Herbal Drugs and Their Spasmodic Effects – Part 1

The typically synthesized derivatives, to mention a few, such as isoflavones, ketamine benzaldehyde or benzyl cinnamate thalidomide mebeverine hydrochloride verapamil and midazolam, are currently used in pharmaceutical drug industry as antispasmodic and vasodilators. However, a large number of herbal remedies of plant isolates proved just as effective and useful.

Herbal drugs in general, are often used in urinary tract diseases such as inflammation of the lower urinary tract, kidney and bladder, and also benign prostata hyperplasia. They usually show mild aquaretic / diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antispasmodic actions. Aniba canelilla (Mez) is a medicinal plant used in the Amazon folkas therapeutic , antispasmodic, anti-diuretic, carminative, tonic agent. It is used also as a stimulant of the digestive and central nervous system; the plant essential oil has analgesic activity. The hydroalcoholic extracts of Achillea millefolium L. (AM) and Artemisia vulgaris L. (AV), both belonging to the Asteraceae family, confirm their folk use as analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic agents.

The antispasmodic effects of methyleugenol from the essential oil of Artemisia dracunculus is reported to possess bitter, stimulant, tonic, antispasmodic and anthelmintic properties. Artemisia scoparia Waldst and kit (Compositae) is a source of immense medicinal and pharmaceutical importance, such as Scoparone, Rutin and Esculetin which are effective as immunosuppressants, hepatoprotective, antispasmodic, hypotensive, antiatherogenic, anti-inflammatory agents.

St John’s Wart (Hypericum perforatum) is famous for its many medicinal uses. The crude extract of aerial parts and its fractions were studied in vitro for its possible spasmolytic and bronchodilator activities. The composites of are sold as pills in over-the-counter herbal remedies in pharmacies.

Of the several hallucinogenic plant constiuents; papavrine, morphine and opium were shown to have sedative and antispasmodic effects, besides their addictive nature and other deleterious effects when often misused.

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is an ancient, highly significant and popular plant species with proven pharmaceutical value especially, against human chronic diseases in modern medicine. Among the opium alkaloids, morphine is a strong analgesic, while codeine is anti-tussive and papaverine antispasmodic. Besides being a potent pain killer, morphine, the largest component of opium, exhibits a combination of depression and stimulation in the central nervous system. India is a unique country where opium poppy is legitimately cultivated for gum latex as per WHO guidelines.

Hyoscine, another hallucinogenic and poisonous plant constituents, experience wide use in phamacetical drug industry. Hyoscine butylbromide (tradenames: Buscopan/Buscapina) is an antispasmodic drug for the treatment of abdominal pain associated with gastrointestinal cramping. As a hyoscine derivative, it competitively inhibits muscarinic acetylcholine receptors on smooth muscle cells in the gastrointestinal tract…

The natural and often common -day used plant materials as spices and flavouring in food products are cardamom, pepper ginger and mint. These were found to have some spasmodic effects as well.As an example the “gastrointestinal tea” contains natural cardamom (seed), pomegranate (grains), long red pepper (foeti), physocarpous siberian (roots), berry apple (foeti), red bartsia (herb) of specified proportions have anti-inflammatory action; enzyme normalization of gastrointestinal tract; improvement of gastric juice enzymatic activity; antispasmodic and analgesic action…

Ginger (rhizome of Zingiber officinale) is a well known herb for its culinary and wide range of medicinal uses, and is considered an essential component of the kitchen pharmacy. More commonly, ginger has been traditionally used in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, as a stomachic, laxative, sialog gue, gastric emptying enhancer, appetizer, antiemetic, antidyspepsic, antispasmodic, and antiulcer agent with sufficient scientific support. Similarly, ginger has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic, anti- migraine, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, diuretic, and hypocholes

The use of mint species in traditional and conventional medicine is mostly due to the presence of two classes of secondary monoterpenoids in essential oils and different structural types of phenolic compounds. Essential oils are known to act as antimicrobial, antispasmodic, carminative, and antiviral agents. In addition, the essential oils of several mint species have been recently qualified as natural antioxidants.

Psidium guajava L has an edible fruit when ripe and has a pleasant aroma. Guava has been a widely used folkloric medicine in China, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Tropical America. Being rich in polyphenolics and flavonoids, it exhibits many therapeutic uses including amebicide, analgesic, vermifuge, antimalarial, antibacterial, colic-relief, antispasmodic, astringent, antiulcerous, gastrototonic cough suppressant, hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, diarrheal, some psychic diseases and hyperglycaemia.

Other plant parts that can mentioned here for their spasmodic effects are: Tribulus terrestris Linn; different parts of which are highly prized remedy amongst the people of India. Since ancient periods, the fruit is used as demulcent, diuretic, antispasmodic and aphrodisiac. The fruits have been identified by their macroscopic and microscopic characters, cell contents, the behavior of powdered drug with different reagents and preliminary phytochemical analysis.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L..) is traditionally used against inflammatory and spasmodic gastrointestinal complaints, hepato-biliary disorders, as an appetite enhancing drug, against skin inflammations and for wound healing, due to its antiphlogistic, choleretic and spasmolytic properties. The main pharmacologically active principles were shown to be the essential oil (antimicrobial), proazulenes and other sesquiterpene lactones (antiphlogistic), dicaffeoylquinic acids (choleretic) and flavonoids (antispasmodic).

‘Tian-ma’ (Gastrodia elata Blume) is an effective analgesic and antispasmodic agent and there are some counterfeits in the Chinese traditional medicine

Turkey is the biggest exporter of oregano herb and oil to the world markets. The Oregano herb is mainly used in food, spice and pharmaceutical industries. Carvacrol is responsible for the biological activities. Many diverse activities claimed for carvacrol include antimicrobial, antitumor, antimutagenic, antigenotoxic, analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, angiogenic, antiparasitic and antiplatelet coagulation properties.