Monday, 25th September 2023

Herbal ‘cures’ for lung cancer, malaria validated

23 April 2015   |   6:23 am
United States and Nigerian researchers from the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development (NIPRD) Abuja, Halamin Herbal Center, Abuja, and Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, have validated the use of local herbal drugs for the treatment of malaria, lung cancer and other chronic diseases. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes.
different herbs including Lemon grass and bitter leaf. sensoryperfection.

different herbs including Lemon grass and bitter leaf. sensoryperfection.

NIGERIANS and indeed people from all races need not die from cancers and malaria any longer.

United States and Nigerian researchers have, in two recent but separate studies published in reputable medical journals, validated the use of local herbal drugs for the treatment of lung cancer and malaria.

The basic constituents of the herbal drugs SAABFAT6 and SAABMAL include: garlic (Allium sativum), lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), green vegetable/Amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus), Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) and sesame (Sesamum indicum).

United States researchers from Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, found that a Nigerian-made herbal supplement, SAABFAT6, have potential for the regulation the growth of colorectal and lung cancer.

SAABFAT6 has been registered by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The study published in April 2015 editions of The FASEB Journal and Experimental Biology is titled “Antiproliferative and Cytotoxic Evaluation of Herbal Supplement SAABFAT6 on HT29 Colorectal Adenocarcinoma Cells.”

The researchers, Syntia E Kwende and Momoh A Yakubu, who recently presented their findings at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) yearly scientific meeting concluded: “The consumption of herbal supplements has been one of the remedy for several aliments including cancer for a long time. Cancers, especially colorectal adenocarcinoma are diseases with high morbidity and mortality and are often associated with suffering and poor quality of life.

“Herbal supplements are an attractive cancer therapy, we have investigated the antiproliferative and cytotoxic properties of the herbal supplement SAABFAT6 on colorectal adenocarcinoma cell (HT29). Ethanol extracts of SAABFAT6 (0.5-2 mg/mL) was incubated with HT29 and in vitro antiproliferative/cytotoxicity activities were evaluated using MTT assay.

“Treatment of HT29 with SAABFAT6 significantly reduced cellular proliferation at 48 and 72 but not at 24 hours except for 2 mg/mL concentration. Cytotoxic evaluation showed significant reduction in cell viability at 24 and 48 hrs (2 mg/mL) and at 48 hours (0.5 and 1 mg/mL). This preliminary result indicates that SAABFAT6 supplement may have a potential for the regulation of HT29 growth and survival.

Further study is required to identify the mechanisms by which the anti-proliferative and cytotoxic effects of SAABFAT6 is mediated.”

Also, Nigerian researchers from the Departments of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Technology & Raw Material Development, NIPRD and Halamin Herbal Centre, Abuja, have demonstrated the efficacy of SAABMAL, a local herbal drug, as a herbal antimalarial formulation against chloroquine sensitive malaria and its potential use in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria infection.

The study published in February 2015 edition of Indian Journal of Medical Research is titled “Antimalarial properties of SAABMAL: an ethnomedicinal polyherbal formulation for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria infection in the tropics.”

The researchers led by Prof. Martins Emeje of NIPRD include I.C. Obidike and Ben Amodu of Haalamin Herbal Centre Abuja.

They concluded: “In conclusion, our results confirmed the efficacy of SAABMAL® as an herbal antimalarial formulation with acceptable capsule qualities. However, there is a need for development of an appropriate analytical technique for monitoring drug release from the formulation. This will assist in developing appropriate stability parameters and bioavailability/bioequivalence studies during clinical trials.”

Amodu who is also the director and chief researcher of the Centre said the study showed that SAABMAL is a remedy for cancer. The phytho-medicinal researcher also added that his products when taken to America had been found out to have curing capacity of over 75 per cent of both cancers of lung, colon, and pancreas, among others.

Malaria is a serious problem in the countries of the developing world. As the malaria parasite has become resistant to most of the antimalaria drugs available currently, there is a need to search for newer drugs.

This study reported the pharmaceutical quality and in vivo antimalarial activities of a polyherbal formulation (SAABMAL®) used as malarial remedy in Nigeria.

The antiplasmodial activity of SAABMAL® was determined by using the four-day suppressive test in Plasmodium berghei-infected mice. The formulation was tried on three different experimental animal models for in vivo antimalarial activities, which are prophylactic, suppressive and curative in mice. Chloroquine and pyrimethamine were used as standard drugs for comparison.

The suppressive study showed that, SAABMAL® (200 and 400 mg/kg/bw) significantly produced a suppression (29.39 to 100 per cent) of parasitaemia in a dose-dependent manner, while the curative study showed that SAABMAL® at 400 mg significantly reduced (95.80 per cent) parasitaemia compared with controls.

The mean survival time of SAABMAL®-treated groups (100 and 200 mg/kg) was higher than that of the chloroquine-treated group.

The researchers found no changes in the spleen of both untreated and treated groups. SAABMAL® capsules were of good mechanical properties with low weight variation and high degree of content mass uniformity.

They wrote: “The results obtained in this study showed the efficacy of SAABMAL®, a herbal antimalarial formulation against chloroquine sensitive malaria and its potential use in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria infection.

Further studies need to be done in humans to test its efficacy and safety for its potential use as an antimalarial drug.”

Malaria is a problem in every region of the developing world and contributes significantly to mortality, poverty and underdevelopment in endemic regions1. The problem is greatest in Africa, where over 80 per cent of malaria cases and death occur.