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Drugs Acting on the Gastro Intestinal Tract

The GIT can be divided into three regions --the upper (mouth, stomach and upper portion
of duodenum), the middle (lower half of the duodenum to the ileocolic sphincter) and the
lower (caecum, colon and rectum).

Bitters: Used in liquid medicaments to stimulate appetite. The bitter constituents


stimulate the gustatory nerves in the mouth and give rise to an increase in the psychic
secretion of gastric juice eg. Quassia, Cinchona, Nux vomica.

Anticholinergic drugs: Hyoscine and hyosciamine help disturbances caused by


gastric mobility on muscle spasm particularly with some ulcer patients.

Emetics: Ipecacuanha preparation on oral administration have a delayed emetic action


produced by irritation of mucous membrane.

Carminatives: These are aromatic substances which assist the eructation reflex, their
mode of action is obscure. Dill oil is used for relief of flatulence. Eg. Fennel, cinnamon,
chamomile etc.

Laxatives and purgatives: Purgatives may be classed according to the mode of


action.
Drugs
Agar,

Botanical source &


family
Gelidium and Pterocladia

Action & uses

(Gelidiaceae)

which functions as bulk

psyllium and
Isapghol
Senna

Hydrophillic colloids
producing laxative

Plantago ovata
( Plantaginaceae)
Cassia angustifolia

Contain anthraquinone

(Leguminosae)

derivatives, act as laxative

by irritating the gastric


Cascara

Rhamnus purshiana

mucosa
Same as senna

(Rhamnaceae)
Rhubarb

Rheum emodi
(Polygonaceae)

Aloes
Castor oil

Aloe barbadensis
(Liliaceae)
Ricinus communis

Contain glycerides which

(Euphorbiaceae)

on hydrolysis yield
riconoleic acid, irritant to

Podophyllum resin,

Podophyllum hexandrum

the small bowel


Drastic purgative

(Berberidaceae)
Jalap resin

Ipomoea purga
(Convolvulaceae)

Drugs acting on GIT/Digestive


SENNA
B. Source: Senna consists of the dried leaflets and fruits of Cassia acutifolia known in
commerce as Alexandrian Senna and Cassia angustifolia known in commerce as
Tinevelly senna.
Family: Leguminosae.
Geographical source:Tropical Africa, Sudan, Somaliland, Arabia, & South India
History: Senna appears to have been used since the 9th or 10th century, its introduction
into medicine being due to Arabian physicians, who used both the leaves & pods for its
laxative property. It was formerly exported to Alexandria, from where the name
Alexandrian senna is derived.

Morphology

Condition
Type
Size
Colour
Apex

Alexandrian
Dry
Paripinnately compound leaflets
2 4cm (L) , 7 12mm (W)
Pale grayish green
Acute apex with sharp spine

Indian
Dry
Paripinnately compound leaflets
2.5 6 cm(L), 7 8mm (W)
Grayish green
less acute with sharp spine

Shape
Base
Margin
Surface
Texture
Venation

(mucronate)
Ovate to lanceolate
Uniformly lanceolate
Unequal (more asymmetrical)
Less asymmetrical
Entire , curled
Entire
More pubescent
Less pubescent with press markings
Thin and brittle
Firm and flexible
Pinnate veins anatomizing towards Pinnate veins anatomizing towards

Gen.

margin
Less entire(more broken)

margin
Entire(less broken)

Appearance
Odour
Faint
Taste
Mucilaginous and slightly bitter

Faint
Mucilaginous and slightly bitter

.
Chemical constituents: Anthracene glycosides
Sennoside A,Sennoside B, Sennoside C and D.
Free aglycones: Rhein, Aloe-emodin

Flavonoids kaempferol, isorhamnetin

Uses: Used as laxative. In general all anthraquinones containing drugs cause irritation of
the muscular coat of large intestine and have some griping effect, thus they are prescribed
along with other carminatives.
Borntragers test: The drug is boiled with dilute sulphuric acid, filtered and to the
filtrate organic solvent like benzene, chloroform or ether is added and shaken well.
The organic layer is separated to which ammonia is added slowly. The ammoniacal
layer shows pink to red colour due to the presence of anthraquinone glycoside.

FENNEL FRUIT
Botanical Source: the dried ripe fruits of Foeniculum vulgare Family: Umbelliferae
Geographical source: Cultivated in Europe ,India, China and Egypt
MORPHOLOGY OF FENNEL FRUIT

Type: Cremocarp with one seeded mericarps


Shape: Straight or very slightly curved, tapering slightly towards the base and apex.
Often crowned with a short curved bifid stylopod and bearing a thin pedical at the base.
Size: 8 to 10mm.long, up to 4mm wide
Odour: Aromatic

Taste: Sweet and aromatic


Colour: Greenish or yellowish- brown
Surface characters: each mericarp has two surfaces-dorsal or commissural surface
(ventral)
Dorsal surface: is glabrous with five straight prominent primary ridges and stylopod at
the apex
Commissural surface: is flat and shows the carpophore which holds the two mericarp
together.
Active constituents:
3-7% of volatile oil which contains 50 to 60% of Anethole and 20% of Fenchone (a
ketone). Anethole is a phenolic ether and is aromatic and has sweet odour and taste.
Fennel also contains 20% of fixed oil and proteins.
Uses:

1. Aromatic, carminative and flavouring agent.


2. Spasmolytic and stomachic
IPECAC
B Source: Ipecac consists of the dried roots and rhizomes of Cephaelis ipecacuanha
and C. acuminata It contains not less than 2% of total alkaloids of ipecacuanha of which
50% should be emetine.Family: Rubiaceae
Geographical source: Brazil, India, Mayanmar and Malaysia

Macroscopy:

Size: 5 to 15 cm long and 4 to 6 mm thick.


Surface: Exhibits as annulated bark which is often separated completely from the
wood. These annulations are broad, rounded and completely encircle the root.
Shape: Roughly cylindrical and tortuous.
Colour: The bark varies in colour from reddish-brown to very dark brown. The wood is
yellow.
Fracture: short. (Bark), splintery (wood)
Fractured surface: Usually horny or starchy in the bark and splintery in the wood.
Odour: Unpleasant
Taste: Bitter.

Active constituents:
A mixture of Isoquinoline alkaloids (2-5%) consisting of Cephaeline (about 30%),
Emetine (70%), it also contains psychotrine, methyl psychotrine and emetamine.
Uses: It is used as expectorant, emetic and anti-amoebic.
ISAPGOL
Source: Isapgol consists of the dried seeds of Plantago ovata. Family: Plantaginaceae
Geographical source: Pakistan, India
Chemical constituents:
Carbohydrates-Mucilage (Pentosan + Aldobionic acid)
Fixed oil and proteins
Therapeutically and pharmaceutical uses
1. Demulcent
2. Bulk laxative in chronic constipation
3. In chronic dysentery of amoebic and bacillary origin