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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 714075, 10 pages
Research Article

The Inhibitory Effect of Haloxylon salicornicum on Contraction of the Mouse Uterus

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, 161 Cathedral Street, Glasgow G4 0RE, UK

Received 19 March 2013; Accepted 19 August 2013

Academic Editor: Roman Huber

Copyright © 2013 Nabila H. Saleem et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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 N-methyltyramine, 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 μg/mL. The inhibitory activity of crude H. salicornicum, as well as the isolated constituents, could be prevented by pretreatment of the uterus with the β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol. In conclusion, the use of H. salicornicum during preterm labour appears to be justified, and its pharmacologic effect is consistent with it acting as a β-adrenoceptor agonist.