content='1;url='http-equiv='refresh'/> Natural Health Remedy: Over 110 herbs used in malaria treatment –Survey

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Over 110 herbs used in malaria treatment –Survey

No doubt, emergence of chloroquine resistant Plasmodium falciparum (CRPF) has further made treatment of malaria in children more complicated, so contributing immensely to the deterioration of malaria therapy and control in Nigeria.
Malaria, caused by parasites of the genus
Plasmodium, is one of the leading infectious
diseases in many tropical regions, including
Nigeria, where transmission occurs all year
round. The high cost of malaria treatment
has left the poor masses of Nigeria heavily
reliant on traditional practitioners and
medicinal plants as remedies against fever
and other symptoms of malaria.
Surprisingly, a review of studies into
medicinal plants used to treat malaria across
all ethnic and cultural groups in the country
showed that there were more than 110
plants varieties. The review entitled,
“Medicinal plants used in Nigeria for the
treatment of malaria” was documented by
2011 edition of Journal of
Ethnopharmacology. It involved J.O.
Adebayo from the Department of
Biochemistry, University of Ilorin, Ilorin in
collaboration with A.U. Krettlia.
They included plants such as leaves of
Newbouldia laevis (Akoko leaf in Yoruba),
Enatia chlorantha (African yellow wood,
Iyani or Awopa in Yoruba), Eupatorium
odoratum (ogbogbo or Ibo- ofo in Yoruba),
Bridelia micrantha (abere-aluko or akisan in
Yoruba), Cajanus Cajan (Pigeon pea in
English, olele in Edo, shingwazo in Gwari),
Carica papaya (pawpaw). In addition, were
stem bark of plants such as Abrus
precatorius (omisinmisin in Yoruba), Afzelia
Africana (Mohogany bean tree), Psidium
guajava (guava) Anacardium occidentale
(cashew plant), Blighia sapida (Achee, Akee,
Akee or Apple Tree), Alchornea cordifolia
(baushe in Hausa, edo in Igbo and idi-odan
in Yoruba). Also include were stems of Citrus
sinensis (sweet orange), Cymbopogon
giganteus (Oka eye in Yoruba), Khaya
senegalensis (African mahogany, madachi
in Hausa and ono in Igbo), Mangifera indica
(mango) as well as onion bulbs and ginger.
Alstonia boonei (awun in Yoruba) is highly
priced, especially in situations where
affordable antimalarial drugs are found
ineffective, due to drug-resistant malaria
parasites. The plant stem bark or leaves are
administered as decoction or “teas” and
sometimes as an ingredient in malaria
“steam therapy”.
Recently, researchers in the 2008 edition of
Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research,
formulated the stem bark extract of this
plant into tablets, and made this available as
an antimalarial remedy.
Plants such as neem is used in traditional
medical practice in form of an aqueous
decoction of the leaves, stem bark and root.
Due to the importance of this plant as an
antimalarial remedy in Nigeria, efforts were
made to produce the tablet and suspensions
of the bark and leaf, which exhibited
effectiveness in preventing malaria and
treating mild cases of malaria.
Carica papaya, commonly referred to as
pawpaw, is widely grown in the tropics for
its edible fruit and also used as a weak
decoction of its leaves against malaria.
Most of these antimalarial plants are used in
form of monotherapy, and only a few
plants are taken together in combined
therapies. An example is the multi-herbal
extract referred to as ‘Agbo-Iba’ made up of
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea) leaf, Euphorbia
lateriflora leaf, Mangifera indica leaf and
bark, Cassa alata leaf(Asunwon in Yoruba),
Cymbopogon giganteus leaf, Nauclea
latifolia leaf, and Uvaria chamae bark.
Another multi-herbal combination is the
mixture of Carica papaya leaves,
Cymbopogon citratus leaves, Anacardium
occidentale leaves and neem leaves used in
‘steam therapy’, in which the patients are
covered with a thick blanket and made to
inhale the vapour from the cooking pot.
Pharmacological studies have demonstrated
under laboratory conditions antimalarial
effects of extracts from 45 plant species
used in Nigerian folk medicine out of the 51
species tested. These included neem,
Morinda lucida (brimstone tree, oruwo in
Yoruba and eze-ogu in Igbo), Khaya
grandifoliola (African mahogany), Tithonia
diversifolia (Wild Sunflower; ogbo or Agbale
in Yoruba), Vernonia amygdalina (bitter
leave or ewuro in Yoruba), Momordica
balsamina (Balsampear or ejinrin in Yoruba)
and Picralima nitida (abere in Yoruba).
Previous studies on neem attributed its
antimalarial effect to it affecting all stages
of the malaria parasite in the body unlike
artemisinin and primaquine that seem to
affect only the immature stages of the
malaria parasite.
It should be noted, however, that some of
these extracts exhibited very high
antimalarial activity in laboratory tests
carried out on the malaria germ in the test
tube but displayed poor activity in animals
infected with malaria germ. A good example
is neem, which is widely used around the
world in indigenous medicine for the
treatment of malaria.
Nonetheless, with over 110 plants used by
the indigenous populations to treat
different diseases, especially malaria in the
endemic areas of transmission, the
researchers declared that there was the
possibility of studies determining those of
these plants that could be useful in rolling
back malaria.
They wrote: “One hopes that these
discoveries of active compounds from
plants will generate more effective drugs,
affordable and available to the rural people
who are mostly at risk of the disease

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