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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2010 Sep;22(9):1036-41, e269-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2010.01512.x. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

Effects of the Tibetan herbal formula Padma Lax on visceral nociception and contractility of longitudinal smooth muscle in a rat model.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Inselspital/University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland.



The high prevalence of functional bowel disorders among the general population contrasts with the limited number of pharmacological treatment options for this condition. This has led to an interest for alternative therapeutic approaches. Padma Lax is an herbal laxative on the basis of Tibetan formulas. Our aim is to examine the effect of Padma Lax on visceral nociception in vivo and (B) on contractile activity of longitudinal smooth muscle of the lower gut in vitro and ex vivo.


(A) Visceral sensory function in response to colorectal distension was assessed by abdominal wall electromyography in male Wistar rats pretreated with Padma Lax. (B) Effects of Padma Lax on contractility of gut smooth muscles were studied both in vitro with superfusion of the agent and ex vivo following oral administration of the preparation. Activities were measured as area under the curve.


(A) For visceral sensitivity, no differences were observed between the Padma Lax and the control group. (B) Proximal colon muscle strips of the Padma Lax pretreated group showed significantly lower spontaneous contractility ex vivo than controls. Cholinergic procontractile stimulation was reduced in Padma Lax pretreated group and in colon strips of naive rats when Padma Lax was superfused in vitro (all P < 0.05).


Cholinergic mechanisms appear to be important in the modulation of rat proximal colon contractility of orally and directly applied Padma Lax. These findings help elucidate a potential mechanism of action of this herbal remedy which has undergone clinical testing in patients with constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome.

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