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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Local plants for exposed bone wounds, prostate cancer unveiled

CHUKWUMA MUANYA

Researchers have identified local plants for the treatment of scalp wounds with exposed bone, and for the prevention and management of prostate cancer. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes.


African-pear

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RESEARCHERS from the Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, have confirmed the efficacy of a plant-derived wound dressing, a mixture of hypericum oil St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) and neem oil/Dogonyaro (Azadirachta indica), in scalp wounds with exposed bone.

The study published recently in Journal of Wound Care is titled: "Post-surgical scalp wounds with exposed bone treated with a plant-derived wound therapeutic."

The study reads: "A retrospective review was conducted of all patients presenting with scalp wounds with exposed bone following the excision of skin tumours and treated with a plant-derived wound dressings (1 Primary Wound Dressing; Phytoceuticals AG), from January to July 2011. Time to healing, wound size, area of exposed bone, ease of handling, pain and complications were evaluated.

"Nine consecutive patients were analysed retrospectively. The patients' mean age was 81.2 8.5 years (63-90 years) with a mean wound size of 13.2 6.8cm(2) (0.4-22.6cm(2)) and 6.8 6.5cm(2) (0.3-20.7cm(2)) of exposed bone. The time to complete healing by secondary intention was four to 20 weeks.

"A rapid induction of granulation tissue was observed, which covered the entire exposed bone surface in six out of nine cases (67 per cent) after four weeks, and showed a reduction in the mean area of exposed bone of 95 per cent. Dressing change was easy and without pain and there were no complications.

"This retrospective, non-controlled analysis suggests that one is a very simple to use, safe and potentially effective therapy for the treatment of scalp wounds with exposed bone."

Also, eating diets rich in local pear/African pear (Dacryodes edulis fruit), Miracle plant/Drumstick (Moringa oleifera), cloves/African olive (Syzygium aromaticum), Canarium schweinfurthii (African elemi, ube osa in Ibo), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), cabbage (Brassica oleracea), citrus fruits (orange, tangerine, lime, lemon, grape fruit), Soursop/Graviola (Annona muricata), soya beans (Glycine max), chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum), and green tea (Camellia sinensis) may be the panacea for prostate cancer.

Researchers at the Biochemistry Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, and Science of Global Prostate Cancer Disparities in Black Men Jacksonville, Florida, United States, have demonstrated that although prostate cancer is historically more prevalent in males of African extraction, the incidence can be dramatically reduced, and the age of onset drastically increased, if the population at risk consumes the right kinds of foods in the right proportion, beginning early in life, especially as prostate cancer has a gestation period of about 50 years.

The study titled: "Nigerian foodstuffs with Prostate Cancer Chemopreventive Polyphenols," was published recently in Infectious Agents and Cancer by Sunday Eneojo Atawodi from the Science of Global Prostate Cancer Disparities in Black Men Jacksonville, Florida, United States.

Dietary polyphenols are antioxidants that can scavenge biological free radicals, and chemo-prevent diseases with biological oxidation as their main etiological factor.

Cancer is a debilitating disease that has afflicted a good proportion of the world population in all generations. According to recent estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO), yearly cancer incidence in sub-Saharan Africa is 551,200 with a mortality of 421,000. Out of these cases, prostate cancer constitutes 24 per cent, and is the fifth most common of all cancers. It is the cancer with the highest incidence, and consequently, responsible for the highest mortality rate of all cancers among black males in sub-Saharan Africa.

The researchers noted that prostate cancer is an ideal candidate disease for chemoprevention because it is typically diagnosed in men ages greater than 50 years and has a high latency period, and hence, even a slight delay in the progression of this disease by chemo-preventive intervention could result in a substantial reduction in the incidence of the disease and, more importantly, improve the quality of life of the patients.

Epidemiological and laboratory evidence also indicate that the differences in incidence of cancers, in general, and prostate cancer in particular, may be associated with the presence of certain polyphenols, especially flavonoids in the diets of these populations.

St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) and is also known as Tipton's weed, chase-devil, or Klamath weed. Hypericum exist worldwide with a native geographical distribution including temperate and subtropical regions of North America, Europe, Turkey, Russia, India, China and Brazil.

Commonly called African pear, native pear or bush butter, Dacryodes edulis belongs to the plant family Burseraceae. It called safoutier in French. In Nigeria, it is ibe in Kalabari; boshu in Bokyi; orunmwun in Edo (indicating something edible), ube in Ibo; orumu in Urhobo and elemi in Yoruba. Earlier studies suggest that extracts of the native pear could be used in making toothpastes, cosmetic products and bone strengthening formulations.

Commonly known in the English language as the ben oil tree, the horseradish tree, or the drumstick tree, Moringa oleifera belongs to the plant family Moringaceae. In Nigeria, it is called Ewe ile, Ewe igbale, or Idagbo monoye (the tree which grows crazily) in Yoruba, Gawara, Habiwal hausa, Konamarade, or Rini maka in Fulani; Bagaruwar maka, Bagaruwar masar, Barambo, Koraukin zaila, Shipka hali, Shuka halinka, Rimin nacara, Rimin turawa, Zogall, or Zogalla-gandi in Hausa; and Odudu oyibo, Okochi egbu, Okwe olu, Okwe oyibo, Okughara ite, Uhe, Ikwe beke in Ibo.

Until now, various laboratory researches have confirmed that Moringa is a natural energy booster, strengthens the immune system, has antibiotic properties, cures headaches, migraines, asthma, and ulcers, reduces arthritic pains and inflammations, and restricted tumour growths.

Commonly called clove, Syzygium aromaticum belongs to the plant family Myrtaceae. The locals, especially in Lagos call it konofo. It is one of the important herbs used as an indigenous medicine and spice in many Asian countries, Africa and other parts of the world.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) monographs on selected medicinal plants, Flos Caryophylli, which consists of the dried lower buds of Syzygium aromaticum (cloves) are applied externally or locally for the treatment of toothache, and minor infections of the mouth and skin; and also used as an antiseptic for dressing.

The report reads: "Flos Caryophylli of minor wounds, and, in the form of lozenges, for sore throats and coughs associated with the common cold. The essential oil (one to five per cent) is used in mouthwashes. Uses described in folk medicine, not supported by experimental or clinical data include; treatment of asthma, bleeding gums, dyspepsia, fevers and morning sickness."

Canarium schweinfurthii belongs to the plant family Burseraceae, commonly called African elemi, incense tree or bush candle tree. To the French it is elemier d'Afrique, ekpakpogho in Edo, eben etiridon in Efik, etile in Hausa, oda in Igala, ube-osa in Igbo, and ako in Yoruba. The resin is generally held to have action on skin-affections. It is used for eczema; the inner bark is rub on the skin for leprosy, and on to ulcers.

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is of the Solanaceae family. It is called ekhue in Edo. Tomatoes are now eaten freely throughout the world, and their consumption is believed to benefit the heart, among other organs. They contain the carotene lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. In some studies, lycopene, especially in cooked tomatoes, has been found to help prevent prostate cancer, but other research contradicts this claim. Lycopene has also been shown to improve the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays.

Cabbage, along with broccoli and other Brassica vegetables is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical, which boosts DNA (Deoxy ribo-Nucleic Acid- genetic material) repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. The compound is also used as an adjuvant therapy for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, a disease of the head and neck caused by human papillomavirus (usually types 6 and 11) that causes growths in the airway that can lead to death. Boiling reduces anticancer properties.

Citrus fruits contain hundreds of bioactive compounds that have anti-cancerous properties. This includes the common antioxidant, Vitamin C, but also numerous plant chemicals like flavonoids and monoterpenes (such as limonene, tangeritin and nobiletin). These are naturally occurring, plant-based chemicals that are highly concentrated in all types of citrus fruits. They work to decrease inflammation, cell proliferation, angiogenesis and many other processes associated with cancer development and progression.

Soursop is a medicinal plant that has been used as a natural remedy for a variety of illnesses. Several studies by different researchers demonstrated that the bark as well as the leaves has anti-hypertensive, vasodilator, anti-spasmodic (smooth muscle relaxant) and cardio depressant (slowing of heart rate) activities in animals.

The soya bean (Glycine max) is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean, which has numerous uses. The plant is classed as an oilseed rather than a pulse by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).