The present study was conducted to clarify the effects of Dai-kenchu-to on accelerated small intestinal movement. We evaluated the effects of Dai-kenchu-to and its constituent herbs (dried ginger root, ginseng, zanthoxylum fruit, and malt sugar) on carbachol-accelerated mouse small intestinal transit, and contractions induced by low-frequency electrostimulation (ESC), KCl, or acetylcholine (ACh) using isolated guinea pig ileum. Dai-kenchu-to (10—300 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly improved carbachol-accelerated small intestinal transit in a dose-dependent manner. Using a concentration with the compounded rate for Dai-kenchu-to 300 mg/kg, carbachol-accelerated small intestinal transit was also significantly improved with a single dose of dried ginger root or ginseng. At a concentration of 3×10-5
g/ml or less, Dai-kenchu-to, dried ginger root, and ginseng all inhibited ESC but not KCl- or ACh-induced contractions. However, at a higher concentration of Dai-kenchu-to (10-4
g/ml) or zanthoxylum fruit (10-5
g/ml or more) the ESC were enhanced. Both Dai-kenchu-to and dried ginger root at 10-3
g/ml remarkably inhibited the KCl-induced contractions. These results indicate that Dai-kenchu-to improves accelerated small intestinal movement and that dried ginger root and ginseng may be involved in this effect. It is also thought that the mechanisms mainly involve the direct inhibition of smooth muscle but with a contribution from neural inhibition.
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