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Spicy ‘cure’ for anaemia, hypertension, diabetes, others

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A local spice, Tetrapleura tetraptera, has been validated as ‘cure’ for anaemia and hypertension.

Researchers have demonstrated the anti-insulin resistance, anti-lipidemic, anti-obesity, hypotensive and anti-inflammatory properties of water extracts of Tetrapleura tatraptera and the potential for the management of obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Lipidemic is the presence of excess lipids or fats in the blood.

Tetrapleura tetraptera belongs to the Mimosaceae/Fabacae family. It is locally known as aridan among the Yoruba, osakirisa, ihokiriho or oshosho among the Igbo, dawo among the Hausa, uyayak in Ibibio 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 for the treatment of gastrointestinal related clinical problems.

Molluscicides are pesticides, which kill mollusks, an animal phylum of tens of thousands of invertebrate creatures. Mollusks include octopi and squid, as well as snails and slugs, which are usually targeted by molluscicides.

However, a recent study published in Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases concluded: “Tetrapleura tetraptera extract has proven its haematinic potentials and so is recommended as a good alternative or combine therapy in anaemia treatment and in quantitative platelet disorders. But caution must be taken in dosage intake particularly in males with infertility disorders.”

A hematinic is a nutrient required for the formation of blood cells in the process of hematopoiesis. The main hematinics are iron, B12, and folate. Deficiency in haematinics can lead to anaemia. In cases of hematinic deficiency, haematinics can be administered as medicines, in order to increase the hemoglobin content of the blood.

The study is titled, “Upgrading of Lethal Dose of Tetrapleura tetraptera Extract Enhances Blood Cell Values.”

The researchers, Jimmy E. O. and Ekpo A. J. D., from the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, investigated the effects of aqueous extract of Tetrapleura tetraptera on blood cells in 28 albino rats for the period of 28 days. The acute toxicity LD50 on 30 albino mice was 244.94 mg/kg.

Lethal dose (LD50) is the amount of an ingested substance that kills 50 percent of a test sample.

The results showed the red blood cells counts increased at 40 per cent of the LD50 extract on day 14, 30 per cent of LD50 on day 21 and at 10 per cent of the LD50 on day 28. Platelets counts increased at 20 per cent of LD50 on day 14, 40 per cent LD50 on day 21 and 20 per cent of LD50 on day 28. Total white blood cells counts increased at 40 per cent of the LD50 on day 14, at 10 per cent of LD50 on day 21 and at 20 per cent of the LD50 on day 28. The lymphocytes differential counts increased at 40 per cent of the LD50 extract on day 14, at 10 per cent of the LD50 on day 21 and at 20 per cent of the LD50 on day 28. Neutrophil different counts increased at 20 per cent of the LD50 extract on day 14, at 40 per cent of the LD50 on day 21 and at 30 per cent of the LD50 on day 28. Mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) increased at 20 per cent LD50 on day 14, at 10 per cent LD50 on day 21 and at 20 per cent LD50 on day 28.

Also the mean corpuscular haemoglobin, (MCH) increased at 20 per cent LD50 on day 14, at 10 per cent LD50 on day 21 and at 20 per cent LD50 on day 28. The mean corpuscular volume, (MCV) increased at 20 per cent LD50 on day 14, at 10 per cent LD50 on day 21 and at 20 per cent LD50 on day 28.

The results of the study indicated that extract of Tetrapleura tetraptera is a potent stimulant for blood cells development and should be adopted as haematinic.

The researchers explained: “Variation in the effects of Tetrapleura tetraptera on the various red blood cells have been observed as per the dosage of the extract that is percentage dosage of the LD50 and the period of extract administration particularly the red blood cells had increased with increased in percentage of extract.

This means that increase consumption of the extract will increase red blood cells count. This is shown in such increase in days 14 and 28 of the administration. The normal red blood cells development takes 3-4 days that is from the erythroblast to erythrocyte stage. This rate of production is a function of the rate of destruction and the oxygen content and stimulation by erythropoietin.

“The boosted effect of Tetrapleura tetraptera may be the fact that it has iron content which is an important constituent of the haem. Other constituents include amino acid for globin chain, copper and zinc and which are very essential in haemopoiesis.

However, phytate is reported in Tetrapleura tetraptera, which is iron chelator, which may reduce its concentration.

The red cell number is very important in its oxygen carrying capacity and it is very relevant that adequate number be present to avoid increase cardiac activity in low availability.

All the haemoglobin indices increased at increase concentration of the extract. Low values of this parameter suggest anaemia.


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