The inhibitory effect of Haloxylon salicornicum on contraction of the mouse uterus

Nabila H. Saleem, Valerie A. Ferro, Ann M. Simpson, John Igoli, Alexander I. Gray, Robert M. Drummond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Haloxylon salicornicum (H. salicornicum) is a plant that is frequently taken as a tea by Bedouin women in Egypt who are experiencing difficulties during pregnancy, as well as to provide relief from dysmenorrhoea. Despite its medical use, there has been no detailed evaluation of the effect of this plant on uterine tissue. Therefore, the initial aim of this study was to determine whether H. salicornicum affected the contraction of the mouse uterus in vitro. The crude aqueous extract of H. salicornicum was found to inhibit the spontaneous contractions of the uterus, with the effect being rapid in onset and completely reversible upon washout. Subsequent purification of the plant extract resulted in the identification of synephrine and Nmethyltyramine, both of which were found to have inhibitory effects on the spontaneous contractions of the uterus. The EC50 for the purified constituent identified as synephrine was 0.82 ± 0.24 g/ml. The inhibitory activity of crude H. salicornicum, as well as the isolated constituents, could be prevented by pretreatment of the uterus with the -adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol. In conclusion, the use of H. salicornicum during pre-term labour appears to be justified and its pharmacologic effect is consistent with it acting as a -adrenoceptor agonist.
Original languageEnglish
Article number714075
Number of pages10
JournalEvidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Early online date23 Sept 2013
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sept 2013


  • haloxylon salicornicum
  • mouse uterus
  • inhibitory effect
  • contraction


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