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Phytomedicine. 2006;13 Suppl 5:67-74. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Spasmolytic and tonic effect of Iberogast (STW 5) in intestinal smooth muscle.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


STW 5 (Iberogast) is a fixed combination of nine medicinal plant extracts effective in the treatment of functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome. The effects of STW 5, a combination of Iberis amara fresh plant extract, and other eight plant extracts as well as single extract components including extracts from Menthae piperitae folium, Matricariae flos and Liquiritiae radix, were assayed in guinea pig ileum with or without stimulation with acetylcholine or histamine, in order to find a possible effect on the contractility of intestinal smooth muscle. STW 5 decreased acetylcholine- and histamine-induced contraction of guinea pig ileum. This was also true for extracts of Menthae piperitae folium, Matricariae flos and L. radix. Extract from I. amara, however, showed no spasmolytic action; in contrary, it increased the basal resting tone and contraction of atonic ileal segments. This was also true when STW 5 was employed. A spasmolytic action of STW 5 could also be observed in duodenum, jejunum and colon. These data are the first to show not only the spasmolytic effects of STW 5 and its component extracts in intestinal muscle but also the tonicising effects of STW 5 through its component Iberis amara extract in relaxed intestinal muscle. Thus, pharmacological evidence suggests a dual-action principle and may explain, at least in part, the clinically observed therapeutic efficacy of STW 5 (Iberogast) in both hypotonic and spastic dysmotility symptoms of functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome.

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