Research on mechanism of charred hawthorn on digestive through modulating "brain-gut" axis and gut flora

J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Dec 5:245:112166. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.112166. Epub 2019 Aug 14.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Hawthorn is a traditional Chinese medicine for high-calorie-diet-induced dyspepsia (HC-DID) for thousands of years old. Based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory and clinical and non-clinical trials, its stir-frying processed product, charred hawthorn, possesses better effect. At present, most research mainly focuses on chemical constituents of hawthorn before and after stir-frying process, but there is no relevant action-mechanism study about fragrant odor promoting HC-DID during the stir-frying process of the hawthorn.

Aim of the study: The purpose of the present study is to research on mechanism of hawthorn decoction coupled with odor of charred hawthorn on digestive in rats with HC-DID.

Materials and methods: The SPF Kunming (KM) mice and Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into 7 groups: control group, model group, cisapride group, hawthorn group (HT), charred hawthorn group (CHT), odor of charred hawthorn (OCHT), CHT + OCHT group. The rats were modeled as HC-DID, whose treatment by intragastric administration and odor administration. Obvious symptoms of HC-DID were observed. Gastrointestinal motility were detected. Histopathology was performed in hypothalamus and gastrointestinal tract. Related brain-gut peptides were assayed in serum, hypothalamus and gastrointestinal tract. Illumina Miseq platform was used for 16S rDNA high-throughput sequencing to detect the intestinal flora structure of the caecum of rats.

Results: Traditional Chinese medicine decoction of hawthorn (HT and CHT) regulated the body weight, food intake, gastrointestinal motility and abnormal secretion of brain-gut peptides in rats with HC-DID, and the odor of charred hawthorn also had good curative effect for it. Moreover, the intestinal dysbiosis was induced by high-calorie diet in rats with dyspepsia, and hawthorn decoction could ease this trend.

Conclusion: The above study showed that hawthorn decoction coupled with the odor of charred hawthorn effectively alleviate HC-DID in rats by regulating the "Brain-Gut" axis and gut flora. Odor treatment of hawthorn could be a potential therapeutic approach for HC-DID.

Keywords: Bi-directional brain-gut interactions; Gut flora; Hawthorn decoction; High-calorie-diet-induced dyspepsia; Odor treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Cooking*
  • Crataegus*
  • Dysbiosis / drug therapy*
  • Dysbiosis / metabolism
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / anatomy & histology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology
  • Mice
  • Odorants*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Volatilization


  • Peptides
  • Plant Preparations