Introduction: Zataria multiflora Boiss. is an indigenous herbal plant found in many parts of Iran. This herb is traditionally used as a remedy for treating gastrointestinal disorders including diarrhea. Despite the existence of few pharmacological evidences which support the antispasmodic action of Z. multiflora in vitro, there is no scientific report about therapeutic efficacy of Z. multiflora in animal models. The objective of this research was to investigate the antispasmodic activity of hydroalcoholic and hexane extracts of Z. multiflora on intestinal peristaltic movement as well as assessment of its antidiarrheal action in mice.Methods: Dried leafy branches of Z. multiflora were coarsely powdered and subjected to extraction by ethanol or hexane in a percolator apparatus. Antispasmodic activity of Z. multiflora in vivo was assessed by investigating effect of the extracts on intestinal charcoal meal transit. The antidiarrheal activity of Z. multiflora extracts was evaluated by castor oil and magnesium sulfate‑induced diarrhea. The inhibitory effects of the extracts were compared with the standard drug loperamide.Results: The antispasmodic activity of Z. multiflora (20 & 40 mg/kg) hydroalcoholic and hexane extracts was confirmed by a reduction in the distance traveled by charcoal meal alongside the small intestine. Z. multiflora extracts (20 & 40 mg/kg) also significantly attenuated the castor oil and magnesium sulfate‑induced diarrhea. Loperamide was more efficacious in reducing number of total stools in both models of diarrhea.Conclusion: The obtained results have established a pharmacological evidence for the folkloric use of the Z. multiflora as an antidiarrhoeal and spasmodic agent.
Keywords: Zataria multiflora, Diarrhea, Antispasmodic, Castor oil, MgSO4