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Phytochemical Analysis of Medicinal Plants Used for the Management of Hypertension by Esan people of Edo State, Nigeria

J.K. Mensah, R I. Okoli ,1 A. A. Turay,2 and E.A. Ogie-Odia

Department of Botany
1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
2Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences
Ambrose Alli University, P.M.B 14, Ekpoma, Nigeria

Issued 01 October 2009

Hypertension is one of the principal health problems in the society and a leading cause of cardio-vascular deaths in various communities worldwide. Over 33 plants and their products have been reported in Nigeria and other West African countries to offer remedies for the management of hypertension. In Esanland of Edo State, Nigeria, 14 endemic plant species distributed in 12 taxonomic families have been identified by various traditional health practitioners as being effective and commonly used to manage hypertension (Psidium guajava, Piper guineense, Loranthus spectobulus, Talinum triangulare, Senna occidentalis, Rauwolfia vomitoria, Allium sativum, Allium cepa, Carica papaya, Euphorbia hirta, Ocimum gratissimum, Persea americana, Peperomia pellucida, and Vernonia amygdalina). Qualitative phytochemical analyses of the plant parts have revealed the presence of various components of medical importance including tannins, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, alkaloids, saponin and inulins. Cardiac glycosides were present in all the species studied while alkaloids were present in all except A. sativum, A. cepa, O. gratissimum and P. americana. Saponnins were present in all except the seeds of negro coffee (S. accidentalis), while tannins were present in all except bulbs of garlic (A. sativum). This preliminary study draws attention to the need for further studies of the active principles identified in the reported species for the treatment of hypertension in Esanland in order to understand their mode of action in controlling hypertension. Key words; Medicinal plants, hypertension, phytochemistry.

Hypertension is one of the principal health problems in the society and an important cause of cardio-vascular deaths in various communities worldwide. It is a silent - killer whose onset of complications is insidious. Such complications as cardiac remodeling, hypertrophy, renal impairment, nephropathies and ocular complications such as retinopathies and cardiovascular accident or stroke (Benowitz, 2001) are associated with hypertension. Traditionally the use of plant parts as source of herbal preparations for treatment of various ailments are based on the experience passed from generation to generation, virtually by oral tradition and through practice and forms part of the indigenous knowledge of people of any locality (Olowofela, 1991; Sofowora, 1993). Most of these herbal remedies are known by our traditional healers and elderly men and women of families in our rural areas. The herbal knowledge or practices known by traditional healers are jealously guarded with utmost secrecy for economic reasons. According to Obute (2007), many traditional herbal practitioners also tend to hide the identity of plants used for different ailments largely for fear of lack of patronage should the patient learn to cure himself. Thus to mystify their trade, cultivation of the plant is not encouraged, consequently collection is virtually from the wild. Fortunately, some elders of the rural societies do willingly impart this knowledge to interested people sometimes on payment of an inducement fee and this has helped in the propagation of some herbal knowledge in this country. Infusions and decoctions have historically been the traditional dosage forms for orally administered medicinal plants. These infusions and decoctions are usually good for extracting water soluble active ingredients such as glycosides, mucilage, alkaloids, polysaccharides and tannins, but are limited by their unpleasant taste, shelf life; and the poor solubility of many...
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