Africa Is a Treasure Trove of Medicinal Plants the Plants have directly contributed to the development of important drugs. The antimalarial treatment artemisinin, pain medication morphine, and cancer chemotherapy taxol are just three examples of drugs derived from plants.
Africa is endowed with up to 45,000 plant species – about 25% of the world’s plant genetic resources. More than 5,000 plant species from this enormous African resource are used in traditional medicines. Medicinal Plants specialists Associate Professor Adeyemi Aremu and Professor Nox Makunga highlight some of these plants. Artemisia afra is the only species in its genus that is indigenous to the African continent. It’s often regarded as a potential flagship plant because of its high popularity and diverse uses in African traditional medicine. African wormwood has been used for coughs, colds, influenza and malaria. Scientific evidence of its antimicrobial, anti-depressant, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects has been reported. African wormwood gained global interest when it was promoted as having potential to treat COVID-19 and was tested in laboratory studies. The extracts had some degree of inhibitory activity against feline coronavirus and SARS-CoV-2. But this requires further clinical study to reach a valid conclusion.
The traditional uses and increasing popularity of African wormwood have resulted in a number of commercial herbal products. But with insufficient clinical data, it’s not yet known whether African wormwood is a treasure chest of new drugs. This Medicinal Plants is also known as bright eyes, Cape periwinkle, graveyard plant, Madagascar periwinkle, old maid, or pink periwinkle. It is native and endemic to Madagascar. The plant is commonly used as a tonic and emetic for the treatment of many health conditions including rheumatism, diabetes, and skin-related and venereal diseases. Pink periwinkle has several phytochemicals which are associated with antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic and anticancer properties. Alkaloids remain one of the signature. Two of its alkaloids, vincristine and vinblastine, have been extensively explored by the pharmaceutical industry. These two alkaloids were the first plant-derived anticancer agents deployed for clinical use.
Griffonia simplicifolia is a woody climbing shrub. It is native to west and central African countries including Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo. In African traditional medicine, the seeds are reputed to exert several medicinal effects and have been explored as an aphrodisiac, and a remedy for diarrhoea, stomach ache and dysentery. plant’s chemical properties have been studied extensively. It has been found to contain rich phytochemicals with enormous pharmaceutical value. Particularly, the seeds are known as an excellent source of 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan (commercially called oxitriptan) which the body uses to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is known to affect sleep, appetite, pain and mood. It plays an important role in treating depression, insomnia, obesity and related health conditions, especially those associated with mental health. The seed of Griffonia simplicifolia remains one of the most reliable and abundant sources. Commercial interest has increased over the years. Based on recent estimates, the market value for annual bulk seed extract for the plant is between US$32 million and US$100 million and demand is expected to grow at 7% per year
Kanna is an endemic South African succulent. It is sparsely distributed in semi-arid areas and used for conditions relating to stress, depression, pain and anxiety. Mesembrine-type alkaloids are dominant and typically responsible for the pharmacological effects exerted by kanna as a psychoactive plant and mood stimulant. Zembrin® has been developed as a standardised extract of the Medicinal Plants. It’s used as a dietary supplement with the potential to elevate mood, relieve stress and improve cognition. The use of this species stems from the traditions of the Khoekhoe and San. Many other medicinal uses have been reported for this species as it can be used to treat headaches, abdominal pains and respiratory ailments. Trimesemine™ (a commercially available extract high in concentrations of mesembrine) has been shown to act as a monoamine releaser, by increasing serotonin, a chemical messenger that is produced by the body that is also known to regulate the mood. It is potentially useful for attention deficit and other central nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: This news is originally published by allafrica