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Researchers endorse local herb for cancer treatment

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Indian and Nigerian researchers have endorsed the use of local plant, Spondias mombin, for the treatment of cancers.

They found that Spondias mombin exhibits the ability to regulate various molecular pathways involved in cancer development and progression. They said by modulating these molecular pathways, Spondias mombin has the potential to exert anti- cancer effects.

Commonly called Hog plum, Ashanti plum, Spanish plum, mombin or monbin; Spondias mombin is of the plant family Anacardiaceae. To the French, it is mombin, or monbin. In Nigeria, it is kechibo in Bokyi; ogheeghe (the fruit) in Edo; nsukakara in Efik; tsadar masar in Hausa; ijikara, ogogo, ngwu or ungwu in Igbo; aginiran in Ijaw; kakka in Tiv; ogghighen in Urhobo; iyeye (the fruit) or akika (the tree) in Yoruba.

The researchers from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akunga-Akoko, Ondo State; Department of Pharmacology, Calcutta Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology & AHS, Uluberia, West Bengal, India and 3P.G. Institute of Medical Sciences, Dhurabila, Dhamkuria, Chandrakona Town, Paschim Medinipur: 721201, West Bengal, India, were led by Prof. MacDonald Idu from University of Benin, Edo State.

They concluded: “IAPs and XIAP are proteins that play a role in inhibiting apoptosis, or programmed cell death, which is a mechanism that can eliminate cancer cells. Spondias mombin may inhibit these proteins, promoting apoptosis and inhibiting cancer cell survival. Moreover, S. mombin may influence TNF-α and IL-1β, which are pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with cancer progression. By regulating these cytokines, S. mombin may help control inflammation and suppress tumour growth.

“Overall, the review indicates that S.mombin possesses ethnobotanical properties that can potentially be harnessed for cancer management. By regulating various molecular pathways, including IAPs, XIAP, TNF-α, IL-1β, and KIM-1, S. mombin shows promise as a natural compound with anti-cancer effects.

“However, further research, including in vivo and clinical studies, is needed to validate these findings and explore the full potential of S. mombin in cancer treatment and prevention.”

The study, titled, ‘Spondias mombin: Ethnobotanical Properties and Cancer Management’ was published in the journal Research and Development in Pharmaceutical Science VolumeV.

Until now, herbal plants and extracts have been used therapeutically for millennia, but their efficacy is currently being studied. Many of these plants contain antioxidants that protect against free radical damage and inflammation.

These traits may help fight cancer. Malignancy is caused by many circumstances. Genetic mutations and alterations in cell signaling pathways that regulate cell growth and survival cause this molecularly. Extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic processes are critical for cell survival and tissue homeostasis. Dysregulation of these pathways promotes cell survival, apoptosis resistance, and tumour growth and metastasis.

Researchers are studying apoptotic pathways to develop cancer therapies. Cancer researchers are searching for these molecular targets and developing drugs to address them.

Hog plum or yellow mombin is a tropical fruit tree called Spondias mombin. It treats fever, diarrhoea, and skin conditions in traditional medicine. Recent studies have shown that S. mombin extracts kill cancer cells via apoptosis. S. mombin flavonoids and polyphenols maybe medicinal as antioxidant and anti- inflammatory substances may combat cancer. Finally, S. mombin may treat cancer by targeting cancer cells. Identifying its active components and cancer cell molecular targets requires more research.

Another study, titled ‘Studies on the nutritional value and anti-tumour property of the bark of Spondias mombin’ and published in Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Research has also endorsed Spondias mombin for cancer treatment.

The researchers from University of Benin, Edo State, are led by Prof. MacDonald Idu of the Department of Botany and Plant Medicine.

This study was conducted to investigate the anti-tumour property of the bark of Spondias mombin, commonly used traditionally for the treatment of certain malignancies. Forty wister rats of about seven weeks old were randomly sampled and grouped into three. Group A, the main control, was fed with 50g marsh only over a definite period, while the test control received 50g marsh and 5g Cycas revoluta, a carcinogenic plant. Three subgroups from the B group were fed with carcinogen-containing diet and S. mombin simultaneously at different concentrations. Group C rats had their diet changed to marsh and S. mombin at different concentrations for each subgroup after initial exposure to carcinogen-containing diet.

Group B rats fed with carcinogenic feed alongside treatment with Spondias mombin bark for induced cancer showed some recovery, as the treatment suppressed some effects of the carcinogen. By contrast, group C rats, which were similarly induced with cancer and later treated at 50 per cent level showed significant improvement compared to the test control. Most of the symptoms observed in the later such as hair loss, reduced agility, low food intake and hyperplastic nodules were reduced.

Ultrasound findings showed significant tachycardia in group B rats with increased dosage of the treatment plant while the test control rats showed relative bradycardia, indicating that tachycardia is a possible side effect of the treatment plant.

Histopathology of the tissues showed significant pathological differences especially in the liver, small intestine and kidney as observed in SGOT, SGPT ALP, cholesterol and bilirubin levels. Proximate analysis carried out on S. mombin bark showed a high concentration of crude fibre and calcium ion, which have been identified to have anti-tumour properties. The results obtained suggest a role for S. mombin in the treatment of certain malignancies.

Prof. Idu and Dr. Bola Deji-Okubanjo have also in a book titled, ‘The Role of Herbal Medicine in The Management of Cancer’ endorsed the use of Spondias mombin in treatment of cancer.

They wrote: “As a people we can stop the alarming rate at which cancer is ravaging our communities, which had made it a critical public health issue. We have herbs and their healing properties are in synergy with us a people. Green pharmacy is the way a lot of nations are going. WHO says about 80 per cent of our population uses a form of herbal medicine. That is minimum of 160 million, a population larger than the second most populous African nation. Let’s put in our quota by investing in what works!!!”

Prof. Idu and his team of researchers in another study titled ‘Effect of Spondias mombin leaves’ extracts on chemically induced tumor’ and published in Journal of Medicinal Herbs concluded: “The present data of Spondias mombin leaves on ethanol and n-hexane crude extracts revealed antitumor property of the plant in dose-dependent degrees. The nhexane extract of the leaves had significant antitumour activity compared to ethanol extract. The results suggested that the extracts are potential anti-tumorigenic agents inhibiting chemically induced lung and intestinal tumours.”

Prof. Oludare Temitope Osuntokun of the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, in a study titled Exploring the Medicinal Efficacy, Properties and Therapeutic uses of Spondias mombin (Linn) and published in International Journal of Appied Research in Medicinal Plants concluded: “Spondias mombin is one of the best medicinal plant that has a very high medicinal value becomes a viral toot in the production of new and novel antibiotics in the pharmaceutical world, because of its various therapeutically advantageous against infectious e organism. More research should be encouraged on Spondias mombin. this will help us to totally eradicate the recalcitrant infection like HIV, Breast cancer, liver infection just to mention a few. Indeed, Spondias mombin is a magic bullet for infectious diseases.”

The main purpose the research review is to evaluate the medicinal values, efficacy, properties and therapeutic uses of medicinal plant Spondias mombin. Spondias mombin is one of the medicinal plants used in African traditional medicine in the treatment of different infectious diseases in West African, Nigeria to be précised, ranging from eye infection, skin infection like ringworm, ezema and wound healing. Some school of thought in the scientific world discovered that Spondias mombin mat be used to cure infection related to male and female reproductive organ, infection like gonorrhea and syphilis. It has been profounded theory by some notable scientist, Spondias mombin may be used in the treatment of breast cancer, for this mentioned scientific facts about Spondias mombin, the medicinal plant efficacy, properties and therapeutic uses, should be evaluated.
Source : https://guardian.ng/researchers-endorse-local-herb-for-cancer-treatment/features/health/

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