Zou SY, Li JP, Ma CW, Chen J, Leong PK, Leung HY, Chan WM, Wong HS, Ko KM
 Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear water bay, Hong Kong.
 Infinitus (China) Company Ltd., Guangzhou, China.
Gastrointestinal (GI) digestion, which facilitates the decomposition of ingested food into absorbable small molecules for further utilization in the body, necessitates both neural- and hormonal-regulated coordination of GI motility and secretion of digestive enzymes in the GI tract. The dysregulation of such coordination is likely associated with a wide range of disorders in the digestive system. Hawthorn Nectar (HN) is a health supplement for improving the wellness of the gastrointestinal digestive system in humans. The ingredients of HN, which include hawthorn, citrus, germinated barley and honeysuckle, are commonly prescribed to increase appetite and to treat digestive disorders in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine. Pharmacological studies have also shown that these herbs can produce beneficial effects on the GI digestive system. In the present study, HN was first examined for its effects on gastric emptying and postprandial intestinal motility in mice. The activities of digestive enzymes in gastric and pancreatic juice were also measured in HN-pretreated mice. Our results showed that long-term HN treatment increased the extents of gastric emptying and postprandial intestinal motility in mice. HN pretreatment also stimulated the activities of intestinal amylase and lipase in mice, while gastric pepsin and intestinal chymotrypsin activities remained unchanged. However, intestinal trypsin activity was suppressed by HN pretreatment. In conclusion, long-term HN consumption may produce beneficial effect on GI digestive function in humans.