Fertility tree (Newbouldia laevis), also known as boundary tree, Ogirisi in Igbo, Adikuru in Hausa and Ewe akoko in Yoruba, is known for its traditional use to improve fertility and reproduction. It is widely used in the southern nigeria for boundary demacation, in shrines, and as yam stakes, where it propagates and grow from the stem.
Fertility tree, ewe akoko, or ogirisi is a perennial plant that can grow to a gaint tree. It is ever green and the leaves were twisted and used for a spoon in the precolonial era to scoop and sip hot pepper soup and hot porridge yam water, among the Igbo people of southeaster Nigeria.
The flowers are bright purple to pink in colour and produce sweet necta. The leaves, commonly referred to as fertility leaves, stem back, and roots are used in traditional medicine, and have been extensively researched on.
What are the health benefits fertility leaves?
Fertility leaves is widely used for several health challenges. Some of these health benefits are listed for your understanding.
Fertility tree protects against convulsion
Convulsion is associated with brain disorder such as epilepsy, high fever in children, or the presence of toxins in the blood. It is a violent, irregular but sudden movement of the body, caused by violent repeated contraction and relaxation of the muscles.
Convulsion can lead to death of children. In the case of epilepsy, convulsion can cause the individual to fall into fire, live electric wire, sea or deep hole. Luckily, fertility tree possesses anticonvulsant activity.
The root, stem bark, and leaves of feritlity tree are being used in traditional medicine to treat convulsion, and this has been proved scientifically by some studies.
Although the root, stem bark, and leaves of fertility tree possess antivulsion activity, the aqueous extract of the leaves have been shown to possess high actvity than others.
The mechanisms of action of the extracts was proposed to be through the activation of dopamine D2 receptor and enhancing dopaminergic system. Another study showed that the extract athenuated the suppression of serum Ca2+ and glucose levels associated with seizure.
These studies mark fertility leaves as potention anticonvulsants, thereby validating their traditional use.
Fertility leaves improve anxiety disorder
Fertility leaves can be used to treat anxiety disorder and depression. This is because the leaves possess anxiolytic activity and supress depression. This activity is through activation of dopamine D2 receptor.
To use fertlility leaves for depression, or anxiety, make a decoction of the leaves in a 50% queous ethanol solution. Drink 20ml once a day.
Fertility leaves enhance female fertility
In the Southeastern part of Nigeria, fertility leaves are been used to induce labor and to expel placenta after child delivery. This may be the reason why the plant is called fertility tree. During parturition, oral administration of the leaf decoction causes the uterine muscles to contract, thus influencing labor and hastening child delivery. Some study also indicated that the leaf extract of fertility tree could improve female fertility through the regulation of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. This hormones are associated with ovulation and pregnancy.
There are, however, mixed reports on the effect of fertility leaves on male fertlilty. Simon and colleagues, in their study showed that the leaf extract of fertility tree had a negative effect on the testosterone level, as the extract decreases testosterone production. Testosterone has a significant impact on spermatogenesis. The study however left a room for more studies on this.
Fertility leaves suppress prolactin levels
High prolactin level have been implicated in both male and female infertility. High prolactin level in men may attack the testis and supress the production of testosterone, and cause the man to be impotent, leading to infertility in men.
In women, hyperprolactinemia supresses the production of progesterol and androgen. This prevents ovulation from occuring and thus leads to female infeftility.
The fact that the leaf extract of fertility leaves possess antiprolactin compound confirms the claim that newbouldia laevis is a fertility tree.
Fertility leaves possess antidiabetic property
This tree of life as is often referred to by many possess rutin and apigenin, which improves pancreatic beta cell, enhance insulin production, and sensitivity. Apigenin also inhibits α-amylase and α-glucosidase activities. These enzyme inhinition result in a low fasting and postprandial plasma glucose level. This findings supported the use of fertility leaves in traditional medicine for diabetes in Mexico.
May prevent hypertension
Although fertility leaves possess antihypertensive activity, a study done by Enye and colleagues showed that the active agent responsible for the hypotensive activity of the leaves exhibit a short half life, and therefore, the activity does not last. There is therefore the need to further research into this property of newbuoldia laevis, and to isolate and characterise the active agent.
Fertility leaves significantly lower blood cholesterol level
Aside the ability to supress serum glucose increase, fertility leaves also lower the lipid level of diabetic rats treated with high fat feeds and the leaf extract. This means that the leaves can protect you from the negative effect of dyslipidemia.
The leaf extract of newbouldia laevis greatly reduced the total cholesterol, LDL-, VLDL- cholesterols, and triglyceride levels, while increasing the level of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. HDL-cholesterol is called the good cholesterol. It enhances the removal of LDL from the surface of the blood vessels, thereby preventing atherosclerosis.
Improves your cardiovascular health
One the major risk of cardiovascular diseases is diabetes, and its dyslipidemia. But so far we have seen that fertility leaves significantly reduce high blood glucose and lipid levels. Fertility leaves also possess antioxidants, which protect the heart from the toxic effects of reactive oxygen species.
In a study, which evaluated the cardioprotective effect of newbouldia laevis roots and leaves against carbon tetrachloride toxicity, the researchers found that both the leaves and roots significantly lower the activities of creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and AST, and level of cardiac troponin I.
This is a proof to the use of fertility tree in traditional medicine for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Avocado seed tea also possess strong cardioprotective properties. It has recorded success among hgpertensive patients in Nigeria. Some however use the powder in their pap instead of the tea.
Benefits of fertility leaves on gastrointestinal diseases
One of the major gastrointestinal diseases ravaging the world populace is ulcer. Ulcer can either be peptic or gastric. It is caused by excess secretion of acids into the gastric mucosa. It can also be caused by a bacterium known as helicobacter pylori. In some instances, ulcer can be induced by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
The leaves of fertility tree can protect you from ulcerogenesis. The antibacterial activity of the leaves against helicobacter pylori may be the mechanism of action of the leaf extract. In a study on the stem back of fertility tree, the extract prevented absolute ethanol induced ulceration on fasted albino rats. Another herb with great anti-ulcer activity is cabbage juice. So many people have reported success in the treatment of ulcer with cabbage juice.
May stop diarrhoea and constipation
The leaves of fertility tree is rich in fiber. Fiber helps in absorbing water from watery stools, thereby making the stool solid and easy to pass out. In the condition of constipation, the fiber enhances the movement of the gastrointestinal muscles, and hence the passage of faeces. another plant with this strong benefits on diarrhea and constipation, like fertility leaves is ficus platyphylla stem bark.
They protect your body from carcinogens
The root of fertility tree has been studied and found to possess anticancer property against such cancers as colon, rectal and leukemia cancers. There is, however, no available study to confirm the anticancer property of fertility leaves.
Benefits of fertility leaves for errectile dysfunction
Whereas some studies have proposed the antifertility property of the newbouldia laevis leaves, another comparative study conducted by Seun and colleagues concluded that the aqueous extract of fertility leaves possess high potential for improving erectile dysfunction. A combination of fertility leaves and Uziza leaves and fruits would enhance the curative effect they individually exert on erectile dysfunction.
Benefits of fertility leaves on wound healing
When applied topically, the root powder of Newbouldia laevis in a gel have strong wound healing properties. The mechanism of action of the root extract may be through the increased rate of epithelialization and prevention of secondary bacteria infection.
Side effects of fertility leaves
- As stated earlier, fertility leaves may affect your sperm motility.
- When taken in a higher doses and exposed to it for a longer peroid of time, fertility leaves may seriousness affect your kidney and liver. Therefore, avoid regular use of fertlity leaves. Also, always consult your doctor.
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Bafor, E., & Sanni, U. (2009). Uterine contractile effects of the aqueous and ethanol leaf extracts of Newbouldia Laevis (Bignoniaceae) in vitro. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 71(2), 124–127. https://doi.org/10.4103/0250-474X.54274.
Simeon, Egba & Sunday, Godwin & Anaduaka, Emeka. (2014). The effect of oral administration of aqueous extract of Newbouldia laevis leaves on fertility hormones of male albino rats.. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences. 9. 61-64. 10.9790/3008-09316164.
Enye JC, Onubeze DPM, Chineke HN, et al. The Antihypertensive Property of Methanolic Extract of Newbouldia Laevis on Anaesthetized Cats. ISOR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences 8 (2013): 35-39.
Agbafor KN, Ezeali C, Akubugwo EI, Obiudu IK, Uraku AJ, Ogbanshi ME, Edwin N, Ugwu OPC. Cardioprotective effect of leaf and root extracts of Newbouldia laevis against carbon tetrachloride induced-cardiotoxicity in albino rats. Eur J Med Plants. 2015a; 9(3):1-7. doi:10.9734/EJMP/2015/17673.
Seun A. Akomolafe, Sunday I. Oyeleye, Tosin A. Olasehinde & Ganiyu Oboh (2018) Phenolic characterization, antioxidant activities, and inhibitory effects of Physalis angulata and Newbouldia laevis on enzymes linked to erectile dysfunction, International Journal of Food Properties, 21:1, 645-654.
Ugochi, Njoku & Ogugofor, Martins. (2019). EVALUATION OF WOUND HEALING EFFECT OF EXTRACT AND FRACTIONS OF Newbouldia leavis ROOT BARK IN 5-FLOUROURACIL IMMUNOCOMPROMISED RATS. 10.31032/IJBPAS/2019/8.7.4764.