Hawthorn Nectar Enhances Gastrointestinal Motility as Well as Stimulates Intestinal Am-ylase and Lipase Activities in Mice


Gastrointestinal (GI) digestion, which facilitates the decomposition of ingested food into absorbable small molecules for further utilization in the body, necessitates both neural- and hormonal-regulated coordination of GI motility and secretion of digestive enzymes in the GI tract. The dysregulation of such coordination is likely associated with a wide range of disorders in the digestive system. Hawthorn Nectar (HN) is a health supplement for improving the wellness of the gastrointestinal digestive system in humans. The ingredients of HN, which include hawthorn, citrus, germinated barley and honeysuckle, are commonly prescribed to increase appetite and to treat digestive disorders in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine. Pharmacological studies have also shown that these herbs can produce beneficial effects on the GI digestive system. In the present study, HN was first examined for its effects on gastric emptying and postprandial intestinal motility in mice. The activities of digestive enzymes in gastric and pancreatic juice were also measured in HN-pretreated mice. Our results showed that long-term HN treatment increased the extents of gastric emptying and postprandial intestinal motility in mice. HN pretreatment also stimulated the activities of intestinal amylase and lipase in mice, while gastric pepsin and intestinal chymotrypsin activities remained unchanged. However, intestinal trypsin activity was suppressed by HN pretreatment. In conclusion, long-term HN consumption may produce beneficial effect on GI digestive function in humans.

Share and Cite:

Zou, S. , Li, J. , Ma, C. , Chen, J. , Leong, P. , Leung, H. , Chan, W. , Wong, H. and Ko, K. (2015) Hawthorn Nectar Enhances Gastrointestinal Motility as Well as Stimulates Intestinal Am-ylase and Lipase Activities in Mice. Chinese Medicine, 6, 159-168. doi: 10.4236/cm.2015.63017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] O’Keefe, S.J. (1996) Nutrition and Gastrointestinal Disease. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 31, 52-59.
[2] Schneeman, B.O. (2002) Gastrointestinal Physiology and Functions. British Journal of Nutrition, 88, S159-S163.
[3] Duke, G.E. (1982) Gastrointestinal Motility and Its Regulation. Poultry Science, 61, 1245-1256.
[4] Stanghellini, V., Ghidini, C., Maccarini, M.R., Paparo, G.F., Corinaldesi, R. and Barbara, L. (1992) Fasting and Postprandial Gastrointestinal Motility in Ulcer and Non-Ulcer Dyspepsia. Gut, 33, 184-190.
[5] Drossman, D.A. (1999) The Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and the Rome II Process. Gut, 45, II1-II5.
[6] DeSesso, J.M. and Jacobson, C.F. (2001) Anatomical and Physiological Parameters Affecting Gastrointestinal Absorption in Humans and Rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 39, 209-228.
[7] Whitcomb, D.C. and Lowe, M.E. (2007) Human Intestinal Digestive Enzymes. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 52, 1-17.
[8] Kerkut, G.A. (1985) Regulation: Digestion, Nutrition, Excretion. Pergamon Press Ltd., Headington Hill Hall, Oxford.
[9] Koloski, N.A., Talley, N.J. and Boyce, P.M. (2000) The Impact of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders on Quality of Life. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 95, 67-71.
[10] Mayer, E.A. and Collins, S.M. (2002) Evolving Pathophysiologic Models of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Gastroenterology, 122, 2032-2048.
[11] Choi, M.G. and Jung, H.K. (2011) Health Related Quality of Life in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders in Asia. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motillity, 17, 245-251.
[12] Chinese Pharmacopoeia Commission (2010) Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China 2010. Set of 3, Chinese Edition, China Medical Science and Technology Press, Beijing.
[13] Xu, P. (1998) A Comparative Study of the Pharmacological Activities of Aqueous Extract and Volatile Oil of Citrus. Journal of Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 10, 172-173.
[14] Zhao, G., Liu, J., Lin, D., Zhang, X. and Wang, H. (2002) Studies on the Chemical Constituents in Floslonicerae. Chinese Traditional Patent Medicine, 24, 973-976.
[15] Luo, Y. and Wang, H. (2004) A Study of the Chemical Composition and Pharmacological Activities of Crataegus. Lishizhen Medicine and Materia Medica Research, 15, 53.
[16] Wang, X., Zhou, J., Jin, X. and Dai, C. (2007) Pharmacological Activities and Clinical Use of Germinated Barley. Chinese Traditional Patent Medicine, 29, 1677-1679.
[17] Zhang, X., Zhan, X. and Wang, X. (2007) The Research Progress of Crataegus. Chinese Modern Medicine, 9, 30-33.
[18] Yang, T., Ceng, Y., Xiao, F., Pu, X., Du, J. and Yang, S. (2007) Research Progress on Medicinal Barley and Its Active Substance. Journal of Triticeae Crops, 27, 1154-1158.
[19] Li, G., Liang, X. and Ge, X. (2009) The Chemical Elements of Hawthorn and Their Health-Care Functions. Jiangsu Condiment and Subsidiary Food, 6, 25-27.
[20] Kumar, D., Arya, V., Ali Bhat, Z., Khan, N.A. and Prasad, D.N. (2012) The Genus Crataegus: Chemical and Pharmacological Perspectives. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia, 22, 1187-1200.
[21] Lam, Y. (2012) Progress in Research on the Effects of Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae on Digestive System. Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1, 37-40.
[22] Wu, J., Peng, W., Qin, R. and Zhou, H. (2014) Crataegus pinnatifida: Chemical Constituents, Pharmacology, and Potential Applications. Molecules, 19, 1685-1712.
[23] Ou, X., Lin, Q. and Huang, X. (2004) Research on Gastrointestinal Movement of the Big Fruit Hawthorn in Mice. Journal of Guangxi Traditional Chinese Medical University, 3, 6-9.
[24] Wang, T., An, Y., Zhao, C., Han, L., Boakye-Yiadom, M., Wang, W. and Zhang, Y. (2011) Regulation Effects of Crataegus pinnatifida Leaf on Glucose and Lipids Metabolism. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59, 4987-4994.
[25] Se, N.Y., Sang, J.M., Sung, K.K., Byung, O.I. and Sung, H.C. (2004) Wild Ginseng Prevents the Onset of High-Fat Diet Induced Hyperglycemia and Obesity in ICR Mice. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 27, 790-796.
[26] Benedicte, Y.D.W., Albert, J.B., Joris, G.D.M., Tom, G.M., Arnold, G.H. and Paul, A.P. (2002) Effect of Inhibition of Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase and Guanylyl Cyclase on Endotoxin-Induced Delay in Gastric Emptying and Intestinal Transit in Mice. Shock, 18, 125-131.
[27] Inge, D., Benedicte, D.W., Theo, T., Joris, D.M., Paul, P. and Theo, P. (2005) Comparison of the Gastroprokinetic Effects of Ghrelin, GHRP-6 and Motilin in Rats in Vivo and in Vitro. European Journal of Pharmacology, 515, 160-168.
[28] Miller, M.S., Galligan, J.J. and Burks, T.F. (1981) Accurate Measurement of Intestinal Transit in the Rat. Journal of Pharmacological Methods, 6, 211-217.
[29] Hitoshi, T., Chamelli, J., Richard, S. and Glenn, M. (1992) Hypertrophic Gastropathy Resembling Menetrier’s Disease in Transgenic Mice Overexpressing Transforming Growth Factor α in the Stomach. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 90, 1161-1167.
[30] Every, A.L., Ng, G.Z., Skene, C.D., Harbour, S.N., Walduck, A.K., McGuckin, M.A. and Sutton, P. (2011) Localized Suppression of Inflammation at Sites of Helicobacter pylori Colonization. Infection and Immunity, 79, 4186-4192.
[31] Nalinanon, S., Benjakul, S. and Kishimura, H. (2010) Purification and Biochemical Properties of Pepsins from the Stomach of Skiphack Tuna (Katsuwonus pelanmis). European Food Research and Technology, 231, 259-269.
[32] Enzymatic Assay of PEPSIN (EC, Sigma Quality Control Test Procedure. Sigma Web.
[33] Roy, D.M. and Schneeman, B.O. (1981) Effect of Soy Protein, Casein and Trypsin Inhibitor on Cholesterol, Bile Acids and Intestinal Enzymes in Mice. Journal of Nutrition, 111, 878-885.
[34] Sharifi, M., Gitgar, M.G., Ghadayari, M. and Ajamhasani, M. (2012) Identification and Characterization of Midgut Digestive Proteases from Rosaceous Branch Borer, Osphranteria coerulescens (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Romanian Journal of Biochemistry, 49, 33-47.
[35] Castillo-Yáñez, F.J., Pacheco-Aguilar, R., García-Carreño, F.L. and Navarrete-Del, T.M.L. (2005) Isolation and Characterization of Trypsin from Pyloric Caeca of Monterey Sardine Sardinops sagax caerulea. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 140, 91-98.
[36] Thompson, S., Fawcett, M.C., Pulman, L.B. and Self, C.H. (2006) A Simple Procedure for the Photoregulation of Chymotrypsin Activity. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 5, 326-330.
[37] Xiao, Z., Storms, R. and Tsang, A. (2006) A Quantitative Starch-Iodine Method for Measuring Alpha-Amylase and Glucoamylase Activities. Analytical Biochemistry, 351, 146-148.
[38] German, D.P., Horn, M.H. and Gawlicka, A. (2004) Digestive Enzyme Activities in Herbivorous and Carnivorous Prickleback Fishes (Teleostei: Stichaeidae): Ontogenetic, Dietary, and Phylogenetic Effects. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 77, 789-804.
[39] Gawlicka, A., Parent, B., Horn, M.H., Ross, N., Opstad, I. and Torrissen, O.J. (2000) Activity of Digestive Enzymes in Yolk-Sac Larvae of Atlantic Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus): Indication of Readiness for First Feeding. Aquaculture, 184, 303-314.
[40] O’Brien-MacDonald, K., Brown, J.A. and Parrish, C.C. (2006) Growth, Behavior, and Digestive Enzyme Activity in Larval Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) in Relation to Rotifer Lipad. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 63, 275-284.
[41] Owyang, C., Louie, D.S. and Tatum, D. (1986) Feedback Regulation of Intestinal Enzyme Secretion. Suppression of Cholecystokinin Release by Trypsin. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 77, 2042-2047.
[42] Owyang, C., May, D. and Louie, D.S. (1986) Trypsin Suppression of Intestinal Enzyme Secretion. Differential Effect on Cholecystokinin Release and the Enterointestinal Reflex. Gastroenterology, 91, 637-643.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.