Calotropis procera Commonly known as ‘giant-milkweed’ is a flowering plant specie that is native to North Africa, Tropical Africa, Western Asia, South Asia, Nigeria and Indochina. It’s very abundant in Nigeria with the local name: Bomu-bomu in Yoruba, Tumfatiya in Hausa. The leaves is popularly use by the Fulani tribe and Hausa to prepare a traditional drink called ‘Wankachi’ and Nono. The green globes are hollow but the flesh contains a toxic milky sap that is extremely bitter and turns into a gluey coating resistant to soap. The stems and leaves have a waxy appearance and contain a milky white sap (i.e. latex). Branching occurs from the base of the plant upwards. Younger stems are greyish-green in colour, smooth in texture, and have a covering of whitish coloured hairs (i.e. they are hoary). Mature stems have a deeply fissured, cork-like, bark that is light brown in colour. This plant is used particularly for treatment of asthma, arthritis and skin related diseases.
BOTANICAL NAME : Calotropis Procera
Common Name: Giantmilkweed
LOCAL NAMES IN NIGERIA:
Yoruba : bomu bomu
Hausa : Tumfatiya
TRADITIONAL USE OF THE PLANT:
The traditional use of the giantmilkweed are innumerable. Listed below are a few viz:
(1) The flower powder help to treat ashthma
(2) the latex extract can be used to treat ear ache.
(3) a smeared mustard oil on a leaf of the plant helps treat stomach ache
(4) The leaves is used in treatment of arthritis
(5) Skin disease: A paste of the stem bark is applied on the skin surface cures skin diseases.
(6) Roots, stem bark, latex, leaves and flowers: An extract of the whole plant is taken as a tonic and purgative in small doses, and as an emetic in larger doses. It cures diarrhoea, dysentery, intestinal worms, colic, spleen complaints, pneumonia, fever, jaundice, elephantiasis and leprosy.
(7) Dried root powder : when soaked in water is taken to increase milk flow of nursing mothers and is given to women to ease child birth.
(8) Ground roots or the ash of the burnt roots : are applied as a salve or rubbed in to treat skin rash, skin infections and leprosy.
(9) Root powder : when mixed with Capsicum pepper is put in a bath to treat rheumatism and arthritis.
(10) The root bark is remedy for cough.
(11) The stem bark acts as an aphrodisiac.
(12) The leaf pulp is taken to treat snakebites. They are sometimes taken by women to induce abortion and as an uterotonic.
TOXICOLOGY OF THE PLANT:
The latex is toxic and can cause rash, blisters and serious inflammations in sensitive persons and it may lead to blindness. Ingesting larger doses of latex produce toxic symptoms like burning in the throat, irritation of the stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, vertigo and convulsions. The latex has been used as a hunting poison and fish poison, and sometimes used for criminal purposes. The milky sap contains a complex mixture of chemicals like the “cardiac aglycones”. These are steroidal heart poisons . Thus in the process of formulation, the latex and milky sap should be well processed to remove the toxic constituents and the consumption of raw plant and it’s extract must be in adherence to prescribed doses.
Calotropis procera is a wonderful and unique plant. It has great uses but because of the toxic nature of the milky latex which is very abundance in all parts of the plant caution must be taken to ensure the herb is prescribed by an experience Herbalist before consuming it. Feel free to contact us for further advice if you need to use this herb .
(1) Gavin D. “Calotropis procera ” United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2010, p 7
(2)The Jewish Encyclopedia “apple of Sodom” Jewish encyclopedia , 2002, vol 2
(3)Whiston, William Josephus” The War of the Jews” translated by William Whiston” 1734, p 500
(4)New inversed version “Application Commentary on Kings; cf. Cogan and Tadmore, II Kings” 1956, vol 10 , p. 58
(5) F. Bruschweiler, K. Stockel & T. ” the apple of sodom reviewed ” Jewish encyclopedia, 2016 , vol 9
(6)Ahmed, K.K.M., Rana, A.C. & Dixit, V.K., 2005. Calotropis species (Asclepiadaceae) – a comprehensive review. Pharmacognosy Magazine 1(2): 48–52.
(7)Arbonnier, M., 2000. Arbres, arbustes et lianes des zones sèches d’Afrique de l’Ouest. CIRAD, MNHN, UICN. 541 pp.
(8)Baerts, M. & Lehmann, J., 2011. Calotropis procera. [Internet] Prelude Medicinal Plants Database. Metafro-Infosys, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium http://www.metafro.be/prelude. Accessed September 2011.
(9) bagherwal, P., 2011. Immunomodulatory activities of the non-dialyzable latex fraction (NDL) from Calotropis procera (Ait.) R. Br. International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Sciences 2(1): 114–119.
(10)Chavda, R., Vadalia, K.R. & Gokani, R., 2010. Hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of root bark of Calotropis procera R.Br (Asclepediaceae). International Journal of Pharmacology 6(6): 937–943.
(11) De Freitas, C.D., Lopes, J.L., Beltramini, L.M., de Oliveira, R.S., Oliveira, J.T. & Ramos, M.V., 2011. Osmotin from Calotropis procera latex: new insights into structure and antifungal properties. Biochimica & Biophysica Acta 1808(10): 2501–2507.
(12) De Oliveira, J.S., Bezerra, D.P., Teixeira de Freitas, C.D., Barreto Marinho Filho, J.D., de Moraes, M.O., Pessoa, C., Costa-Lotufo, L.V. & Ramos, M.V., 2007. In vitro cytotoxicity against different human cancer cell lines of laticifer proteins of Calotropis procera (Ait.) R.Br. Toxicology in Vitro 21(8): 1563–1573.
(13) Kiew, R., 2001. Calotropis R.Br. In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 133–138.
(13) manikandan, M. & Arumugam, R., 2010. Potentiality of Calotropis procera on the yield of biocrudes and biogas production. Journal of Phytology 2(4): 33–40.
Pupalia lappacea is a variable plant that is grown annually or perennially. It has stems ranging from 50 – 200cm in length. It belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. These stems are less woody at the base. Morphologically, the plant is sometimes erect, prostrate or sprawling. The plant’s leaves and stem can be used as medicine. The leaves are edible but must be harvested for food after watering the plant. Pupalia lappacea is indeed an all in one plant because it’s use touches every sphere of life viz:
1. To treat Infections and diseases
2. As food
3. For beautification of our skin
4. It adds an aesthetic colour to our environment
5. It is used to treat constipation
BOTANICAL NAME :
The botanical name is Papulia lappacea. Common names are forest burr, creeping cock’s comb.
LOCAL NAMES IN NIGERIA:
Igbo : Ose, oso
Yoruba : emo agbo
Hausa : marin-kasu
OF THE FOREST BURR PLANT:
1. it is used as food when added with groundnut or coconut milk and eaten with rice.
2. It is used for scarifying the skin
3. The forest burr plant is believed to be an indicator of the fertility of the soil in any area where it is grown.
4. When applied externally, the leaves are mixed with palm oil to treat boils.
5. It is used as an antitusive especially by pregnant women
6. It is used in management of diabetes because it has an hypoglycemic effect
7. It is used in treatment of wounds and cut as a traditional first aid therapy.
8. It is used for its aesthetics value in any environment it is found.
PHARMACOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF THE P. LAPPACEA PLANT
The forest burr herb contains alkaloids and some bio – molecules that potentates a hypoglycemic effect in the body, hence it is used for management of diabetes. It also compounds with anti bacterial properties thus it is used for treatment of cuts, wounds. It contains an antihistamine agent, hence it is used for treatment of stubborn coughs. It contains an anti oxidant that helps eliminates dangerous free radicals from our circulatory system (A. A felix et al, antioxidant activity of papulia lappacea, research Journal of biological sciences, vol 13).
The forest burr plant has been said to cause colic in Somalia if it is eaten prior watering so ensure it is watered before its harvest and consumption. The flower head is an ingredient of rat poison in Nigeria. The leaves are anti diabetic, diuretic and febrifuge. On histological analysis, the forest burr plant has been found to lack toxic compounds especially when it is harvested and consumed after watering.
The immense benefits of the pupalia lappacea is limitless. From its use to treat chronic cough, dysenteriferous diarrhoea and oedema to its use for scarying the skin, lower blood glucose and treat boils it is at ease that researchers chose to call it the “all in one plant”.
1. H. fatima, B. M Reddy. “Evaluation of antinocieptive and antipyretic effects of pupalia lappacea juss “, international current pharmaceutical Journal, vol 2, no 2, pp 23-28., 2013.
2. A. A felix, O. A. Domingo. “Anti oxidant activity and chemical constituent of pupalia lappacea”. Research Journal of biological sciences, vol 3, no 7, pp 783 – 788, 2008.
3. A. Ravi , M. Alvala et al. ” Anti cancer activity of pupalia luppacea on chronic myeloid leukemia K562 cells “, DARU Journal of pharmaceutical sciences, vol 20, no 1, article 86, 2012.
4. Vick kamar, et al. ” Biological evaluation of pupalia lappacea for antidiabetic, antiadipogenic and hypolipidemic activity both in vitro and in vivo “. Hindawi Journal scientifica, 2016.
5. Prasad .P., Naidu et al. “Evaluation of wound healing potential of different leaf extract of pupalia lappacea “. Academic Journals, p- 11, 2014.
6. L. B. Kagale et al. ” The antipodals of pupalia lappacea juss ” current science, vol 6, no 5, pages 222, 1937.
7. S. T. Tanson. ” Naturally occurring polyploidy in pupalia leppacea”. Current science, vol 31, no 6, pages 252 – 254, 1962.
8. Harder Singh. ” A new aerial host of pupalia Lappacea. ” Current science vol 31, No 12, pages 521- 522, 1962.
9. Dr amehs G. ” The hypoglycemic effect of the Forest Burr plant. “Indian Journal of pharmaceutical science, vol 5, pages 115 -119, 2011.
10. Anthony. C et al. ” The pupalia lappacea plant: uses and toxicology”. Pakistani newsletter of science, vol 51, pages 65- 69.
Ricinus communis plant is also called the castor oil plant . It is a fast growing evergreen herbaceous and semi woody large shrub that is native to mid -east Africa and northeast Africa.It’ s also cultivated here in Nigeria. It has vast uses ranging from its antitusive property, relieve of severe constipation, expulsion of worm infestation, treatment of skin disorders and management of arthritis. As effective as this castor oil plant derivatives, it must be taken in appropriate prescribed doses.
kingdom : Plantae
Order : Malphighiales
Family : Euphorbiacaeae
BOTANICAL NAME: Ricinus communis Linn.
LOCAL NAMES :
IGBO : Ogiri igbo.
HAUSA: Cika_ gidaa
ENGLISH NAME : Castor oil plant, castor bean.
Castor oil plant has different parts viz the roots, leaf, seed and oil which potentate various medicinal uses traditionally.
1. The root of castor oil plant is used for the treatment of nervous diseases and rheumatism.
2. The oil of castor plant is used as a strong laxative, diuretic and for treatment of severe constipation.
3. The oil of castor plant is used to relieve boils and skin related diseases
4. The oil of castor plant is usually massage on the breasts of lactating mothers to increase milk let out (milk flow).
5. The seed of castor oil plant is used for birth control.
6. The leaf of the castor plant is used to treat severe cough.
7. The oil of castor plant is used to improve hair growth.
8. The leaf of castor plant is used to treat delayed, painful or obstructed menstruation
9. The seed of castor plant is a natural contraceptive
10 . The oil of the castor plant has anti bacterial properties
The seed of the castor plant is highly toxic due to its ricin content. Thus for purification of these seeds to reduce its toxicity, it is fermented in coconut water for 3 hours then they are washed and dried for use. It’s fatal dose is usually between 5- 10 seeds daily.
PHARMACOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF THE CASTOR PLANT
1. The ricin content in the castor seed causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and hypotension.
2. The oleic acid and linoleic acid content of the castor plant prevents inflammation and treats rheumatism.
3. The ricinoleic acid content help treat delayed, painful and obstructive menstruation.
4. Castor oil leaf acts as galactogogues to stimulate milk secretion.
5. Its fatty acid oils help to increase milk quantity in breast feeding mothers.
6. The methanolic extract of castor plant contains steroids, flavonoids and alkaloids that confers an antinocieptive activity (treatment for inflammation and management of pain)
7. The ethanolic root extract containing saponine confers its anti asthmatic property
8. The ethanolic extract of the leaves of the castor plant contains flavonoids that have hepato-protective activity.
9. The oleic fatty oils in the castor oil boost immune system by increasing the production of lymphocytes that improves circulatory and digestive systems.
From the discourse above it is clearly evident that castor oil plant confers potential health benefits when used at appropriately prescribed doses.
1. Khogali A, Barakat S, Abou-Zeid H. “Isolation and identification of the phenolics from Ricinus communis L.” . Delta J. Sci. 16, 198–211, 1992.
2. T. Isam, A. Gupta, et al, “Assessment of antibacterial potential of the ricinus communis leaves”. International Journal of pharmaceutical science and research, 2010.
3. R. E. Ucheya, Osaji Chukwuma. The effects of the methanolic extract of ricinus communis on the liver of adult wistar rats. Nigerian Journal of Medical sciences ,vol 12, pages 235-237, 2009.
4. Taur D. J., Patil R. Y. “Antiasthmatic activity of Ricinus communis L. Roots. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine S13-S16, 2011.
5. Salem G. , Ahmad S., et al. Incredible potential of castor oil. world Journal of pharmaceutical science, 1995.
6. Richard G., et al. pharma research: medicinal importance of ricinus communis seed “, 2003 , www.pharmaresearchlibrary.com
7. Vikram Chauham. Castor plant planet Ayurveda.The Ayurvedic Pharmacopiea of India, Part – 1, Vol – III, Pg 49- 50, 2017.
8. Dr. H. Anthens. 19 Ricinus communis health benefits and medicinal uses , 2018 . Drhealthbenefits.com.
9. Diana Kaniecki. Medicinal purpose of castor oil seed, 2017.www.livestrong.com
10. Ricinus communis : the phytopharmacological review, 2016. www.researchgate.com
Medicinal herbs are plants that are used for medicinal purposes. Other types of herbs include culinary herbs ( used to flavour food), aromatic herbs ( used to add fragrance). Medicinal herbs cover a wide range of types of plants. They can be annual or perennials; woody or herbaceous; sun loving or shade requiring. The parts use for medicinal purposes may be their leaves, flowers, root, seeds or bark. Medicinal herbs have been in use by both plants and animals for many thousand years. Not surprisingly many medicinal plants have a rich folklore associated with them. This cultural history is an important part of many communities in Nigeria and many other countries. In addition to their cultural importance, many medicinal herbs are important economically. Due to Nigeria’s topographical advantage, many medicinal herbs survive naturally or can be cultivated for their economic and medicinal uses.
However, despite the wide research and scientific evidence in support of traditional claims of medicinal herbs by researchers worldwide, many of the herbs are still largely untapped. The reason been the problem of identification as the science journals which frequently publish the findings usually utilize the scientific names of the plants which is not familiar to many who does not understand such botanical jargons.
This post is aim to provide common and Nigerian names to medicinal herbs to ease the identification and possibly the utilization of these wonderful herbs. You are also free to share the names of plants in your local language using the comment box below. Let’s help someone identify the herbs! . Thanks.
Common names: Forest burr, Creeping cock’s comb.
Nigerian names: Emo-agbo ( Yoruba); mama-agbo ( Bassa Nge); Marin KASU ( Hausa); ose ( Igbo).
Dietary fibre plays an important role in the maintenance of health and prevention of diseases. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that an artificial depletion of fibre as in case of refined cereals and sugars has over the last 100 years contributed to several degenerative diseases. Recent studies indicate that sufficient intake of fibre-rich diet may help prevent obesity, colon cancer, heart diseases, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome and diabetic conditions.
IMPORTANCE OF FIBRE-RICH FOODS
Fibre in diet promotes more frequent bowel movement and softer stools. The softness of stool is largely due to the presence of emulsified gas which is produced by the bacterial action on the fibre. A high fibre intake results in greater efficiency in the peristaltic (movement of food) movement of the colon.This help in relieving constipation which is the major cause of several acute and chronic diseases such as diarrhoea, pile, etc.
Dietary fibre increases the bacteria in the large intestines which require nitrogen for their growth. This in turn reduces the chances of cancerous changes in cells by reducing the amount of ammonia in the large bowel. Fibre reduces the absorption of cholesterol in the diet. It also slow down the rate of absorption of sugars from food in the digestive system. Certain types of fibre increases the viscosity of the food content. Thus a fibre rich diet can help in diabetes mellitus.
SOURCES OF FIBRE
The most significant food sources of fibre are unprocessed wheat bran, whole cereals e,g unpolished local rice, millets, barely, rye; legumes such as potato, carrots, sweet potato; fruits like mango, guava, cucumber and vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce and celery.
Nigerian names- akoko (Yoruba), aduruku (Hausa), ogirisi (Igbo)
Newbouldia laevis is a shrub or small tree reaching 7_20m high. The plant has shiny dark green leaves and bears large showy terminal purple flowers. It is a familiar live-fence and boundary tree throughout its distribution. It is often grown as an ornamental and is easily cultivated by cuttings.o
Health Benefits o f Fertility
Fertility plant also called ‘tree of life’. A deoction of the leaf is taken by women to treat ferility problems. However, a higher dosage of the leaf decoction has a uterine contraction effect and traditional healers in Nigeria use it to facilitate labour. The young leaf can also be cooked with red oil drink during labour to facilitte easy delivery. A decoction of the leaf use as gargle in the mouth for 4_5 minutes continuously is use to treat dental caries.
The bark is stomachic and analgelsic. A decoction is used in the treatment of dysentry, diarrhoea, epilepsy, cough and convulsion. The pounded dried bark combine with Xylopia sp and other spices is taken inform of herbal tea to relieve dysmenorrhoea. A decoction of the bark, sieve is taken inform of an enema as a treatment for piles and constipation. Dried powdered of the bark combined with aligator pepper(Aframomum melegueta) is sniffed inform of snuff to treat migraine and sinusitis. The bark applied externally is use to cure wounds, ulcers and abscesses.
A decoction or ethanol extract of the root is used for the treatment of syphilis and intestinal problems such as worms. The decoction of the root is laxative and is use to treat constipation. The maceration of the root is effecive for the treatment of arthritis and rheumatic pains. The powdered root combine with chili pepper(Capsicum frutescens) are put into a carious tooth to treat toothache. The powdered dry root combine with root of Lopharia sp are infused inform of ointment and use to massage oedema ariving through dietary deficiency.
Decoction of the root and leaves are remedy for scrotal elephantiasis, fever and as an aphrodisiac.
Chili pepper is the oldest and the most pepperish species of cultivated pepper in Nigeria. It is one of the major spices used by our ancestors. Unfortunately, because of the demand for higher agricultural yield, different varieties of pepper was developed which produce bigger sizes of fruit. Because the chili pepper has small fruit, most of the farmers hardly cultivate this varieties of pepper. As a result, chili pepper is not commonly found in the market, and if found its often more expensive than the hybrid varieties. Despite the higher nutritional benefits of chili pepper above other varieties, only few people consume it in their daily diet.
Chili pepper is cardio- tonic. It is very effective for conditions of the heart such as high cholesterol, high blood viscosity which normally prevent normal circulation of the blood in the vessels. High cholesterol and excessive blood clothing are few of the silence causes of major cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, stroke, arteriosclerosis etc.
Chili pepper also called ‘bird pepper’ fruit is very effective in pain reliever. When use as mouth gargle it relieve tooth ache, throat pain and sinus infection. When formulated in balm it can be applied on the skin to relieve pains from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, nerve pain and skin spasm.
I often use bird pepper to cure cold and catarrh. Use one grounded tablespoon of dried chili pepper to prepare halve- done green vegetable. Eat the vegetable twice daily for at list two days and abstain from cold water during the period.
SIDE EFFECT OF CHILI PEPPER FRUIT
The active chemical in chili pepper is ‘capsaicin’ and its approved by the FDA as an over-the-counter product. Medicinal lotions and creams that contain chili pepper extracts are safe for most adults when applied on the skin. Consumption of the fruit is safe as it has past through the test of time.
Side effects include skin irritation, burning and itching, irritating to the eyes.
Do not use during or after surgery it can increase bleeding.
VITAMIN COMPOSITION OF CHILI PEPPER(%)
vitamin C (22.4), vitamin A (1.07), vitamin E (0.35), Niacin(0.47), vitamin B6 (
0.10), folic acid (7.16), vitamin K(5.81).
MINERAL COMPOSITION OF CHILI PEPPER (mg/100g)
Ca (106.27), Na (1.11), K (331.32), Mg (236.72), P (31.44), Fe (67.16), Cu (17.08), Zn(32.18), Co (4.38), Ni (1.08).