Dates are commonly consumed, especially in the Middle East, but their effect on gastrointestinal transit (GIT) has not been quantified. The effect of water and ethanol extracts from date flesh and date pits on the GIT in mice was studied. Fasted unanaesthetized male mice received by gavage either the vehicle (0.02 m/kg), or the extracts at doses of 0.01, 0.02 or 0.04 ml/kg. Two separate groups received either clonidine (1 mg/kg) or yohimbine (2 mg/kg). Two hours later, all animals were given a test meal containing charcoal and gum arabic in water. Thirty min thereafter, they were killed and the distance the charcoal column had traveled along the small intestine was measured. Compared with the control, the animals that received the ethanol and water extracts of both date flesh and pits emptied, in a dose-dependent manner, more of their gastrointestinal content. The increase in the GIT ranged from 4 to 22%. However, water extract from dialyzed date flesh induced a dose-dependent decrease in GIT that ranged from 4 to 24%. Clonidine exerted a significant decrease (68%), and yohimbine a significant increase (30%) in the GIT. Depending on the method of extraction, the date extracts may exert an increase or a decrease in GIT.
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