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Efficiency of local plants to cure ailments

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By Mercy Kelani

Studies reveal that local plants are medicinal & can reduce drugs side effects.

Rainy season, characterized by heavy rains and cold, is said to be the cause of ailments such as catarrh, sore throat, cough, malaria, typhoid fever and respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and sinusitis, and water-borne sickness like diarrhea and cholera. However, alarming the aforementioned ailments might be, scientists have made research, identifying and validating natural remedies for them. Several local herbs have been proven to possess antibacterial and antiviral properties. The flu virus also, despite having medical cures, has been said by researchers to be easily relieved through natural remedies.

The guidance by Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), stated that cough and catarrh are mostly caused by cold or flu virus, or even bronchitis, and usually last for about three weeks. In a bid to find more efficient cures to these ailments, Nigerian researchers have shown that the application of local plants like pepper fruit, African pepper, scent leaf, thyme, onion, black pepper, chili pepper, Benin pepper, garlic, wild pepper, nutmeg, red pepper, grains of paradise, curry leaf and ginger, can successfully beat the cold virus.

23 local spices were discovered to have therapeutic functions.

According to a study titled “Ethnomedicinal aspects of plants used as spices and condiments in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria” by Ndukwu B.C and Ben-Nwadibia N.B of the Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, University of Port Harcourt. Found that 23 local spices were discovered to have different therapeutic applications according to their various local communities. These medicinal plants act as stimulants, expectorants, purgatives, anthelmintic, antiseptic carminatives, laxatives, anticonvulsant, and sedatives for the treatment of rheumatism, diarrhea, asthma, malaria, bronchitis and catarrh.

Scientists at Aston University have also developed a new treatment, that involves the combination of natural manuka honey with a popularly used drug, for lethal lung infections, reducing side effects of one of the drugs recommended for its treatment. Published in the Journal Microbiology, the findings reveal that the scientists in the Mycobacterial Research Group in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University combined manuka honey and the drug amikacin in a lab-based nebulization formulation for the treatment of the harmful bacterial lung infection Mycobacterium abscessus.

Ginger possesses antibacterial, analgesic, & anti-inflammatory properties.

Sore throat, usually related with dry and cold conditions, is a pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that gets worse during the process of swallowing. It is most often caused by pharyngitis, a viral infection like cold or the flu. While a virus-caused sore throat might resolve on its own, strep throat (streptococcal infection) – caused by bacteria – requires antibiotics treatment to prevent complications. Ginger has also been recommended in a study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Scientific innovation for the treatment of sore throat due to its possession of various biological activities such as antibacterial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Another study has shown that through computer modeling, researchers discovered that ginger could prevent influenza infection. Also, published in Journal of Traditional Medicine and clinical Naturopathy, a review of pharmacological activities of turmeric reveals that the fresh juice of rhizome is used to cure bronchitis. To cure rhinitis and cough, experts advise that turmeric be boiled in milk with a mixture of jiggery and should be used internally. The combination of lemon with warm water and a bit of honey or saltwater help to reduce throat pain caused by colds or the flu.

Bark and root are febrifugal and can treat malaria.

Many studies have identified plants that can effectively treat typhoid fever; they include Azadirachta Indica (neem tree), Ocimum gratissimum (scent leaf), Morinda Lucinda, and Carica papaya. Typhoid fever is a major health concern in developing countries with limitations to the success of treatment with antimicrobial agent. Tested extracts of methanol from Glycyrrhiza glabra and Azadirachta Indica embody efficient antimicrobial activity against gram positive and gram-negative bacteria. For malaria, the bark and the root are febrifugal and are discovered to be essential for its treatment. Extracted products from Carica papaya is also used in malaria therapy and treatment of Amoebicide (anthelmintic).

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