Therapeutic effect of Moringa oleifera leaves on constipation mice based on pharmacodynamics and serum metabonomics

J Ethnopharmacol. 2022 Jan 10:282:114644. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2021.114644. Epub 2021 Sep 14.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Moringa oleifera is native to India, and has been introduced to China in recent years. Moringa oleifera leaves (MOL), as Ayurvedic medicine, has efficacy of Pachana karma (digestive) and Virechana karma (purgative). Folium Sennae (FS), Rhubarb (RB), Aloe vera (AV), Hemp seed (HS) are commonly used as laxatives in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which have different characteristics. However, the intensity of the diarrheal effect of MOL and its mechanism of action are unclear.

Aim of the study: The methods of pharmacology and omics were used to compare the purgative effects of MOL and FS, RB, AV, HS, and their effects on metabolomics, to analyze the purgative characteristics and related mechanisms of MOL.

Materials and methods: C57BL/6J mouse model of constipation was established by feeding low-fiber food. Feces parameters and colon pathology were used to evaluate the effect of FS, RB, AV, HS and MOL. And mass spectrometry-based serum metabolomics was performed. The differential metabolites of these herbs in the treatment of constipation were obtained by OPLS-DA analysis. Furthermore, pathway analysis was conducted based on different metabolites.

Results: Moringa leaves can adjust the stool number, wet fecal weight and fecal water content to varying degrees to achieve laxative effects, and recover colon muscle thickness and mucus. Analysis of metabolomics results showed that 71 metabolites from LC-MS datasets between model group and control group were obtained. 29, 12, 44, 29 and 20 metabolites were significantly reversed by FS, RB, AV, HS, MOL compared with model group respectively. According to the metabolic pathways, RB and AV may be clustered into a similar category, and MOL, FS and HS showed similarity of metabolic characteristics.

Conclusion: The purgative effect of MOL is inferior to that of FS, and stronger than that of AV, RB and HS. The metabolic pathway for constipation is more similar to that of FS. MOL has a long-lasting and mild effect of laxative, increasing defecation volume and water content of feces, and may become a fewer side effects medicine to treat constipation.

Keywords: Constipation; Metabonomic; Moringa oleifera leaves.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colon / drug effects
  • Colon / pathology
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / adverse effects
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Laxatives / chemistry
  • Laxatives / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Moringa oleifera / chemistry*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Random Allocation
  • Senna Extract / pharmacology


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Laxatives
  • Plant Extracts
  • Senna Extract