Evaluation of Laxative Activity of Panchachurnam: an Ayurvedic Polyherbomineral Formulation


K.V.V.S. Krishna*, P. Ajay Kumar, P. Akhila, N. Samhitha, P.N.S.G. Suryaveni, P. Harika Kumari, P. Sandeep Kumar.

Department of Pharmacognosy, Aditya College of Pharmacy, Surampalem, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India - 533 437.

*Corresponding Author E-mail: kvvskrishna@rediffmail.com



Panchachurnam is one of the classical Ayurvedic preparations traditionally used as laxative; it is prepared by mixing equal proportions of powdered Cassia angustifolia Vahl. leaf, Terminalia chebula Retz. fruit, Zingiber officinale Rosc. rhizome, Foeniculum vulgare Mill. fruit and Saindhava lavana. Even though this drug has been used based on traditional knowledge, no scientific work has been done to evaluate its laxative activity. Therefore, the aqueous extract of Panchachurnam was analyzed for its laxative activity using Wistar rats and it has shown significant action at all the tested doses when compared to standard and control, while highest activity exhibited by the higher concentration (400mg/ml) which assures the ethno-medicinal claim. The present study suggested that, Panchachurnam has great potential as a laxative and can be used as an alternative medicine in the treatment of constipation.


KEYWORDS: Panchachurnam, Constipation, Senna, Laxative activity.




Constipation and evacuation difficulty symptoms are common in the general population, refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. It is characterized by passage of lumpy or hard stools, requiring straining, sensation of incomplete evacuation, sensation of anorectic obstruction or blockage and fewer than three defecations per week. Constipation is considered as one of the most common symptom of GI system. It accounts for about 3 to 30% of visit to paediatric gastroenterologists in developed countries, and in India the percentage lies in between 5-29.



Only a small percentage of children do have an organic cause for constipation. Beyond the neonatal period, the most common cause of constipation is functional and has been called idiopathic constipation, functional faecal retention, and faecal withholding. In 17 to 40% of cases, constipation starts at the first year of life. Different treatment modalities are available but most commonly used are laxatives. But Treatment with classic drugs is associated with side effects such as bloating, abdominal cramps or pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea enteritis and colorectal dysfunction. If constipation not treated early may lead to chronic abdominal pain, faecal incontinence and complication like enuresis, faecal soiling, anxiety etc. Due to the high prevalence rate, economic burden and adverse complications on the quality of life makes constipation a major public health issue. So, there is need to find out a drug which is safer, palatable for children and more effective in treating constipation1-13.

In traditional Ayurvedic system of Medicine, many formulations are available for the treatment of constipation. These traditional preparations are being used for ages without scientific validation. Unique way of prescribing medicines by this system draws attention worldwide for keen research in drug for reverse pharmacology manner. In this current study, an attempt was made to investigate one of the traditional Ayurvedic polyherbal formulations – Panchachurnam for its laxative activity.


Panchachurnam, an Ayurvedic polyherbomineral formulation consists of one part for each ingredient of Cassia angustifolia Vahl. leaf,, Foeniculum vulgare Mill. fruit, Terminalia chebula Retz. fruit, Zingiber officinale Rosc. rhizome and Saindhava Lavana. Traditionally it has been used for the management of worm infestation, Constipation, flatulence, indigestion, haemorrhoids, pain in abdomen, assimilatory disorder and in managing all diseases of Kapha Dosha origin. Based on this, the present study was undertaken to explore the laxative activity of aqueous extract of Panchachurnam on Wistar rats.



Collection and identification of plant materials:

The plant materials of Panchachurnam were procured from the local markets of Pithapuram, Samalkot and Peddapuram of East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India. The specimens of the samples were authenticated by Mr. Raghava Rao, Department of Botany, M. R. College, Peddapuram, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Voucher specimens (ACP/LAB/PG-18/19) of the same have been deposited in the museum of Dept. of Pharmacognosy, Aditya College of Pharmacy for future reference.


Preparation of Panchachurnam:

The churna was prepared as per the procedure given in Ayurvedic Formulary of India. All the ingredients were crushed to powder using grinder and were powdered separately and sieve no. #80. In-house Panchachurnam was prepared from these powders by mixing them in one part for each ingredient and passed through sieve no. #60. A physical mixture was made by mixing together in equal proportions to get uniformly blended churna14-16.


Preparation of the aqueous extract:

The 100g of Panchachurnam was extracted in water at 50 – 600C in a soxhlet apparatus separately. The extract was concentrated to dryness in a water bath at controlled temperature (50-600C). The dried 95% of the aqueous extract was weighed in a required dose and dissolved in known volume of distilled water, separately for further treatment.




Preliminary Phytochemical Screening:

Preliminary qualitative phytochemical screening of aqueous extract of Panchachurnam was carried by employing standard conventional protocols for the detection of organic constituents by performing chemical tests for alkaloids, glycosides, anthraquinone glycosides, carbohydrates, steroids, terpenoids, flavonoids, tannins, volatile oils, tannins, proteins and fixed oils. Screening of Panchachurnam was also done for the detection of inorganic constituents by performing identification tests for Sodium and Chloride ions17.


Drugs, Feed, Animals, Chemicals and Reagents:

Senna (Cassia angustifolia) used as reference standard was procured from Yucca Enterprises, Mumbai. Normal saline was used as control. The standard food pellets for animals were procured from Kamadenu Enterprises, Bangalore. Healthy adult Wistar rats of either sex weighing between 150-200g were procured from Shree Venkateshwara Traders, Bangalore. All chemicals and reagents used throughout the experiment were of analytical grade procured from S.D. Fine-chem., Merck, Fischer scientific and Spectrochem, Mumbai.



Thirty Wistar rats of either sex, weighing 150-200 g, were acclimatized to the experimental room at temperature 23 ± 2 °C, controlled humidity conditions (50-55%) and 12-h light and 12-h dark cycles. They were caged with a maximum of two animals in polypropylene cage and were fed with standard food pellets and water ad libitum. The husk in the cages was renewed every day to ensure hygeinity and maximum comfort for animals. The experimental protocol was approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee (ACP/IAEC/AUG-11/08/18) of JNTUK, Kakinada and conducted according to the guidelines of the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA).


Evaluation of laxative activity:

The laxative activity was performed according to Capasso et al 18. Rats of either sex were fasted for 12 h before the experiment, but with water provided ad libitum. The animals were divided into 5 groups of six animals each. The first group of animals, serving as control, received oral normal saline (25 ml/kg). The second group, serving as reference, orally received aqueous extract of Senna (Cassia angustifolia) (30 mg/kg), while the third, fourth and fifth groups orally received aqueous extract of Panchachurnam at doses of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg, respectively. Immediately after administration of dose, the animals were isolated and housed separately in polypropylene cages suitable for collection of faeces. After 8 h of drug administration the feces were collected and weighed. Thereafter, food and water were given to all animals and fecal outputs were again weighed after a period of 16h.

Statistical Analysis:

The data were expressed as mean ± standard error of mean (SEM). The differences were compared using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by Dennett’s test using PRISM software (version 4). The results were considered statistically significant when p<0.05. The control group and treatment groups were analyzed separately for statistical significance19.



The preliminary phytochemical observations of the aqueous extract of Panchachurnam have shown the occurrence of glycosides, anthraquinone glycosides, carbohydrates, triterpenes, tannins, flavonoids, volatile oils, proteins, fixed oils and resins and also shown the presence of sodium and chloride due to Saindhava Lavana (Rock Salt) which was reported in Table 1 and 2. It indicates that, Panchachurnam is a mixture of all these phytoconstituents and interaction of all these chemicals might be resulted in synergistically enhanced therapeutic efficacy of laxative activity.


Table 1: Phytochemical screening of Panchachurnam

S. No.



Aqueous Extract








Anthraquinone Glycosides 


















Volatile Oils






Fixed Oils






Table 2: Screening of Panchachurnam for inorganic constituents

S. No.

Inorganic constituents


Aqueous Extract








The laxative activity of Panchachurnam was evaluated by observing the faecal output. It was observed that after 8 hours of treatment, the aqueous extract of Panchachurnam showed significant (P<0.01) laxative activity when compared with standard Senna. After 8-16 hrs Panchachurnam exhibited significant increase in faecal output. The dose dependent response was observed at 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg. The faecal out put weight was increased as the dose increases. At 100 mg/kg of aqueous extract of Panchachurnam excretes mucous faecal matter. Panchachurnam at 200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg significantly increased fecal output of rats compared with that of the control group both at 8th and 16th hours. The results were tabulated in Table 3.



Table 3: Laxative activity of Panchachurnam



(mg/kg, p.o)

Faecal output (g)


8-16 h




1.24± 0.08



1.97 ±0.05**

3.4 ±0.17**











Values are expressed as mean ± S.E.M (n = 6); ns= Not significant; **p < 0.01 compared to control group.


Panchachurnam was used as a laxative in Ayurvedic medicinal system. The contents of Panchachurnam possess laxative properties.


Cassia angustifolia is an FDA-approved over-the-counter (OTC) laxative. A prescription is not required to purchase senna. It is used to treat constipation and also to clear the bowel before diagnostic tests such as colonoscopy. Senna is also used for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anal or rectal surgery, tears in the lining of the anus (anal fissures), hemorrhoids, and weight loss. Senna known as laxative, contain anthraquinone glycosides sennoside (A, B, C and D), which are gastric irritants20.


Terminalia chebula (Combretaceae) is commonly known as chebulic myrobalan. Terminalia chebula is used in traditional medicine to treat constipation, kidney and urinary disorders. It can also be used as homeostatic, antitussive, diuretic, and inotropic remedy21.


Zingiber officinale is used in treating motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, gastritis, diarrhea, indigestion, abdominal colic, intestinal parasites, arthritis, colds, influenza, bronchitis, flatulence, muscle spasms, food poisoning, and certain heart conditions and also to promote perspiration and digestive system22.


Foeniculum vulgare is used by mouth for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants23.


Saindhava lavana is a composition of sodium chloride, traces of sodium bicarbonate, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride. Saindhava lavana is traditionally used as antiulcer, laxative, aphrodisiac, and antiseptic. In addition to supply of essential minerals rock salt aids in secretion of salivary and digestive juices thereby improving the digestion. Additionally the rock salt improves appetite, remove gas and act as laxative24.


Altogether, Panchachurnam showed significant laxative activity. Thus, the present study reveals that the aqueous extract of Panchachurnam showed marked laxative activity (P<0.01) than the control group as compared to reference standard Senna (Cassia angustifolia) and this formulation will effectively serve as a better herbal laxative preparation.


The present study reveals that the aqueous extract of Panchachurnam showed significant laxative activity at all the tested doses when compared to standard and control, while highest activity exhibited by the higher concentration (400mg/ml) which assures the ethno-medicinal claim. This study would provide the preliminary scientific evidence for the folkloric, ethno-botanical and traditional use of this churna for treatment of constipation. In conclusion, the experimental evidence obtained in the laboratory model could provide a rationale for the traditional use of this formulation as laxative. Hence, the product can be used as an alternative herbal laxative.



We are grateful to our principal Dr. K. Ravi Shankar and management of Aditya College of Pharmacy, Surampalem for providing us necessary facilities to carry out the research project.



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Received on 15.04.2019         Modified on 27.04.2019

Accepted on 30.04.2019       ©A&V Publications All right reserved

Res.  J. Pharmacognosy and Phytochem. 2019; 11(2):93-96.

DOI: 10.5958/0975-4385.2019.00017.7