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Crude extracts from five Thai medicinal plants traditionally employed as carminatives, viz :-Zingiber officinale, Zingiber cassumunar, Murraya paniculata, Ocimum sanctum and Allium ascalonicum were studied on guinea pig ileum and rat uterus. Tonicity of guinea pig ileum was lowered by ‘Z’. officinale, Z. cassumunar and A. ascalonicum, unaffected by O. sanctum; and conversely, contraction was induced by M. paniculata . Z. cassumunar exhibited the most potent tonicity-reducing action. Effects of acetylcholine and histamine were depressed by all extracts, whose effects were reversible upon washing. Z. officinale exhibited the most powerful blocking effect. Rat uterus was not affected by Z. officinale, Z. cassumunar and M. paniculata alone; but contraction was produced by O. sanctum and A. ascalonicum. All extracts inhibited the contraction response to acetylcholine. The inhibiting effects were reversible with all extracts except Z. cassumunar. There may be multiple mechanisms associated to the carminative and emmenagogue actions of the plants studied. Spasmolytic property may be only a part of the actions.
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