Medicinal Plants Used in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Treat Infectious Diseases


Ethnobotanical and antimicrobial study of some selected medicinal plants used in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) as a potential source to cure infectious diseases

Khan N, Abbasi AM, Dastagir G, Nazir A, Shah GM, Shah MM, Shah MH
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Apr 4;14:122
PubMed Central PMC3977958

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan [source: Wikimedia Commons, TUBS]
Investigators at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, University of Peshawar, Hazara University Mansehra, and Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad conducted antimicrobial screening of medicinally important plants used by the inhabitants of district Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for infectious diseases.

The authors note the need for new sources of antimicrobial agents:

“In countries where the infectious diseases are prevalent, there is a need to develop some medicine of plant origin against persisting infectious diseases, which may be comparable to modern medicines and antibiotics. Medicinal plants used in the traditional medicines offer a great reservoir for the discovery of new plants having antimicrobial properties comparable to antibiotics used in modern medicines. Since almost all the antimicrobial agents are being imported and by considering the availability of medicinal plants in these countries, a lot of foreign exchange may be saved. In addition the cost of treatment is steadily increasing and it is becoming unaffordable by common user. Therefore, development of therapeutic agents from our own indigenous resources will be of great help.”

Artemisia maritima
Artemisia maritima [source: Wikimedia Commons, Sten Porse]
Based on information collected from local residents, the team evaluated in vitro antimicrobial effects of 10 medicinal plants: Artemisia maritima, Azadirachta indica, Bergenia ciliata, Caloptropis procera, Cedrela toona, Eucalyptus globulus, Melia azedarach, Neolitsea chinensis, Nigella sativa, and Punica granatum.

In their conclusion, the authors note that several of the plant extracts show promising antimicrobial activity justifying their usage in traditional medicines, and that they will continue the study to identify more plants with potential antimicrobial components.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.


Medicinal Plants of the Ehotile People, Côte d’Ivoire


Medicinal plants and traditional healing practices in ehotile people, around the aby lagoon (eastern littoral of Côte d’Ivoire)

Malan DF, Neuba DF, Kouakou KL
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2015 Mar 14;11(1):21
PubMed Central PMC4391329

Aby Lagoon, Côte d’Ivoire
Aby Lagoon, Côte d’Ivoire [Source: J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2015; 11: 21]
Researchers from Université Nangui Abrogoua and Institut Botanique Aké-Assi d’Andokoi surveyed the ethnomedicinal knowledge of the Ehotile people, one of the smallest and oldest ethnic groups around the Aby Lagoon of Côte d’Ivoire.

The authors note that “the land occupied by Ehotile is one of the most degraded of the Ivorian Coast. Scarce natural vegetation that has withstood the plantations of coconut, oil palm or rubber is composed of the marshy patches and the islands of the Ehotile Islands National Park.”

The team documented 123 species employed by the Ehotile in the treatment of 57 diseases, including malaria, sexual asthenia, troubles linked to pregnancy, dysmenorrhea and hemorrhoids.

Ocimum gratissimum
Ocimum gratissimum [Source: Forest & Kim Starr, Wikimedia Commons]
Among the most salient medicinal species used were Harungana madagascariensis, Alstonia boonei, Ocimum gratissimum and Xylopia acutiflora. Exploitation for medicinal purposes of Harungana madagascariensis and certain other plant species has led to their scarcity or their disappearance.

From the conclusion:

“Despite the virtual disappearance of natural formations in Ehotile land, medicinal plants are important in the Ehotile health system. Medicinal plants are known and used alone or in addition to medical prescriptions to treat several ailments. However, some of them are becoming rare, and it is feared that this scarcity will result in the inevitable loss of associated knowledge and practices.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Pakistani Medicinal Plants as Antibacterial Agents against Escherichia coli


Ethnomedicinal and phytochemical review of Pakistani medicinal plants used as antibacterial agents against Escherichia coli

Adnan M, Bibi R, Mussarat S, Tariq A, Shinwari ZK
Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2014 Aug 19;13:40
PubMed Central PMC4236513

Researchers from Kohat University of Science and Technology and Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad conducted a review of literature on antibacterial activities of Pakistani medicinal plants against Escherichia coli, a gram-negative pathogen responsible for urinary tract and gastrointestinal infections in humans.

From the Introduction:

“Emergence of multiple drug resistant bacterial strains due to indiscriminate use of antibiotics has generated a keen interest in the discovery of effective plants derived drugs. E. coli are showing increased resistance to different antibiotics like amoxicillin and trimethoprim. Hence, searching of alternative and effective medicines from plants against such resistant bacteria has become an important concern all over the world. Antibiotics on one side became ineffective to bacterial strains but also costly for the poor communities of developing world. Furthermore, the antibiotics may be associated with adverse effects including hypersensitivity and immune suppression. Therefore, this review was designed with the aim to (i) compile the available fragmented literature on anti-E. coli effect of Pakistani medicinal plants, and (ii) suggest measures on newer and safer herbal drugs for the diseases caused by the E. coli. Furthermore, this review will provide knowledge on ethnomedicines and phytochemistry of those Pakistani medicinal plants having anti-E. coli potential. Above all, this review will provide baseline information for chemists, pharmacists and pharmacologists to carry out in-depth in-vitro and in-vivo activities for the development of novel drugs against E. coli with low cost and less side effects on living system.”

Althaea officinalis
Althaea officinalis [source: Wikimedia Commons – Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen]
The authors report on 34 Pakistani medicinal plants with in-vitro anti-E. coli activity, including Althaea officinalis, Azadirachta indica, Calotropis procera, Carum copticum, Cichorium intybus, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cistanche tubulosa, Delonix regia, Dodonaea viscosa, Justicia adhatoda, Malva neglecta, Mentha longifolia, Viscum album and Withania somnifera.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Nigerian Ethnomedicines Used Against Tuberculosis – A Collaborative Assessment


Some Nigerian anti-tuberculosis ethnomedicines: a preliminary efficacy assessment

Ibekwe NN, Nvau JB, Oladosu PO, Usman AM, Ibrahim K, Boshoff HI, Dowd CS, Orisadipe AT, Aiyelaagbe O, Adesomoju AA, Barry CE 3rd, Okogun JI; collaboration with 73 Visited Herbalists
J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Aug 8;155(1):524-32
PubMed Central PMC4154137

Investigators from the Nigerian National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, University of Ibadan, U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Pax Herbal Clinic & Research Laboratories, George Washington University, and Sheda Science and Technology Complex, in collaboration with 73 herbalists, carried out a preliminary modern scientific evaluation of the efficacy of a number of Nigerian ethnomedicines used by traditional medicine practitioners in the management of tuberculosis and related ailments.

The team collected ethnomedicinal recipes from traditional medicine practitioners in four geographical regions of Nigeria under a collaborative understanding, and screened extracts against Mycobacterium bovis, BCG, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Abrus precatorius
Abrus precatorius [source: Wikimedia Commons, USGS Plants of Hawaii]
They identified 12 plants that screening found to be particularly active: Abrus precatorius, Anogeissus leocarpus [Anogeissus leiocarpa], Cassia siberiana, Combretum molle, Erythrina senegalensis, Garcinia kola, Khaya grandifolia, Pentaclethra macrophylla, Pterocarpus osun, Securidaca longepedunculata, Tapinanthus sessifolia, Terminalia avicennioides, and Tetrapleura tetraptera.

From the conclusion:

“Our study clearly showed that Nigerian herbalists have recipes that have likely been effective to some extent for the management of tuberculosis among the rural population of the Country. The recipes need to be fully analyzed for the purpose of potentially identifying new antituberculosis drug scaffolds and in the process, assist in the standardization of the local antituberculosis herbal recipes. The case has been made for applying ‘omics’ technologies to phytomedicines and traditional recipes which have historically been used over decades or centuries for the treatment of tuberculosis symptoms as a starting point for the discovery of new drugs and drug scaffolds. We anticipate that using ‘omics’ technologies in systems biology approaches combined with chemical informatics of various scaffolds characterized in active at least partially purified extracts, could make studies initiated around plants and indigenous herbal recipes relatively efficient in the rapid identification of new drug leads for tuberculosis…

“The following criteria are recommended for the prioritization of the plants for further studies: (i) potency of the extract based on the MIC values, (ii) published work on the biology and chemistry of the plants, (iii) novelty of information of the plant’s use as anti-TB remedy and (iv) the frequency of occurrence of the plants in the collected recipes. Using these criteria, the following plants are recommended for the initial further studies: Ficus sur, Pavetta crassipes, Combretum molle, Waltheria indica and Crotolaria lachnosema [Crotalaria lachnosema], Anogiessus leocarpus [Anogeissus leiocarpa], Calliandra portoricensis, Cassia sieberiana, Abrus precatorius and Cussonia arborea.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.


Seed Laws That Criminalise Farmers: Resistance and Fightback


Seed laws that criminalise farmers: Resistance and fightback

La Via Campesina
March 2015
Seed laws booklet EN COVER
Seed laws that criminalise farmers: Resistance and Fightback

A recently published paper from the international farmers groups La Via Campesina and GRAIN documents how big business and governments are moving to stop farmers from saving and exchanging their seeds, and shows how farmers are fighting back.

The paper surveys how seed laws have evolved to make farmers’ seeds illegal in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe:

“The displacement of peasant seeds is a process that has been gaining ground and speed around the world over the past decades. In the 20th century, when plant breeding and seed production became activities separate from farming itself, peasant varieties were gradually replaced by industrial varieties. In Europe and North America, this happened over several decades, spurred by new technologies such as the development of hybrids. In Asia, Africa and Latin America, it took off after the 1960s, when so-called development programmes pushed ‘high-yielding’ crops and the use of chemical inputs (the so-called Green Revolution). In the last 20 years, we have been witnessing a new situation in which an aggressive wave of seed laws is being unleashed, often in the name of liberalising trade, with the purpose of stopping nearly all activities carried out by farmers with their seeds.”

And reports on actions by farmers to restore agricultural diversity in the face of tremendous pressure to force them into monoculture:

“Around the world, communities and grassroots organisations understand that the best way to defend seeds – and to defend the practices of using and sharing that keep seeds alive – is to continue to grow them, look after them, and exchange them, in every locality. Keeping farming systems alive is the best way to keep seeds alive. Crop varieties thrive if we grow them and prepare foods with them, keeping them present in our festivals, our markets, and our social interactions. That is just what is being done by the countless groups that are organising seed fairs and food festivals, as well as seed exchanges and community seed breeding processes, and by the groups that are struggling to protect, or to reactivate, local markets.”

Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the relationship between agricultural policy and human rights.

Read the complete paper at La Via Campesina.