermore, a phytochemical investigation of the extract was conducted by UHPLC-ESI-QqQ MS and UHPLC-ESI-Orbitrap MS analysis.

Results: The ethanolic shoot extract of B. arundinacea showed significant laxative activity in our mouse model, with significant increases in (i) the amount of wet faeces, with the maximum effect at 2h for 500mg/kg (47.92%), (ii) gastrointestinal transit (67.18% and 60.03% for doses of 250 and 500mg/kg, respectively), and (iii) small intestine content at the test doses of 250 and 500mg/kg p.o. Phytochemical investigation identified a total of thirty compounds in the ethanolic shoot extract of B. arundinacea using UHPLC-ESI-QqQ MS and UHPLC-ESI-Orbitrap MS analysis.

Conclusions: The results of this study provide support for the traditional use of B. arundinacea shoot as a laxative.

Keywords: Bambusa arundinacea; Entero-pooling assay; Faecal consistency; Gastrointestinal transit; Laxative.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bambusa* / chemistry
  • Defecation / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanol / chemistry*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects*
  • Laxatives / chemistry
  • Laxatives / isolation & purification
  • Laxatives / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Shoots* / chemistry
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Solvents / chemistry*
  • Time Factors


  • Laxatives
  • Plant Extracts
  • Solvents
  • Ethanol