• acid lactase;
  • isomaltase;
  • maltase;
  • sucrase;
  • T. cordifolia;
  • disaccharide intolerance

Disaccharide intolerance is the inability to digest certain carbohydrates due to a lack of one or more intestinal disaccharidases (e.g., lactase, maltase, isomaltase and sucrase). Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal distention and flatulence. Management of the disorder by external enzymes supplementation has not yet been attempted. We report that the medicinal plant Tinospora cordifolia contains substantial amounts of all disaccharidases required for intestinal digestion of carbohydrates. The plant is also a rich source of saccharifying amylase. We recovered (units/100 g fresh stem) amylase: 49,000 + 500, maltase: 400 + 50, isomaltase: 130 + 50, sucrase: 4500 + 500, acid lactase: 350 + 30, cellobiase: 35 + 10 and trehalase: 40 + 10 by buffer extraction of the blended stem. Crude enzymes in the forms of stem powder, lyophilized aqueous extract and ethanol precipitated protein were found to be stable. Disaccharidases were optimally active at 50 0C in the pH range of 4–5. Lactase was an acid lactase similar to the type linked with human lactose intolerance. Enzymes were catalytically stable in the pH range of 2–7 and temperature range of up to 40 0C. T. cordifolia enzyme was non-toxic up to a dose of 200 mg protein/kg body weight. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.