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Herbal combo boosts immunity, red blood cells

By Chukwuma Muanya
28 April 2022   |   2:13 am
Nigerian researchers have demonstrated that a combination of three local herbs, Mojeaga herbal remedy, could be used to boost the immune system, red blood cells and prevent development of degenerative diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Sorghum bicolor

•Nigerian researchers recommend Mojeaga herbal remedy for anaemia, diabetes, cancer, other chronic diseases

Nigerian researchers have demonstrated that a combination of three local herbs, Mojeaga herbal remedy, could be used to boost the immune system, red blood cells and prevent development of degenerative diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

The researchers investigated the phytochemicals contents, antioxidant property and haematinic potential of Mojeaga herbal remedy (Alchornea cordifolia, Sorghum bicolor, Pennisetum glaucum) leave preparation in animal model.

The researchers concluded: “It is significant to consider this research study, which elicited essential preclinical information progressing to anti-anemic herbal remedy development in the country. Therefore, possible isolation and feature of bioactive components should be accounted for with diverse pharmacological properties of Mojeaga herbal remedy in accordance with determine its bioactive guide to assay.”

The study titled, “Phytochemical screening, antioxidant study and hematinic property of Mojeaga herbal remedy using animal model” was published in Beni-Suef University Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences.

The researchers, led by a Professor of Phytomedicine at Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin, MacDonald Idu, include: Managing Director of Mojeaga International Ventures Limited, Benin City, Mr. Monday Ojeaga Alugeh; Director of Mojeaga, Mr. Micheal Ojeaga Alugeh; and a researcher at Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin Dr. Benjamin Ogunma Gabriel.

Standard protocols were used to analyse the qualitative and quantitative phytochemical, gas chromatography mass spectrum (GC–MS), and in vitro antioxidant studies (1, 1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) (DPPH), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and total antioxidant capacity were also used to assess these plants. Ninety Wistar rats of both sexes were selected for this study. They were administered with 40-mg/kg phenylhydrazine hydrochloride to induce anaemia.

Five days afterward, they were treated with oral dose of 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 ml/kg Mojeaga herbal remedy for 10 days. Haematological, CD4 and CD8, and histology of the blood and bone marrow were analysed.

The CD4/CD8 ratio is one of the blood tests used to monitor the immune system in immune-compromised persons, especially in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

The result of the phytochemical screening showed the presence of flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids and phenol.

Flavonoids and phenol were more in abundant (917 and 1445 mg/kg). The GC– MS analysis shows the presence of disulphide, dimethyl, 2-Methoxy-4-vinylphenol, 1-Dodecanol, 10-Phenyldecanoic acid, 8-Phenyloctanoic acid, n-Hexadecanoic acid and 15-Hydroxypentadecanoic acid.

The antioxidant scavenging property showed the potential capacity of the herbal remedy to scavenge free radicals against oxidative stress at 24 per cent, 53.8 per cent 1609.9 μM Fe II/ g extract when compared with ascorbic acid. The haematological indexes showed a significant increase in red blood cells (RBC), haemoglobin, haematocrit mean corpuscular haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentrations, mean corpuscular volume, CD4 and CD8 count at day 10 of the male and female rats with the values of RBC, haematocrit and haemoglobin when compared with the control. The histo-architectural structure of the bone marrow showed a stimulating effect of myeloid/erythroid cell ratio > 60 in the treatment groups when compared with 40 mg/kg phenylhydrazine alone.

Until now, plant phytochemicals have shown a pivotal pipe- line in pharmaceutical discovery. It stimulated scientific interest in biological activities because of their phyto-constituents. They are used for several curative purposes because of their therapeutic importance. According to the WHO, herbal medicines are finished, labeled medicinal products that contain active ingredients.

Botanically called Alchornea cordifolia, it is called oje in Ebira-Etuno; uwonmwe in Edo; mbom in Efik; tahi in Gwari; bambani or bombana in Hausa; ubebe or ububo in Igbo; ipain in Ijaw; ukpaoromi in Yekhee; and epa or ipan-esin in Yoruba. Alchornea cordifolia is a perennial evergreen shrub that belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. It is known as Dove wood in English. Studies have validated its ethno-pharmacological uses with characterised pharmacologically active molecules. Infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of respiratory problems such as sore throat, cough, bronchitis and intestinal problems such as gastric ulcers, diarrhea, amoebic dysentery and worms. Poultice of the leaves is also used to treat wounds. Application of the leaves and root bark of Alchornea cordifolia is used in treatment of leprosy and as antidote for snakebite. Alchornea cordifolia root and bark are used to increase sexual performances among the people of Congo in Africa sub-region. In Nigeria, it is used to treat gonorrhoea, yaws, rheumatic pain and cough.

Sorghum bicolor belongs to the plant family Poaceae. It makes a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage, kunu-zaki (in Hausa), and tasty pap, akamu (in Ibo), and thick porridge, tuwo dawa (in Hausa). It is fermented to make sorghum beer called burkutu or pito, or made into flour and mixed with bean flour then fried to make dawaki. Sorghum bicolor leaves are typically green, glasslike and flat and not as broad as maize leaves. It belongs to the grass family Poaceae. Sorghum bicolor is locally known as oka pupa in the Southern part of Nigeria. Sorghum bicolor grain is higher in protein and lower in fat content than corn and this is partly responsible for its haemopoietic ability.

It has been reported that sorghum can be used as anti-abortive, cyanogenetic, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, in toxicant and poison. Sorghum is a folk remedy for cancer, epilepsy, flux, stomachache, diarrhoea, and treatment of tubercular swellings. Recent focus has been on the leaf sheath of S. bicolor used as herbal remedy for anemia and boosting effect on blood concentration haematinic potentials, which serves as blood tonics.

Pennisetum glaucum is commonly called pearl millet, which belongs to a section of the Paniceae family known as Poaceae. It is called mawi in Gwari; damróó in Hausa; adlă in Idoma; ókōdú in Igala; ọkà mịlètì in Igbo; zumya in Jukun; and ẹmẹyẹ̀ in Yoruba. It helps to increase haemoglobin (Hb), high iron content (8 mg/100 g) and high zinc content (3.1 mg/100 g). Hb is the main component of red blood cells and serves as the transporter for oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Pearl millet is effective in the management of constipation by dealing with constipation with high fibre (1.2 g/100 g). It combated cancer, promoting anti-cancer property via inhibition of tumour development. Also, it helps in regulating diabetes by dealing with low glycemic index. It is as well useful for anti-allergic gluten-free, diarrhoea via probiotic treatment of lactic acid bacteria. It promotes nutriceutical content of flavonoids, phenolics, omega-3 fatty acids. Pearl millet has a large amount of phosphorus.

Anaemia is a medical condition characterised by lowered haemoglobin level. There are over 400 types of anaemia, with haemolytic anemia being the most frequent. More than half of the world’s population experience some forms of anemia in their lifetime. The incidence of anaemia is higher in the third world than in developed countries. A study in a rural population of Nigeria reported that 19.7 per cent of the children were anaemic. Such prevalence has been attributed to various aggravating factors such as poor nutrition, high prevalence of blood parasites, for example, Plasmodium, Trypanosome and helminthes infections. Prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and exposure to toxic chemicals such as phenylhydrazine has also been implicated to cause the condition. Because of the high prevalence and possibility of even further increase, there is the need to prevent it or seek for more cost effective and better treatment strategies.

The preliminary phytochemical screening of the product showed the presence of flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, cardiac glycosides, phenols, terpenoids and steroids. The literature has reported same phytochemicals in Anthocleista djalonensis root extracts in previous study. Antioxidant phytochemicals such as polyphenols, flavonoids, tannins and alkaloids have been documented for their effects on blood cells regenerations in animals and could have an indirect action to stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands thereby influencing erythropoietin in the kidney to further trigger myelo-erythroid cells in the bone marrow.

The plant phytochemical constituent’s includes flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, cardiac glycosides, phenols, terpenoids and steroids are present in the product except the absent of steroids that is absent.

The result showed a significant increase in in vitro antioxidant activity of Mojeaga herbal remedy in 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), total antioxidant capacity and ferric reducing antioxidant potential radicals, when comparable with ascorbic acid. DPPH is a free radical, which have hydrogen acceptor capability to antioxidants. This could be responsible via scavenging oxidative stress capable of haemolysing blood cell, hence Mojeaga herbal remedy aid red blood cell regeneration. The researchers said the result is also in concordance with the findings of Muanya and Odukoya that showed that high lipid peroxidation inhibition effect of Anthocleista djalonensis root extract in the raw and cooked fish homogenate among all the selected herbs enhancer in traditional medicine.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are implicated in the pathogenesis of anemia. Overproduction of ROS in blood cells can affect its production; hence, plasma antioxidant defense mechanism prevents oxidative stress damage.

Antioxidants scavenge free radicals from the system and protect erythrocyte cells that are essential in blood formations. The antioxidant property of Mojeaga herbal remedy showed that it could possess the capacity to scavenge excess ROS in erythrocyte synthesis which handle oxidative damage of blood cells.

Findings from the immuno-modulatory studies elicited that pre-administration of Mojeaga herbal remedy displayed base line data with scientific proof on the immuno-protective potential associated with herbal remedy. The parameters such as white blood cell count and its differential count were analysed in comparison with the control and the treated groups showed that the treated groups’ significant increase in white blood cells and its differentials count compared to the control. The study also showed that the CD4 and CD8 count had slight significant difference; hence, this served as an evident that aqueous Mojeaga herbal remedy possibly trigger humoral immune feedback because of its immune-protective property displayed.

The researchers also conducted another study on “Toxicological evaluation of Mojeaga herbal remedy on experimental animals.” The study was published in the Journal of Basic Pharmacology and Toxicology.

The study evaluated the toxicological profile of Mojeaga herbal remedy on male and female animal models. In a time-dependent study, acute and chronic toxicity of Mojeaga herbal remedy in male and female Wistar rats were investigated through thorough examination of mortality rate, body and organ weight changes, haematological indexes, biomarkers of hepatic and renal functions, lipid profile, in-vivo antioxidant assay, hormonal assay and histopathological study across all treatment groups using standard protocol. No observable behavioral change with absent lethality at 10 to 10000 mg/kg of Mojeaga herbal remedy.

According to the study, there was no drastic significant change in the body and organ weight of the male and female animals. In the chronic toxicity studies, Mojeaga herbal remedy indicated no significant difference in haematological indices, liver function test, kidney function test, lipid profile, antioxidant indexes and hormonal assays with a slight significant increase in hepatic (ALT, ALP AST) and renal (potassium, sodium and chloride), lipid profile (cholesterol, triglyceride, high density lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein), in-vivo antioxidant assay (MOD, catalase, SOD and glutathione). Also, no defect on male and female hormonal assay (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone) activities among treated groups when compared with control.

The result of the study showed there was no marked significant toxicological effect on serum total protein (TP), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), albumin (ALB) and creatinine (CREA) urea levels across the whole treated groups at graded doses of 150, 300 and 600 mg/kg. Mojeaga product caused no histopathological variation on vital visceral organs (liver, kidney, heart, stomach, brain, lungs spleen testes and uterus) when compared with control. It is contingent from this study that Mojeaga herbal remedy exhibited bio-protective and hyper-stimulating affects with harmless and protective therapeutic benefits.

The researchers concluded: “In conclusion, Mojeaga herbal remedy showed absent toxicity across the selected doses understudied in chronic oral toxicity studies. The histopathological studies elicited no significant alteration in the visceral organs understudied.”

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