Gastrointestinal stimulant effect of Urginea indica Kunth. and involvement of muscarinic receptors

Saima Abbas, Samra Bashir, Aslam Khan, Malik Hassan Mehmood, Anwarul Hassan Gilani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Urginea indica Kunth. (Family; Liliaceae) was studied for its gastrointestinal stimulant effect to rationalize the traditional medicinal uses as a digestive aid, stomachic and laxative. The crude aqueous-methanol extract of Urginea indica bulb (Ui.Cr) was tested on mice and isolated gut preparations. Ui.Cr, which was tested positive for alkaloids, tannins and coumarins, increased faecal output and accelerated charcoal meal transit in mice (6-12mg/kg, p.o.), similar to that caused by carbachol (10mg/kg). Ui.Cr (0.01-1mg/mL) caused a spasmogenic effect in guinea-pig ileum that was reproduced in rabbit jejunum (0.01-0.3mg/mL) followed by relaxation at a higher concentration. Like carbachol, the stimulant effect of Ui.Cr was blocked by atropine, suggesting the activation of muscarinic receptors mediating the prokinetic effect. Ui.Cr (0.01-5.0mg/mL) also inhibited K+ (80mm)-induced contraction in rabbit jejunum and shifted the Ca2+ concentration-response curves to the right, similar to verapamil, a standard calcium channel blocker. These data, indicating the presence of a gastrointestinal stimulant effect in Urginea indica possibly mediated through a cholinergic mechanism, provide a rationale for the use of Urginea indica in indigestion and constipation. The presence of a calcium antagonist effect in the plant may help to alleviate untoward effects of the plant that may result from an excessive increase in gut motility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-708
Number of pages5
JournalPhytotherapy Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Urginea indica
  • cholinergic
  • guinea-pig ileum
  • gut stimulant
  • mice
  • rabbit jejunum


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