Healing wounds, others with local spice
Besides its popular use in treating diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy and convulsion, a local spice, Tetrapleura tetraptera could be effective used in healing wounds. CHUKWUMA MUANYA and TAYO OREDOLA write.
TETRAPLEURA tetraptera belongs to the Mimosaceae/Fabacae family. It is locally known as aridan among the Yoruba, osakirisa or oshosho among the Igbo, dawo among the Hausa, all in Nigeria, and is also referred to as prekese among the Twi people of Ghana.
It is generally found in the lowland forest of tropical Africa. The fruit consist of a fleshy pulp with small, brownish-black seeds. The dry fruit has a pleasant aroma. It is therefore, used as a popular seasoning spice in Southern and Eastern Nigeria. The fruit is used to prepare soup for mothers from the first day of birth to prevent post partum contraction. Its fruits are used for the management of convulsions, leprosy, inflammation, rheumatism, flatulence, jaundice and fevers.
The anticonvulsant activity of the volatile oil from fresh fruits of T. tetraptera in mice has been reported. Its leaves are essential for the treatment of epilepsy and present strong molluscicidal activity. The aqueous fruit extract has also been shown to possess hypoglycaemic (blood glucose-reducing) properties. The root extract has also been proven to be used for the treatment of gastrointestinal related clinical problems.
But a recent study published in International Research Journal of Plant Science has shown that extracts of Tetrapleura tetraptera could be effectively used to heal wounds.
The study is titled “Effect of aqueous extract of Tetrapleura tetraptera on excision wounds in albino rats.”
The researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, wrote: “In this study, Tetrapleura tetraptera was ascertained of its effect on wound healing. The Lethal dose (LD 50) of Tetrapleura tetraptera was determined and the research on its wound healing effect was carried out. The standard method of Nofal was adopted for the determination of the (LD50).
“Wound healing effect was done by excising wounds on anaesthesized rats and then the percentage wound closure (epithelialization) was determined from the treatment with different concentrations of the extract, negative control as well as the positive control. The (LD50) of Tetrapleura tetraptera was 10,000mg/kg body weight. The least concentration (200mg/ml) gave hundred percent (100 per cent) epithelialization at the end of the experiment; 2000mg/ml concentration of the extract delayed the wound healing effect of the plant.
“Conclusively, Tetrapleura tetraptera at 200mg/ml has a potent value of wound healing effect while 2000mg/ml of Tetrapleura tetraptera is not efficacious in wound healing. Thus, Tetrapleura tetraptera could be administered at 200mg/ml for the treatment of wounds.”
Meanwhile, experts say the brownish plant’s aqueous extract possesses anti – inflammatory and hypoglycemic properties, and also serves as sources of some minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, lipid and iron.
Evidently, one herbalist at the Isolo market, Lagos who preferred to be addressed Iya Alagbo Ewe confirmed this, when she told The Guardian that most herbalists use the plant to prepare concoction of herbs for the treatment rheumatism and general body pains.
Speaking in Yoruba, she explained that it is also used for the treatment of some rashes in children as well as to treat fresh navel sour in babies.
Iya Alagbo Ewe further said that, its only the brown fleshy pulp is used to treat the above, while the whole pod including its seeds is used for the treatment of rheumatism.
She also said some use it as part of the concoction to treat malaria, but she does not, because she sees the plant as an antibiotics on its own, hence it inclusion to malaria concoction might be harsh for some patients.
In eastern Nigerian, the fruit is used to prepare soup like ‘banga’ and pepper soup for nursing mothers to prevent post partum contractions after delivery.
In Ghana, it has been used to flavor soft drinks, which has been approved by the Food and Drugs Board, and is marketed to reduce hypertension, decrease the severity of asthma attacks and promote blood flow.
Because it has been proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria, the pod is also produced into powered form and combined in soap bases to include anti – microbial.
Its sweet fragrance is highly attributed to its insect repellent property. Its highly valued properties have left experts worried about the fact it is gradually being wiped out due to unsubstantial conservation.
According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the fruit of Tetrapleura tetraptera (Taub) [Fabaceae] is frequently used in Tropical African traditional medicine for the management and/or control of an array of human ailments, including arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, asthma, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, epilepsy, schistosomiasis, and so on.
The study titled “Anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic effects of Tetrapleura tetraptera fruit aqueous extract in rats” found: “The results of this experimental animal study indicate that T. tetraptera fruit aqueous extract possesses anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic properties. These findings lend pharmacological credence to the suggested folkloric uses of the plant’s fruit in the management and/or control of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, as well as in adult-onset, type-2 diabetes mellitus in some Yoruba-speaking communities of South-Western Nigeria.”
Camerounian researchers in a study titled: ‘Aqueous Extract of Tetrapleura tetraptera (Mimosaceae) prevents hypertension, dyslipidemia and oxidative stress in high salt-sucrose induced hypertensive rats’ concluded: “Present study showed that oral administration of Tetrapleura tetraptera aqueous extract exhibited an antihypertensive and anti-dyslipidemic (cholesterol lowering) effects on high salt-sucrose feeding rats. This effect might be related to its antioxidant potential and supports the traditional use of the stem bark of Tetrapleura tetraptera.”
Dyslipidemia or dyslipidaemia is an abnormal amount of lipids (example cholesterol and/or fat) in the blood. Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen and a biological system’s ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or easily repair the resulting damage.
The study published in Pharmacologia investigated the antihyperlipidemic and antioxidant effects of Tetrapleura tetraptera aqueous extract in high salt-sucrose-induced hypertensive rats.
Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals or Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).
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