content='1;url='http-equiv='refresh'/> Natural Health Remedy: AFRICAN PEPPER, BITTER KOLA ARE EFFICIENT IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CANCER.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Emerging and promising plant-based therapies for cancers.
More researches are confirming the
efficacy of African pepper, bitter leaf, bitter
kola, lime, lemon, garlic, tomatoes, grapes
and other local plants in the management of
cancer. In fact, results of recent work by
Nigerian researchers published in Annals of
Biological Research revealed that quite a
number of plants from the 73 species,
especially the leaves, roots, barks and seeds
studied are efficient in the management of
The study is titled “Ethnobotanical survey of
anti-cancer plants in Ogun State, Nigeria.”
The Nigerian researchers from the
Department of Biological Sciences, Bowen
University, Iwo, Osun State; and Department
of Plant Science and Applied Zoology, Olabisi
Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun
State, found that the prominent plant
species in the recipes are: African pepper
(Xylopia aethopica); Bitter kola (Garcinca
kola); Sausage tree (Kigelia africana);
Anthocleista djalonensis (Sapo in Yoruba,
Kwari in Hausa, Okpokolo in Ibo); Citrus
species (orange, grapefruit, tangerine, lime
and lemon); and Allium species (garlic,
onion, shallot) genera which are indicative
of their importance in the management of
the disease.
Xylopia aethiopica is commonly called
Ethiopian pepper, African pepper or Guinea
pepper. It is of the plant family Annonaceae.
The Edo calls it Unien, it is Atta in Ibibio/Efik,
Uda in Igbo, Urieren in Urhobo, and Eeru in
Yoruba. The stem bark, fruits, seeds and
roots are used for stomach-aches,
dysentery, bronchitis, cancer, ulcers, fever
and debility, rheumatism, post-partum
management and fertility-enhancing, and
Garcinia kola is a fruit-bearing tree that
belongs to the family Guttiferae. It is found
in moist forests and grows as a medium
sized tree up to 14m high. The plant is
commonly called “bitter kola” in Nigeria
because of the bitter taste of its seeds.
Garcinia kola seed (hereafter referred to as
GKS) has long been used in sub-Saharan
Africa as an antidote for ingested poison,
and as a cure for a number of ailments and
conditions such as abdominal colicky pain,
chest cold, cough and hepatitis.
The documented and suggested clinical uses
of GKS include drug detoxification,
bronchodilation (for asthma), liver
disorders, male virility, blood sugar
regulation, lipid disorders, infectious
diseases, boosting of immune system and
weight reduction. Most of the reported
bioactivities associated with GKS are
believed to be related to the presence of
biflavonoids, which are well known for
their antioxidant activities.
Scientists have also found that the sausage
tree (Kigelia africana/pinnata) could be
effectively used to treat cancers.
According to ethnobotany and recent
scientific work of Prof. P. J. Houghton of the
Pharmacognosy Research Laboratories,
Department of Pharmacy, King’s College
London, “experiments into the effect of
Kigelia extracts and some of the pure
compounds contained therein, on micro-
organisms and cancer cells have shown that
the traditional use of this plant is given
considerable justification. In addition, there
exists evidence for its anti-inflammatory
Investigation into the biological activity of
Kigelia pinnata has focused on its
antibacterial activity and its cytotoxic
effects against cancer cell lines. These are
related to the traditional uses of bark and
fruit extracts for treating diseases caused
by micro-organisms and as a remedy for
skin cancer.
Anthocleista djalonensis is of the plant
family Loganiaceae. It is called Sapo
(Yoruba), Kwari (Hausa), and Okpokolo
(Igbo). All parts of Anthocleista djalonensis
are active pharmacologically, but especially
the root, which is most often used. It is
diuretic and vigorously purgative, and in
Ivory Coast used as a poison-antidote, for
leprosy, as an emmenagogue (stimulates
mensuration), abortifacient, and in
treatment of oedemas and elephantiasis of
the scrotum. A root decoction is taken in
Sierra Leone for chest-pains, and for
constipation and gonorrhoea. A hot water
extract of the root has been used in Nigeria
for women suffering from infertility and
irregular painful menstruation;
effectiveness remains unclear, but pain is
said to be reduced.
It has been shown that incorporating plenty
of citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerine
and grapefruit in the daily diet plan may
offer another important yet lesser known
nutritional bonus: citrus limonoids.
A study published 2005 showed that citrus
limonoids help fight cancers of the mouth,
skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon in
laboratory tests with animals and with
human cells.
Studies have further shown that limonoids
inhibit the development of cancer in
laboratory animals and in human breast
cancer cells as well as reducing cholesterol.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is of plant family
Liliaceae. Local names: Igbo - Ayuu; Yoruba -
Ayu. The bulb is used for fevers, coughs,
constipation, asthma, nervous disorders,
hypertension, ulcers and skin diseases. It is
highly bacteriostatic (stops the growth of
bacteria), fungicidal (kills fungi) and
antihelmintic (worm expeller).
Also, a study published last week in the
journal Carcinogenesis showed that in both
cell lines and mouse models, grape seed
extract (GSE) kills head and neck squamous
cell carcinoma cells, while leaving healthy
cells unharmed.
The researchers said grape seed extract
creates these conditions that are
unfavorable to growth. Specifically, the
paper showed that grape seed extract both
damages cancer cells’ DNA (via increased
reactive oxygen species) and stops the
pathways that allow repair (as seen by
decreased levels of the DNA repair
molecules Brca1 and Rad51 and DNA repair
Another study by Nigerian and British
researchers at the Pharmaceutical Science
Division, King’s College London, Franklin-
Wilkins Building, 150, Stamford Street,
London, United Kingdom concluded: “Most
of the species tested had some cytotoxic
effect on the cancer cell lines, which to
some extent supports their traditional
inclusion in herbal preparations for
treatment of cancer. However, little
selectivity for cancer cells was observed,
which raises concerns over their safety and
efficacy in traditional treatment. The
longistylins A and C appear to be
responsible for much of the activity of
Cajanus cajan extract.”
Cajanus cajan is Pigeon pea in English, Olele
in Edo, Shingwazo in Gwari, Aduwa in
Hausa, Agadagbulu in Igala, Fio fio in Igbo,
Alev in Tiv, Otili in Yoruba.
Besides its confirmed use as an anti-sickling
agent, the leaf extracts of Cajanus cajan are
prepared in a infusion for anaemia,
hepatitis, diabetes, urinary infections, and
yellow fever.
The study titled “Ethnobotanical survey and
cytotoxicity testing of plants of South-
Western Nigeria used to treat cancer, with
isolation of cytotoxic constituents from
Cajanus cajan leaves” was published in
Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Meanwhile, the Annals of Biological
Research study indicates nature has some
remedy for cancer patients. “Some
substances have been found to be anti-
carcinogenic, that is they fight cancer
forming cells and help to eliminate them
from the body, for example cumaric acid
and lycopen, which are found naturally in
tomatoes fruits (Lycopersicum esculentum)
and the leaves of bitter leaf (Vernonia
amygdalina),” they said.
Lycopene, the main active ingredient in
tomatoes are beneficial to health, but it
serves as a natural antioxidant, prevent
prostate cancer in elderly men and breast
cancer for women as well as reduce the
occurrence of osteoporosis.
According to the researchers, a lot of
research has been and is still being done on
the effectiveness of Aloe vera, Morinda
lucida, Nympheae lotus (water lily) and
Pycanthus angolensis for managing cancer.
Aloe vera has been shown to be a beneficial
herb in the treatment of cancer in animals.
Actually, the United States Department of
Agriculture has agreed to make use of Aloe
vera for curing of soft tissue cancer in
animals in 1992.
There is a great scientific proof that Aloe
vera restrains the developing of cancer
tumour, raises levels of tumour necrosis,
stimulates immune system response and
enhances healthy tissue.
Morinda lucida belongs to the plant family
Rubiaceae. It is commonly called Brimstone
tree. It is Oruwo or Erewo in Yoruba, Eze-
ogu or Njisi in Igbo, Marga in Hausa.
Morinda lucida is a tropical West Africa
rainforest tree also called brimstone tree.
The leaves are widely used in the treatment
of malaria, typhoid fever, jaundice and
dressing of wounds to prevent infections. A
weak decoction of the stem bark is used for
the treatment of severe jaundice, cancer,
poor low sperm count and diabetes.
The plant Pycnanthus angolensis belongs to
the Myristicaceae family. It is also called
Pycnanthus kombo. The plant common
names include African Nutmeg and Wild
Nutmeg. In Nigerian languages, it is referred
to as Akomu (Yoruba), Akujaadi (Hausa) and
Egwunoma (Igbo).
The Ethnopharmacological survey of the
plant, Pycnanthus angolensis, according to a
study by Agyare C. et al (2009) in the
Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol. 125
issued 3, pp 393-403 confirms the potency
of aqeous extracts of the plant for wound
healing and it establishes antioxidant
activities of the ethanolic extracts of the
plant. The plant was reported to be good for
stomach ulcer treatment due to its anti-
adhesive activity against helicobacter pylori
on human stomach cells.
According to the Journal of
Ethnopharmacology study, structured
questionnaires were used to explore the
ethnobotanical practices amongst the
traditional healers. Methanol extracts of the
most common species cited were screened
for cytotoxicity using the sulforhodamine B
(SRB) assay in both exposure and recovery
experiments. Three cancer cell lines (human
breast adenocarcinoma cell line MCF-7,
human large cell lung carcinoma cell line
COR-L23 and human amelanotic melanoma
C32) and one normal cell line (normal human
keratinocytes SVK-14) were used for the
screening of the extracts and the fractions
The extract of Cajanus cajan showed
considerable activity and was further
partitioned and the dichloromethane
fraction was subjected to preparative
chomatography to yield six compounds:
Hexadecanoic acid methyl ester, alpha-
amyrin, beta-sitosterol, pinostrobin,
longistylin A and longistylin C. Pinostrobin
and longistylins A and C were tested for
cytotoxicity on the cancer cell lines. In
addition, an adriamycin-sensitive acute T-
lymphoblastic leukaemia cell line (CCRF-CEM)
and its multidrug-resistant sub-line (CEM/
ADR5000) were used in an XTT assay to
evaluate the activity of the pure
compounds obtained.
A total of 30 healers from south-west
Nigeria were involved in the study. 45
species were recorded with their local
names with parts used in the traditional
therapeutic preparations. Cytotoxicity (IC
(50) values less than 50 microg/mL) was
observed in five species (Acanthospermum
hispidum- ewe onitan meta in Yoruba),
Cajanus cajan, Morinda lucida, Nymphaea
lotus and Pycnanthus angolensis).
Acanthospermum hispidum and Cajanus
cajan were the most active. The
dichloromethane fraction of Cajanus cajan
had IC (50) value 5-10 microg/mL, with the
two constituent stilbenes, longistylins A and
C, being primarily responsible, with IC (50)
values of 0.7-14.7 microM against the range
of cancer cell lines.
Investigator at the University of Colorado
Cancer Centre and professor at the Skaggs
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr.
Rajesh Agarwal, said: “It is a rather dramatic
effect. It depends in large part, says
Agarwal, on a healthy cell’s ability to wait
out damage. Cancer cells are fast-growing
cells. Not only that, but they are necessarily
fast growing. When conditions exist in
which they can’t grow, they die.”
The Agarwal Lab hopes to move in the
direction of clinical trials of grape seed
extract, potentially as an addition to second-
line therapies that target head and neck
squamous cell carcinoma that has failed a
first treatment.