Ficus carica aqueous extract alleviates delayed gastric emptying and recovers ulcerative colitis-enhanced acute functional gastrointestinal disorders in rats

J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Oct 5:224:242-249. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2018.06.001. Epub 2018 Jun 2.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Ficus carica fruit, a source of bioactive functional ingredients, have been traditionally long time used for its medicinal benefits as they improve the digestive system, treating constipation and used as a natural laxative.

Aim of the study: The recent study was investigated the ameliorative effect of Ficus carica L. aqueous extract (FCAE) on delayed gastric emptying and ulcerative colitis-improved motility disturbances in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced acute colitis in rats.

Materials and methods: Wistar rats were assigned randomly and received 5% DSS for seven days. Ulcerative colitis diagnosis was confirmed by clinical signs, visible fecal blood and histopatological evaluation. The estimation of the action of colitis on TGI and constipation as well as the protective effect of extract, the intestinal biochemical and physiological parameters were measured using the charcoal meal test, loperamide (Lop)-induced constipation as well as spectrophotometric assays. FCAE (150 and 300 mg kg-1) was administered orally once per day for seven days 1 h after the loperamide treatment. Phenol-red colorimetric method was used to explore the action of FCAE on gastric emptying process.

Results: Ulcerative colitis caused a significantly gastrointestinal motility inhibition in normal rats and notably aggravated the constipation in LOP group. Oppositely, FCAE oral intake significantly increased levels of the gastrointestinal transit ratio and gastric emptying by accelerating of their times. Moreover, constipation severity induced by colitis was remarkably reduced in the FCAE treatment group, as demonstrated by a marked management of fecal parameters, water content, oxidative stress indicators, lipid metabolism, and intracellular mediators. Phytochemical analysis of FCAE revealed the presence of carbohydrates, polysaccharides, phenolic acids as gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, syringic acid and ellagic acid, and flavonoids (e.g. rutin, catechin, epicatechin and apeginine).

Conclusions: The obtained results indicated that FCAE exhibits a natural laxative effect without provoking diarrhea and ameliorates functional gastrointestinal (GI) and motility disorders thus justifying its traditional usage.

Keywords: Acute gastrointestinal dysmotility; Ficus carica L.; Functional gastrointestinal disorders; Intestinal physiological parameters; Rats; Ulcerative-colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / chemically induced
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / physiopathology
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Ficus*
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Gastric Emptying / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / drug effects*
  • Laxatives / analysis
  • Laxatives / pharmacology
  • Laxatives / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytochemicals / analysis
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Laxatives
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Dextran Sulfate