content='1;url='http-equiv='refresh'/> Natural Health Remedy: BLACK TAMARIND FOR TREATMENT OF CHOLERA,DIARRHOEA

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The thirst-quenching, refreshing Black
Tamarind is here again! Researchers have
found that besides the folklore uses of
extracts of the plant in the treatment of
infections such as severe cough,
bronchitis, wounds, stomachaches,
malaria fever, jaundice, antiulcer and
haemorrhoids, it is also an effective
therapy for antibiotic-resistant cholera and
Nigerian and South African researchers
have found that the leaf extracts of Black
Tamarind compares favourably with
standard antibiotics in the treatment of
water and food borne diseases such as
diarrhoea and cholera.
The researchers also noted that further
investigations on this plant might lead to
the development of antimicrobial drugs of
natural origin that may combat the rapid
development of multiple resistant to the
available antibiotics by pathogens.
Commonly called Black tamarind, Dialium
guineense belongs to the plant family
Leguminosae-caesalpinioideae. It is called
Icheku by the Igbos of South-east Nigeria,
while to the Yorubas of South-west know it
as Awin.
The researchers from the Department of
Biochemistry and Microbiology, Applied and
Environmental Microbiology Research Group
(AEMREG), University of Fort Hare, Alice
5700, South Africa, and Department of
Microbiology, Obafemi Awolowo University,
Ile Ife, Nigeria concluded, “D. guineense leaf
extract exhibited significant antimicrobial
properties on the environmental strains of
Vibrio spp. used in this study and it
compared favourably with the two
standard antibiotics – ampicillin and
streptomycin used as positive controls.
“D. guineense forms part of the ingredients
used in preparing decoction for the
treatment of some ailments and thus it is
suppose to be safe in consumption and
drugs formulated from this plant may pose
no danger to the users. Antimicrobial drugs
of natural origin developed from this plant
may go a long way in preventing the
establishment of an infection caused by
vibrios and other pathogens that are now
developing resistance to the existing
antimicrobial drugs. Efforts are going on in
our laboratory to isolate pure compounds
of pharmacological importance from the
plant crude extract.”
The study titled: “Anti-vibrio and
preliminary phytochemical characteristics of
crude methanolic extracts of the leaves of
Dialium guineense (Wild)” was published in
the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research.
Vibrios belong to the class of
Gammaproteobacteria, members of the
family Vibrionaceae, are natural inhabitants
of seawater but can also be found in fresh
water. Some of them are human pathogens
and are mainly transmitted to humans
through contaminated water or food. They
are part of the natural flora of bacteria in
seawater and in the gut of many seawater
organisms. They cause gastrointestinal
illnesses in humans, which include
Vibrios can be broadly grouped into two,
namely, the cholera and non-cholera
groups. Among the Vibrio species that can
cause infections in humans are Vibrio
cholerae, V. vulnificus, V. parahaemolyticus,
and V. fluvialis. V. vulnificus and V.
parahaemolyticus are invasive organisms
affecting primarily the human colon.
In addition, V. vulnificus causes bacteremia,
skin and soft tissue infections while the
watery diarrhoea caused by V.
parahaemolyticus is often accompanied
with abdominal cramping, vomiting, fever
and chills. V. fluvialis is associated with
wound infection, septicemia and antibiotics
currently used for the treatment of Vibrio
infections are doxycycline, quinolones,
tetracycline and cephalosporins which are
expensive for most of the African
Previous reports in some literatures indicate
that Dialium guineense leaves and stem
bark are used as folklore remedies for the
treatment of infections such as diarrhoea,
severe cough, bronchitis, wound,
stomachaches, malaria fever, jaundice,
antiulcer and haemorrhoids. Lawal et al.
(2010) reported in their findings that D.
guineense is used as antiulcer and as a
vitamin supplement among some tribes in
the southern part of Nigeria.
Among the 85 medicinal plants investigated
for their potency as antimalaria, D.
guineense was found to inhibit the growth
of Plasmodium falciparum, that is, the
malaria parasite responsible for the illness.
According to the researchers, it is a tree of
an average height of 30m with densely
leafy crown, smooth greyish bark. Leaves
are hairy and the flowers are usually
whitish while the fruits are less circular and
flattened. The pulp of the fruit is edible and
sweet, fairly low levels of ascorbic acid and
tannin are present. It is a fairly good source
of protein and minerals.
The fruits of the plant are chewed among
some women in southeast Nigeria to
improve lactation and check genital
infection. D. guineense is used as chewing
stick (indigenous tooth brush) among
Nigerian populace. Okwu and Ekeke (2003)
reported in their studies that the plant
contains saponin, which is presumed to add
to the cleaning effect of teeth and at the
same time prevent caries and plaques on
the teeth of the users.
Significant antioxidant and molluscidal
activities of D. guineense exhibited have
also been reported. Literatures search
revealed scanty or no reports on anti-Vibrio
activities of D. guineense crude leaves
extracts, hence the need for this research.
The objective was to test the antimicrobial
potentials of this plant on environmental
strains of Vibrio species isolated from some
rivers in the Eastern Cape Province of South
Africa, bearing in mind that, many residents
of Eastern Cape depends on rivers for their
daily water uses.
The crude extract of the plant was found to
possess bioactivity against 14 out of 18
environmental strains of Vibrio species
tested at a final concentration of 20 mg/ml.
On the other hand, the standard antibiotics
used –ampicillin inhibited the growth of 15
out of the 18 tested strains of the Vibrio
species while streptomycin inhibited the
growth of all the tested bacterial isolates.
The zones of inhibitions exhibited by the
extract against the tested bacterial isolates
ranged between 12mm and 20mm. The
zones of inhibition exhibited by ampicillin
against the tested isolates ranged between
7mm and 40mm while streptomycin
exhibited between 12mm and 32mm zones
of inhibition.
Vibrio species are known to be deadly and
can cause gastrointestinal diseases along
with other ailments that can lead to death.
The growths of Vibrio spp. were
successfully inhibited by the extract from D.
Traditionally, different parts (leaves, roots,
stems and barks) of D. guineense are used
among many tribes in Africa to treat
gastrointestinal diseases as well as cholera
infections among other diseases caused by
bacteria. Thus, the results obtained from
this study support the use of D. guineense
as folklore remedies to treat bacterial
infections among many tribes in Africa.
The antimicrobial activity of D. guineense
stem bark extract (though still in crude
form) compared favourably with those of
the standard antibiotics - ampicillin and
streptomycin used in this study. The
minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC)
and minimum bactericidal concentrations
(MBC) of the extract were also determined.
The MIC of the extract against the Vibrio
isolates ranged between 0.313 and 5.0 mg/
ml while the MBC ranged between 0.625 and
10 mg/ml.