There are several health benefits of Aspilia africana that are yet to be fully tapped, either as a result of lack of common knowledge of these benefits by the populace, or lack of proper knowledge of the plant, itself.
Aspilia africana is a tropical and subtropical plant. It is highly recognized for its wound healing potential. The plant is regarded as wild sunflower due the resemblance of their flowers. It grows well in wet environment and can reach the height of 2 meters. Also, it can be regarded as a nitrogen fixing plant and a favorite forage for livestock farming.
Aspilia africana is also known as bush marigold or iodine plant, as Edemeron in Efik, Uranjila (Igbo), Tozalin/Kalankwa (Hausa), Yun Yun (Yoruba), Ndinuene (Ibibio), Uwhoridhoatu (Ekpeye) and Ottabi (Eutung). Being a herbal plant, Bush marigold is fortified with strong phytochemicals as well as several physicochemicals, which empower its healing capacity for a broad range of ailments.
Bush marigold possesses Ascorbic acid, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamine. Secondary metabolites present in the plant include Alkaloids, Glycosides, Steroids, Terpenoids, Flavonoids, and Saponins. Some minerals present include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, copper, lead, selenium, and zinc. All these chemicals present in Aspilia africana are of great benefits for good health and functionality.
How to use Aspilia africana
Every part of the plant is beneficial for treatment of one disease/ailments or another. The roots, leaves, stem, and flowers can be used fresh as a decoction, tincture, or raw juice. They be dried and ground into powdered form and used as tea, add to juice or liquid milk and taken orally, they can as well be used topically on wounded areas.
What are the health benefits of Aspilia africana?
Aspilia africana possesses strong bioactive compounds that influence its biological and pharmacological activities. the leaves of bush marigold also possess essential oil that are helpful as well.
Aspilia africana are known for wound healing
Aspilia africana possess strong bioactive compounds that hasten wound healing processes. These compounds, which include alkaloids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, phenols, terpenoids, β-caryophyllene, germacrene D, α-pinene, carene, phytol, and linolenic acid in A. africana have been observed to exhibit a very strong anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activities which are important processes in wound healing.
This healing ability of Bush marigold is further driven by its effectiveness to reduce wound bleeding, and hasten wound contraction. Aspilia africana also increases the concentration of basic fibroblast growth factor and platelet derived growth factor, and also stimulate the hematological parameters, including white and red blood cells, all of which are vital components for the wound healing process. These properties supports the use of Aspilia africana, in tradomedicinal application to wounds.
Aspilia africana is beneficial for treating diabetes
Aspilia africana is endowed with active antidiabetes, Oleanolic acid, which inhibits the activities of α-amylase and α-glucosidase. Both enzymes are responsible for breakdown of carbohydrates to glucose.
While α-amylase catalyzes the breaking down of starch to disaccharides and oligosaccharides from the mouth, α-glucosidase catalyzes the breakdown of disaccharides to release glucose which is later absorbed from small intestine into the blood circulation. Thus, by inhibiting the two enzymes, the Oleanolic acid present in Aspilia africana and also in alligator pepper can forestall the onset of hyperglycemia and postprandial blood glucose levels. Again, the wound healing capacity is also exploited in diabetic patients who sustain injuries.
By inhibiting these two enzymes, which results in a decrease in postprandial blood glucose level, Aspilia africana has shown that it could be a great gain to the fight against diabetes, considering it readily availability.
Aspilia africana improves tuberculosis
The root decoction of the plant is used in traditional medicine for treatment of tuberculosis in Ghana. This is probably because the roots possess antibacterial activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The leaves are also made into cough medicines for children. The whole plant decoction may also be taken for whooping cough. Also, a synergistic effect can be achieved by combining Steculia setigera leaves and Aspilia africana roots in a decoction for treating tuberculosis.
Bush marigold is also good for snake venom
Snake venoms are secreted by snake oral glands and are injected subcutaneously or intravenously through the fangs into the victim on the hands, feet, arms, or legs. Venoms are water-soluble, acidic, and have a specific gravity of about 1.03.
The snake venom so injected into the blood or body fluid of the victim is usually a complex mixture of toxic proteins such as cardiotoxins, neurotoxins, metalloproteinases, nucleotidases, phospholipases A2, serine proteinases, acetylcholinesterase nitrate, hyaluronidases, phosphomonoesterase and phosphodiesterase, which are injected to immobilize the victim.
The leaves of Aspilia can be chewed to stop the toxic effects of snake venom. Also, like in tuberculosis, the roots of Steculia setigera and leaves Aspilia africana can be combined in a decoction preparation against snake venom. Their powder can be applied topically on the bitten place also.
Aspilia is used for treating gonorrhea
The leaves of Aspilia possess antimicrobial activity against gonorrhea and gastrointestinal bacterial infections. In Uganda, a decoction of the leaves is used to treat Gonorrhea, while the root is used for treating tuberculosis. Since both the leaves and roots are potential treatment for bacterial infections, you may make your decoction using both the roots and leaves.
The leaves are also used, in a decoction, for the treatment of diarrhea and stomach ache. The effectiveness in treating gonorrhea would probably be one the numerous health benefits of Aspilia africana. This is so, considering the increasing rate of sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea’s infection.
Aspilia africana for malaria
Aspilia, like monkey sugarcane, guava leaves, and bitterleaf plant, possess strong antiplasmodia activity which makes it a home remedy for treating malaria parasite infection. The decoction of this plant leaves is taken orally to cure malaria.
According to a study published in International Journal of Pharmacology, Jude E. Okokon and his colleagues showed that Aspilia africana exhibited a significant blood schizonticidal activity both in 4 day early infection and in established infection. The extract produced a significant chemosuppression in both early and established infections tests though lower than that produced by chloroquine.
The chemical, probably the alkaloids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in the leaf extract may increase its activity if purified and tested against chloroquine.
Aspilia is a natural contraceptive.
The leaves of Aspilia africana can be taken to prevent pregnancy among couples who wants to space out the age differences of their children. According to a study, the leaf extracts of Aspilia africana causes a dose dependent suppression of ovulation among rats treated with the plant leaf extracts. These contraceptive property of the plant leaf is through the inhibition of the Cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme activity.
Cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme is involved i fertilization through its role as an essential enzyme for follicular rupture. The enzyme plays important roles in ovulation and fertilization, as well. This could be a useful benefit of Aspilia africana, especially for couples who are through child bearing a d would love to continue enjoying sex without the burden of unwanted pregnancy.
May lower cholesterol level and hypertension
You may drink the decoction of the leaves or whole plant of bush marigold to keep your blood pressure at normal level, lower your blood cholesterol and lipid profile levels, and thus prevent the risk of developing atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Hyperlipidemia is a risk factor for both hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
Thus, the leaf decoction can be taken orally for treatment of diabetes as well as for hypertension. It can also be taken by anyone who’s wishing clear his systems of bad cholesterol.
Aspilia possess strong gastrointestinal protection
Like cabbage juice, the leaf juice or decoction of Aspilia africana possess strong healing potential for gastritis, gastric ulcer, bloated stomach and for worm expulsion. Its antimicrobial against bacterial may be employed in the cytotoxicity of Helicobacter pylori. It may also direct its action through the inhibition of proton pump and induction of mucosal secretion.
Bush marigold possess strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds
The plant extracts of Aspilia africana have been used in traditional medicines for the treatment of such inflammatory diseases as osteoarthritis, Body pains, facial febrile, skin edema, gastrointestinal discomfort, so many others. This is because of the strong anti-inflammatory compounds present in the plant. The antioxidants also prevent the damaging effects oxidative stress due to excess free radicals in the body. In fact, disease conditions occur because of oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. But the plant products have shown to suppress these harmful cellular disorders.
Side effects of Aspilia africana
Even though there are several health benefits of Aspilia africana, caution should be applied when making use of the leaves, roots, or even the whole plant for a particular disease. This is because Aspilia africana can impose toxic side effects when taken in higher doses than normal.
Aspilia africana can cause infertility in women
Whereas it can be useful as a natural contraceptive, Aspilia africana can cause infertility in sexually active women expecting to have babies. This is because the inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 enzymes prevents the induction of follicular rupture and subsequent release of ova for fertilization and fetal growth. Thus, Aspilia causes infertility through the alteration of uterous cycle, and subsequent inhibition of ovulation in women.
Aspilia africana and infertility in men
Aspilia africana can best serve as a male contraceptive, as well as female conceptive agent. This is because the extract of the plant can alter the androgen levels and greatly affect the testicular weight.
Androgens are known biomarkers for development, growth, and normal functioning of the testis and accessory sex organs. Its level have been shown to correlate with the weights of reproductive organs and glands.
A reduction in androgen levels, such as a decrease in testosterone level results in reduction in sexual accessory organs, and subsequently affect spermatogenesis and reproduction.
Whereas this effect of Aspilia africana may be great for couples who do not want to continue bearing children, the ingestion of the plant may cause untold infertility index in both male and female couples, who are expecting a baby.
However, you may want to eat blue oyster mushroom during the period of Aspilia africana herbal medication to suppress the antifertility effecte of the plant extract. This is more because blue oyster mushroom, as well as king oyster mushroom are fortified with Zinc and Folate, which are essential for improving fertility in men, by increasing testicular weight, sperm quantity and motility, and volume. These actions of both the blue and King oyster mushrooms would protect you from infertility effect of Aspilia africana.
Aspilia africana is a great herbal plant with numerous health benefits that could be exploited for improved health systems. However, it should be taken at your doctor’s consent. Medicinal herbs should not be abused to avoid untold adverse effects.
Komakech, R., Matsabisa, M. G., & Kang, Y. (2019). The Wound Healing Potential of Aspilia africana (Pers.) C. D. Adams (Asteraceae). Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2019, 7957860. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/7957860
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