content='1;url='http-equiv='refresh'/> Natural Health Remedy: September 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Besides being touted as a natural anti-ulcer
recipe, studies show that African garden
egg is effective in lowering blood
cholesterol and glaucoma.
GARDEN egg is a fruit but an unusual kind of
fruit, which is even used for the
preparation of stew.
Botanically known as Solanum melongena,
of the Solanaceae family and locally called
Igba among the Yoruba of Southwest
Nigeria. This populous African fruit remains
a delight for researchers as the effects of
garden egg are not only nutritional but
significantly of health benefits as the tree
that bearers them.
Studies revealed that garden egg positively
help with heart problems and will make the
weight reduction diet more successful.
Some of the studies conducted in Africa,
have come to the conclusion that garden
egg is very effective in blood cholesterol
It is currently a fruit in season and at their
best from August through October when
they come to the market in droves. They are
eaten raw or made as stew to compliment
steaming yam. Both delight the appetite
The cream-colour flesh has a pleasantly
bitter taste (due to the presence of small
amounts of nicotinoid alkaloids) and
spongy consistency. But garden egg plant
has more to offer than ensuring fewer
cases of constipation, reduction in blood
cholesterol and protection from poor vision
due to glaucoma.
Among the Igbo people in Nigeria
community, they can hardly do without
eating garden egg, because it is good for
the sight.
In a study to assess the “Effects of garden
egg on some visual functions of visually
active Igbos of Nigeria”, experts found that
its consumption might be of great benefits
to glaucoma patients.
Researchers at the Department of
Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of
Medicine and Health Sciences, Abia State
University, Uturu, Department of
Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University
of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, and
School of Optometry, Abia State University,
Uturu, Nigeria, Drs. S. A. Igwe, D. N. Akunyili
and C. Ogbogu respectively did the study,
published in the 2003 issue of the Journal
of Ethnopharmacology.
The study, which initially set out to find out
if there may be complications associated
with its excessive consumption in the male
volunteers that were involved in the study,
found they all had a reduced pupil size.
They also had a lower intraocular pressure.
It dropped by 25 per cent, even though it
was yet still within the normal range. They
concluded that garden egg consumption did
not produce any vision discomfort and that
people needed not fear eating plenty of it
since it could even help to lower eye
pressure in persons with glaucoma.
Even though garden egg is generally said
not to contain huge amount of protein and
other nutrients, it is low in sodium, low in
calories and very rich in high dietary fibre.
It is also high in potassium, a necessary salt
that helps in maintaining the function of the
heart and regulate blood pressure.
Expert in a study indicated that garden egg
could be used for the treatment of stomach
ulcers. The study was undertaken to
evaluate the possible anti-ulcer effect of the
African garden egg and was published in
the 2011 Journal of the Asian Pacific Journal
of Tropical Medicine by Anosike Chioma,
Abonyi Obiora and Ubaka Chukwuemeka. All
were from the University of Nigeria,
Nsukka, Nigeria.
They found that it possessed ulcer
protective properties against ulcers induced
experimentally, making it a cheap source of
natural anti-ulcer remedy.
In the study, 25 overnight fasted rats were
divided randomly into five groups of five
rats. Groups one, two, three, four and five
received normal saline, extract dose levels
of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg
of ranitidine respectively.
All administrations were given orally. The
methanol extract of the plant fruit was
prepared by maceration. Ulcers were
induced using two ulcerogenic agents
(indomethacin, 50 mg/kg and aspirin 200
mg/kg). Ulcer index was checked and
analysed with appropriate statistical tools.
The scientists found that extract of garden
egg showed positive effect on all the
models used. It produced higher ulcer
inhibition than ranitidine in the
indomethacin and acid-ethanol models. All
the anti-ulcer effects of the extract at
different doses were dose dependent but
only in indomethacin model did it produce
statistically significant ulcer reduction in all
doses compared to control.
However, in a study by Dr S.O Bello and
others in the 2005 edition of the Research
Journal of Agriculture and Biological
Sciences, which assessed the toxicity and
pharmacological properties of the aqueous
crude extract of garden egg, while the
researchers agree that this fruit may work
both for the control of weight and asthma,
they raised some doubt about its use for
the control of acute attacks of asthma.
In a study undertaken to assess the
influence of whole garden egg plant in
comparison to apples and oats on serum
lipid profile in rats fed a high cholesterol
diet that were obtained from the animal
unit of Department of Pharmacology and
Toxicology of the Faculty of Pharmacy,
University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, the
results suggested that eating garden egg is
better at reducing blood cholesterol than
apple and oat.
The lipid profile includes total cholesterol,
HDL-cholesterol (often called good
cholesterol), LDL-cholesterol (often called
bad cholesterol), and triglycerides. A high
level of blood cholesterol level, more
particularly low-density lipoprotein
cholesterol, is a primary risk factor for
cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and
heart disease.
James Karho Edijala, Samuel Ogheneovo
Asagba and Uzezi Atomatofa from the
Department of Biochemistry, Delta State
University, Abraka, Nigeria as well as George
Edaghogho Eriyamremu from the
Department of Biochemistry, University of
Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, did the study. It
was published in the 2005 edition of the
Pakistan Journal of Nutrition.
According to their observation, garden egg
plant significantly reduced weight gain in
those rats that eat this fruit compared with
those that had oat and apple in both the
mid-term and full-term studies.
The experts attributed the health benefits of
eating foods like garden egg to its
effectiveness at boosting High plasma HDL-
cholesterol. They stated that it might be
beneficial since studies had unequivocally
established an inverse relationship between
HDL-cholesterol and incidence of
cardiovascular diseases like stroke.
Guimaraes and his co-workers in the 2000
edition of the Brazilian Journal of Medical
Biology Research reported a similar
observation with garden egg plant juice
infusion in humans.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Studies revealed that buttery African pear
is loaded with essential ingredients for
warding off diseases.
IT is uniquely different in appearance,
shape and size from the common pear.
Ube as it is locally called among the Igbos in
the south-east of Nigeria, African pear is
botanically known as Dascroides edulis, of
the family Burseraceae. African pear tree is
typically planted for its shade and its fruit.
Also, the bark of the tree is aromatic.
Nutritionists said that its pulpy pericarp has
the qualities of butter and indeed rich in oil
and vitamins! Cooked flesh of the fruit has a
texture similar to butter. It is this portion of
the delicious African pear that is eaten,
either raw or cooked, especially with corn –
cooked or roasted. Pear and corn share
similar season and mix well in the bowels
Studies however revealed that African pear
is rich in carbohydrates, sugars, fiber,
vitamins, especially thiamine, riboflavin,
niacin, panthotenate folate, vitamin C and
vitamin B6.
Secretary General, West African Association
of Food Science and Technology (WAAFoST),
Prof. Osaretin Ebuehi told The Guardian that
pear contains several minerals, such as
calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium,
phosphorus, and zinc.
“Pears have antioxidant properties, because
they are rich in Vitamin C and therefore can
protect body cells from oxygen-related
damage caused by free radicals. The
presence of fiber in pears helps prevent
constipation and also ensures regularity of
bowel movement.
“Studies have revealed that eating pears
help protect women against
postmenopausal breast cancer. Pear is
described as a hypoallergenic fruit, that is,
less likely to produce an adverse response
than other fruits.
“Regular consumption of pears might lower
the risk of age-related macular
degeneration, the main cause of vision loss
in older adults.
It has been reported that pears help lower
blood pressure and also reduce the chances
of a stroke,” he said.
Osaretin, who is also the Head of
Department of Biochemistry, College of
Medicine, University of Lagos, added that
the high content of pectin in pears makes
them useful in lowering of cholesterol
“Pears have been found to be good for
colon health. Pear juice, being rich in
fructose and glucose, serves as a very quick
source of energy. Drinking a glass of pear
juice is believed to be helpful in bringing
down fever.”
He added that the antioxidant properties of
African pear makes it good for
strengthening of the immune system, while
the consumption of pear juice helps relieve
pain in various inflammatory conditions.
“The presence of boron in it helps the body
retain calcium and thus, reduces the risk of
osteoporosis. The folic acid in pear prevents
neural tube defects in infants,” he said.
A Microbiologist, Olanrewaju Disu, added
that it is believed that “resin” which is
secreted by the African pear is of medicinal
value, useful in the treatment of parasitic
skin diseases.
As traditional food plant in Africa, this little-
known fruit has potential to improve
nutrition, boost food security, foster rural
development and support sustainable land
The main use of D. edulis is its fruit, which
can be eaten either raw or cooked in salt
water or roasted. The pulp contains 48 per
cent oil and a plantation can produce 7-8
tons of oil per hectare. It is also rich in
Dacryodes edulis is an evergreen tree is
native to Africa, attaining a height of 18–40
m in the forest but not exceeding 12 m in
It has a relatively short trunk and a deep,
dense crown. The bark is pale gray and
rough with droplets of resin. The leaves are
a compound with 5-8 pairs of leaflets. The
upper surface of the leaves is glossy.
The flowers are yellow and about 5 mm
across. They are arranged in a large
inflorescence. The tree flowers at the
beginning of the rainy season and bears
fruits during 2 to 5 months after flowering.
There are two variants of Dacryodes edulis:
D. e. var. edulis and D. e. var. parvicarpa. The
fruit of D. e. var. edulis is larger and the tree
has stout, ascending branches. D. e. var.
parvicarpa has smaller fruit and slender,
drooping branches.
The tree is also a source of many traditional
medicines. The plant has long been used in
the traditional medicine of some African
countries to treat various ailments such as
wound, skin diseases, dysentery and fever.
The extracts and secondary metabolites
have been found to show biological
activities such as antimicrobial, antioxidant
and anti sickle-cell disease. A wide range of
chemical constituents such as terpenes,
flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids and saponins
have been isolated from the plant.
In a study published in Science World
Journal, A publication of Faculty of Science
Kaduna State University, titled: “Nutritional
Composition and Microbial Spoilage of
Dacryodes edulis Fruits Nigeria” in 2010 by
Omogbai B. A., Ojeaburu S. I., they noted that
proximate analysis revealed that moisture
content, lipids, protein, ash, crude fibre and
carbohydrate ranged between 44.45-50.93
per cent, 30.55-35.60 per cent, 2.89-4.16
per cent, 2.65-2.76 per cent, 1.52-1.61 per
cent, and 9.75-12.59 per cent respectively.
“The most abundant mineral element in the
fruit pulp was phosphorus
(692.55-698.40mg/100g) followed by
potassium (540.81-553.15mg/100g),
calcium (347.50-354.6mg/100g),
magnesium (280.15-287.65mg/100g) and
sodium (162.50-170.0mg/100g).
“While the lowest concentration of nutrients
use recorded for zinc (3.65-3.81mg/100g),
iron (3.43-3.58mg/100g) and copper
“The heavy metals lead, cadmium, mercury
and arsenic were not detected in all
samples. The anti-nutrient levels in all
samples were low following WHO standard
for foods. The bacterial burden of fresh
pulp samples was higher (2.82-3.18 log cfu/
g.) than the fungi load (2.58-2.72 log cfu/g).
“Microbial spoilage resulted in log increase
of these numbers. Of the 17
microorganisms isolated from Dacryodes
edulis pulp samples, Erwinia carotovora,
Pseudomonas flourescens and mostly with
roasted or boiled maize (Zea mays) or
sometimes with cassava in Nigeria.
“Bacillus subtilis had the highest
frequencies of 32.7, 23.2 and 12.5 per cent
respectively amongst the bacteria. The
predominant fungal spoilage organisms
were Sacchacromyces, cerevisiae, Rhizopus
stolonifer and Penicilium expansum.”