An excellent and very informative article to come out of Nigeria in our opinion…

An excellent and very informative article to come out of Nigeria in our opinion (Taken from The Guardian Nigeria newspaper as url is broken)

More Herbal Cures for Cancer Validated

Thursday, 19 June 2014 00:00 Written by CHUKWUMA MUANYA

Scientists have enlisted more local plants for the effective treatment of cancers. Top on the list are African pepper, goat weed, bitter leaf, cannabis, scent leaf, sour sop, sausage tree, and pawpaw leaf.

THE death of former Information Minister and Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Dora Akunyili, after a long battle with ovarian cancer, has led to renewed calls for more research into effective treatments for cancers.

Indeed, in recent times, more Nigerians are coming down with different kinds of cancers. The situation has been blamed on exposure to chemicals especially crude oil, unhealthy lifestyles, and genetic mutation.

However, this disease that is believed to cause at least 13 per cent of all deaths worldwide has no conventional cure, but palliatives. Some of the known treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been shown to have serious side effects.

But more natural products have shown promise in preventing, treating and managing cancers without adverse side effects.

A study titled “Ethnobotanical Survey of Anti-Cancer Plants in Ogun State,” published recently in Annals of Biological Research by scientists from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, concluded: “Results from this work revealed that quite a number of plant parts from the 73 species especially the leaves, roots, barks and seeds have been found efficient in the management of cancer.

“However, the prominent plant species in the recipes are: Xylopia aethopica, Garcinca kola, Kigelia africana, Anthocleista djalonensis and Citrus and Allium genera, which are indicative of their importance in the management of the disease. Similarly, Leguminosae and Liliaceae families occurred more frequently in the list of plants identified but the occurrence of other families also suggest the importance of all those families as repository of useful chemical compounds which may be explored for drugs in the management of cancer.

“In orthodox medicine, cancer can be treated with drugs and radiotherapy if detected early. Otherwise surgical operation is used at some stage after which it can become very difficult and hopeless. However, nature has some remedy for cancer patients. Some substances have been found to be anti-carcinogenic, that is they fight cancer forming cells and help to eliminate them from the body, for example cumaric acid and lycopene which are found naturally in tomatoes fruits (Lycopersicum esculentum L.) and the leaves of bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina Del.). Also, a lot of research has been and is still being done on the effectiveness of Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f., Morinda lucida Benth, Nympheae lotus L. and Pycanthus angolensis Welw. Warb. for managing cancer.

“Literature has revealed that most of the synthetic drugs that have been used in the past have negative effects that were of grave consequence in some cases, especially when taken by patients on self prescription after an initial visit to the physician. For this reason, it is imperative for ethnobotanists and pharmacognosists to do more analysis on the 73 wonderful plants mentioned in this work. Our medical health practitioners should also focus attention on more intense research on medicinal plants, which can save the life our people without side effects.

“Formulation of the dosage of the extracts from the recipes must be strictly adhered to for maximum efficacy and also the avoidance of over dosage which may lead to other complications in patients. One major advantage of Traditional medicine is that, it is cheaper than orthodox medicine. While drugs alone are not the only means of providing health care, they do play an important role in protecting, maintaining, and restoring the health of people.

“Information gathered from the herbalists shows that increasing number of people are turning to the use of anti-cancer which shows that they are effective and efficient in the management of cancer.

“According to Olapade, traditional medicine has higher benefits than any other health care system as it is cheaper, readily available and could cure permanently. Apart from this, it has no side effect and is capable of saving for the nation, huge foreign exchange, which can be used for other development programme.

“The vulnerability of medicinal plants to over exploitation and extinction needs to be dealt with seriously. Issues relating to the conservation of these medicinal plants should be addressed by the government and non-governmental organizations. Conservation methods such as In-Situ and Ex-Situ should also be adopted to protect our natural biodiversity.”

Previous studies had enlisted: scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum), bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), sausage plant (Kigelia africana/pinnata), pawpaw/papaya (Carica papaya), and cannabis/marijuana (Cannabis sativa).

Earlier studies suggest that eating food prepared with African pepper and other spices and goat weed can prevent cancer. German and Camerounian researchers following laboratory experiments conducted at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Germany have concluded that African medicinal plants contain chemicals that may be able to stop the spread of cancer cells.

The study was published last year in the journal Phytomedicine. The researchers said the plant materials would now undergo further analysis in order to evaluate their therapeutic potential. Prof. Thomas Efferth of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biochemistry – Therapeutic Life Sciences at Mainz University said: “The active substances present …read more    

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