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Hot-water extract of the branches of Hovenia dulcis Thunb. (Rhamnaceae) ameliorates low-fiber diet-induced constipation in rats

Authors Choi CY, Cho SS, Yoon IS

Received 29 August 2017

Accepted for publication 7 November 2017

Published 3 April 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 695—703

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S150284

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Jianbo Sun


Chul-Yung Choi,1 Seung-Sik Cho,2 In-Soo Yoon3

1Department of Natural Medicine Research, Jeonnam Institute of Natural Resources Research, Jangheung-gun, 2Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy and Natural Medicine Research Institute, Mokpo National University, Muan-gun, Jeonnam, 3Department of Manufacturing Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Pusan National University, Geumjeong-gu, Busan, South Korea

Abstract: Hovenia dulcis Thunb. (Rhamnaceae), also known as oriental raisin tree, is used in traditional herbal medicine. Its extracts have been reported to show various pharmacological effects such as hepatoprotection, antitumor, antiatopic dermatitis, antilipid peroxidation, antisteatotic, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergic activities. However, there have been no reports on the effect of H. dulcis extracts in relieving constipation so far. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a hot-water extract of the branches of H. dulcis (WEHD) on low-fiber diet-induced constipation in Sprague Dawley rats. The in vivo laxative activity of WEHD was assessed by measuring the intestinal transit of charcoal meal and stool parameters. Furthermore, the in vitro spasmogenic activity of WEHD was evaluated by monitoring the temporal profiles of contraction of rat colon in the absence or presence of WEHD. In addition, constituent profiling was conducted using high-performance liquid chromatography analysis. Pretreatment with WEHD significantly enhanced the intestinal transit of charcoal meal and increased the frequency and weight of stools in rats. In addition, the frequency and amplitude of contractile responses of isolated rat colon were markedly enhanced by WEHD. Two organic phenolic acids, ferulic and vanillic acids, were identified in WEHD, of which vanillic acid exhibited spasmogenic activity. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report the laxative and spasmogenic activities of H. dulcis and its constituents, suggesting that WEHD can serve as a complementary and/or alternative laxative in alleviating chronic constipation.

Keywords: Hovenia dulcis, constipation, low-fiber diet, charcoal meal, vanillic acid, laxative

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