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Keywords:

  • Phyllanthus emblica;
  • Eurphorbiaceae;
  • prokinetic;
  • laxative;
  • muscarinic receptors

This study was aimed to provide pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of Phyllanthus emblica fruit in indigestion and constipation using the in-vivo and in-vitro assays. The crude extract of the dried fruits of Phyllanthus emblica (Pe.Cr) and its fractions were tested positive for alkaloids, saponins, tannins, terpenes, flavonoids, sterols and coumarins. Pe.Cr at the doses of 100 and 300 mg/kg exhibited the prokinetic and laxative activities in mice, which were found partially sensitive to atropine. In isolated guinea-pig ileum and rabbit jejunum, the crude extract and its aqueous fraction (Pe.Aq) caused concentration-dependent and partially atropine-sensitive stimulatory effects followed by relaxation at higher tested concentrations, being more efficacious in guinea pig, while more potent in rabbit tissues. The petroleum fraction (0.003–0.1 mg/mL) exhibited fully atropine-sensitive contractions in both guinea-pig and rabbit tissues. However, the ethyl acetate and chloroform fractions (0.003–1.0 mg/mL) showed only spasmolytic activity when studied in spontaneously contracting rabbit jejunum. This study showed that the Phyllanthus emblica possesses prokinetic and laxative activities in mice along with spasmodic effect in the isolated tissues of guinea pig and rabbit, mediated partially through activation of muscarinic receptors; thus, this study provides a rationale for the medicinal use of Phyllanthus emblica fruits in indigestion and constipation. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.