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Herbal ‘cures’ for inflammation, sexual dysfunction



Ginger, nuts, alligator pepper and whole grains are just some of the many foods that have been touted to have anti-inflammatory properties, among other health benefits. CHUKWUMA MUANYA and WOLE OYEBADE report.

IT is often said that for every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect. No other group of people best appreciates this saying than the Traditional Africans.

  Long before the dawn of modern medicine – where drugs manufactured in laboratories are popular and expensive chemical or synthetic drugs deemed to be the best for our bodies – our forebears have sought natural substance for ailments, to stay fit and healthy. 

  And they work – talk of home remedies and natural cures, no side effects, no chemicals, inexpensive, plus the pleasure of being able to cure yourself! Yet, some of those common things are still with us till date, such that scientists are now confirming those experiences traditionalist had felt many years ago.

  For instance, if you’ve ever taken ginger ale for an upset tummy, you understand the health benefits of ginger. Going back more than 2,000 years in China, the herb has been used to treat nausea, upset stomach and help with digestion and diarrhoea.

   Used in stir-fries and Asian cooking, the spicy, pungent underground rhizome of the ginger plant is firm with a striated texture. It may be yellow, white or red, depending on the variety, and is covered with a thin or thick brownish skin, depending on whether the plant was harvested mature or young.

  A 2009 study found ginger supplements when taken alongside anti-vomiting medicine reduced chemotherapy-induced nausea in patients by 40 per cent.

  “Therapeutically, it’s also used for poor circulation and lower back pain. On an emotional level, it can act as a catalyst if you are procrastinating and lack the drive to take action,” says Laurie Steelsmith, a licensed naturopathic doctor said.

   Studies have shown it can also ease muscle pain, eliminate inflammation, help with painful menstruation and migraines, and may even slow or kill ovarian and colon cancer cells. 

  Nausea and motion sickness: Ginger is well known for its ability to ease nausea, and it’s helpful for motion and seasickness. Women suffering from morning sickness were given beverages with ginger during the first trimester of pregnancy, and when compared with women given a placebo, ginger alleviated the nausea in a large majority of the cases.

   Diabetes complications: Studies show ginger may reduce urine protein levels, decrease water intake and urine output, and reverse proteinuria, which is kidney damage caused by too much protein in the urine. Ginger may also protect nerves in diabetics and lower blood fat levels. “Ginger can help increase circulation, thin blood, and lower both blood pressure and cholesterol,” says author Steelsmith.

   Arthritis: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study published in the journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage found patients with painful arthritis in the knee who were given ginger vs. a placebo experienced significantly less pain and loss of movement compared to those taking the placebo.

  Cold and flu: Chinese medicine practitioners commonly prescribe ginger to treat symptoms of colds and flu. The root acts as an antihistamine and decongestant, two cold-easing effects that can help with symptoms.

  Another 100 per cent natural product from Alligator pepper or Grains of paradise (botanically called Aframomum melegueta) has shown promise in resolving erectile dysfunction and delaying ejaculation.

  A preparation from Alligator pepper has received a United States patent as a potent aphrodisiac.

  Aframomum melegueta is the commonest species of Aframomum present in Nigeria. It has a pungent, peppery flavour. In traditional Igbo society, Alligator is used alongside Kola nut and local clay when offering prayers.

  Until now, it forms the basic component of most herbal preparations. Advocates say it helps to other herbs to mix better and enhance their effect. It is used extensively in dishes in West and North Africa. It has a long history of being used medicinally as a digestive aid.

  It has been shown that Alligator pepper is more effective when used with Piper guineense (Uziza in Ibo)), kola nut and bitter kola. In a research, this combination was used on male rats. The results showed that this combination has an ability to “turn on” male rats.

  Indeed, the patented invention relates to pharmaceutical compositions based on the use of Aframomum seeds to solve the problem of male erectile dysfunction as well as premature ejaculation in men.

  A summary of the U.S. Patent 5879682 reads: “One aim of the present invention is to provide a painless therapy for male erectile dysfunction as well as for premature ejaculation in male without the drawbacks of the prior art techniques. The composition of the present invention provide a painless and safe medication to patients suffering from erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation as well as to men wishing to improve their sexual performance.”

  The Primary Examiner is Hutzell, Paula K., while the Assistant Examiner is Bakalyar, Heather A. The Attorney, Agent or Firm is Swabey, Ogilvy Renault Cote, France.

  They claim: “A pharmaceutical composition comprising milled seeds from Aframomum stipulatum or extracts therefrom in association with a pharmaceutical carrier, wherein said composition is in a molded or pressed tablet or capsule form. A method for improving penile rigidity of a human male, said method comprising the step of administering the pharmaceutical composition to said male in an amount effective to increase penile rigidity.

  “The composition is administered at a dosage of about 0.3 mg to about 10 mg per kg of the male’s body weight. The pharmaceutical composition is administered at a dosage of about one mg to about six mg per kg of the male’s body weight. It is administered once, twice or three times daily.

  “It can be used in combination with alcoholic beverage to said male in an amount effective to achieve multiple successive ejaculation/re-erection processes with constant penile rigidity. The pharmaceutical composition is administered at a dosage of about 0.3 mg to about 10 mg per kg of the male’s body weight.”

  A professor of Complementary Medicine at the Global Foundation for Integrated Medicine Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, Osmond Ifeanyi Onyeka said that scientists in Canada, of African origin, intrigued by the sexual vitality of certain tribes, discovered that Alligator pepper was used as a spice to season food, and was at the source of this sexual vitality. __

  Onyeka said: “Curiously, it was necessary in North America to wait until today to take advantage of the virtues of this plant, although it has been used for centuries in Africa.

  Kola nut, another plant known for its stimulating properties, comes from Nigeria. Combined together, these two plants form a synergy, acting like phyto-hormones for men as well as for women.”

  One the major uses and functions, Onyeka said: “At the age of 20, the human body starts to lose sexual vitality. Many factors contribute to this situation: stress, bad food habits, among others. Alligator pepper works on the hormonal receptors. It reactivates these receivers without causing surplus storage. This was demonstrated in a clinical study when results showed that Alligator pepper is not more effective if a person takes a significantly larger dose.

  On the effect on women, he said: “Alligator pepper works on women’s libido and make women senses more sensitive to the touch. Regulates lubrication. Increases sexual desire in less than 72 hours.” 

  On the effect on men, Onyeka said: “Alligator pepper works on the whole erectile cycle but little on male libido. With or without previous problems, you can expect a better quality erection: Easier, harder and longer erection. Helps to delay ejaculation. Faster recuperation time. Sexual vitality helps to preserve a healthy prostate.”

  Onyeka, however, warned: “ Because Alligator pepper is a kind of spice, as with other spices, we recommend being careful if you have intestinal sensitivity or allergies to spices. Up to now, no other negative effects have been reported.”

 Aframomum is a broad genus of plants found in the humid tropics of Africa, which includes more than 50 species known to date. The Aframomum species all belong to the family of Zingiberaceae. However, there has been much confusion due to poor material, mixed gatherings and unfamiliarity with the genus in the field. To date the genus Aframomum is employed as a spice, in perfumes and dyes, and currently in the treatment of hemorrhoids in Africa where some of them are widely cultivated for their edible spicy fruit.

  In some species, leafs are well known to be dispensed for measles and externally for leprosy, while a root decoction is taken by nursing mothers to inhibit excessive lactation and to control postpartum heamorrhage.

  Rhizomes of other species are used as ingredient for the preparation of remedy for infertility, to promote conception and the fresh fruits are used some times as tonic for sexual stimulation. Several plants in the genus are also used as purgative, galactogogue and anthelmintic and as hemostatic agent. Seeds of some species are also used with leaves of Urera oblongifolia as an external treatment for tumours.

In Senegal, seeds of Aframomum melegueta are usually mixed with salt and rubbed to the interior of the mouth as treatment of sleeping sickness.

  Antimicrobial activity have also been reported for seed constituents of Aframomum danielli, but, no species of the genus, has ever been reported on its seed abilities to reestablish erectile function and/or to improve penile rigidity in men.

The invention provides a new application of Aframomum plants in improving male penile rigidity, and/or treating male erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

  The present invention relates to an oral or topical composition for the treatment of male erectile dysfunction, which comprises Aframomum. The present invention relates particularly to the Aframomum seeds ability to delay male ejaculation and to ensure full erection.

  The pharmaceutical composition of present invention are intended for oral or topical administration which constitutes one of the main advantages of the present invention with respect to the prior art therapy.

  In addition, for men seeking post-ejaculation penile performance, the composition of the present invention may optionally be used with alcoholic beverages to synergistically maintain libido, whereas successive ejaculation/re-erection can easily be done for several times with constant penile rigidity.

  The patent indicated that a wide range of Aframomum seeds may be used, which are the seeds of unnamed Aframomum consisting of the remote ancestors of the foregoing Aframomums as an active ingredient in the composition for improvement of penile rigidity and/or treatment of male erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

  It stated that a wide range of Aframomum seeds may be used, which are the seeds of unknown Aframomums and unknown related species as an active ingredient in the composition for improvement of penile rigidity and/or treatment of male erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

  The inventors wrote: “The use of Aframomum seeds of the present invention and the composition of the present invention are beneficial in that: it is intended for oral or topical administration in both healthy and non-healthy men; it will not cause any undesirable erection, or affect any sexual behaviour or need, even for men without a sexual partner; it will not cause priapism, or any other sexual side effect during or after its use; for any degree or kind of impotence, it reestablishes the male erectile function and maintains constant penile rigidity during the sexual act; it significantly increases and constantly maintains the penile rigidity in healthy men, during their sexual relationships, and the composition of the present invention may be used by both healthy and non-healthy men to delay penile ejaculation, and/or to increase penile rigidity.

  “The pharmaceutical composition of the present invention is characterized in that: it is not aphrodisiac, unlike as mentioned when describing the fresh fruit of Aframomum melegueta, but it allow constant penile rigidity while delaying ejaculation in both healthy and non-healthy men; it is highly potent in terms of penile rigidity and may act synergistically with alcoholic beverages to maintain sufficient libido and to ensure successive ejaculation/re-erection processes; it prevents premature ejaculation while improving constant penile rigidity, and it allows men to maintain both libido and penile rigidity at such a level that no erection failure does occur during the sexual relationship.

  “The composition of the present invention can also be used in mixtures with hormones such as testosterone and/or other agents to synergistically improve the reestablishment of male penile function.”

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