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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 Feb;24(2):164-71, e90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2011.01827.x. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

Prokinetic effect of a standardized yarrow (Achillea millefolium) extract and its constituent choline: studies in the mouse and human stomach.

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Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.



Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a highly prevalent gastrointestinal disorder characterized by alterations in gastric motility. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L., Fam Asteraceae) preparations are traditional remedies used to treat dyspeptic complaints. Herein, we investigated the effect of a standardized dry water extract obtained from A. millefolium flowering tops (AME) on gastric motility.


The effect of AME on motility was evaluated on the resting tone of the isolated gastric antrum and on gastric emptying in vivo (phenol red meal method) both in control mice and in the model of cancer chemotherapy (cisplatin)-induced gastric abnormalities.


The AME contracted mouse and human gastric strips and this action was unaffected by hexamethonium and tetrodotoxin, but strongly reduced by atropine. Among various chemical ingredients in yarrow, choline, but not the flavonoids rutin and apigenin, mimicked the action of AME. Furthermore, AME deprived of choline did not exert a contractile effect. In vivo, AME stimulated gastric emptying both in control and in cisplatin-treated mice, being more active in pathological states.


It is concluded that (i) AME exerts a direct spasmogenic effect on gastric antrum; (ii) choline is the chemical ingredient responsible of such effect; (iii) the prokinetic effect of AME observed in vivo could provide the pharmacological basis underlying its traditional use in the treatment of dyspepsia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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