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PHYTOCHEMICAL AND SOME BIOLOGICAL STUDIES OF THE METHANOL EXTRACT OF THE AERIAL PARTS OF AMPELOCISSUS GRANTII(BAKER) PLANCH. (VITACEAE)

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 Sep 22, 2022 |  02:41 pm |  8


PHYTOCHEMICAL AND SOME BIOLOGICAL STUDIES OF THE METHANOL EXTRACT OF THE AERIAL PARTS OF AMPELOCISSUS GRANTII(BAKER) PLANCH. (VITACEAE)


1.1 General Introduction

The exploitation of plants by man for the treatment of diseases has been in practice for a very long time. The knowledge of the usage of herbs has been handed down from generation to generation for thousands of years (Newman and Cragg, 2012). 


Herbal medicine is an evolutionary process where communities and individuals continue to discover new techniques that can transform practice in the field of medicinal sciences (Ansari and Inamdar, 2010). Herbal drugs constitute a major part in all the traditional system of medicines (Higa et al., 1994).


Their use is a triumph of popular therapeutic diversity.  Plants  above all  other agents  have  been  used  formedicine  from  time immemorial because they have fitted the immediate personal need, are easilyaccessible and inexpensive (Mukherjee, 2008). 


For many years people have developed a store of empirical information concerning the therapeutic values of local plants  before  orthodox  medical  practice  appeared  (Karou  et  al.,  2007).  Through periods of  trials,  error  and  success,  these  herbalist  and  their  apprentices  have accumulated a large body of knowledge about medicinal plants. 


The first generation of plant drugs were usually simple botanicals employed in more or less their crude form (Iwu et al.,1999). Several effective medicines used in their natural state were selected as therapeutic agents based on empirical study of their applications by traditional societies from different part of the world(Ekeanyanwu, 2011).



Medicinal plants are those which in one or more of its organ contain substances that can be used for therapeutic purposes or which are precursor for the synthesis of useful drugs (Sofowora, 1993). A special feature of higher plants is their capacity to produce a large number of organic chemicals of high structural diversity, the socalled secondary metabolites (Castello et al., 2002). 


Many of these compounds are differentially distributed among limited taxonomic groups within the plant kingdom and conversely, each plant species has a distinct profile of secondary metabolites (Farnsworth and Morris, 1976). 


Plant secondary metabolites have been variously referred to as natural products because of their historical significance as sources of dyes, polymers, fibers, glues, oils, waxes, flavoring agents, perfumes, drugs and their tremendous importance, both for the plant (for plant-environment interactions) as for humans, for their biological activities that can have high therapeutic value (Croteau, et al., 2000). 


The usual term used in referring to these chemical substances present in plants  is  constituent  and the constituents which possess biological  properties are called active constituents. Phytochemistry is concerned with the chemical studies of these plant constituents and it involves the assay of plant extracts by chemical means or other means to determine the active constituent(s) of the plant. 


It gives account of the enormous variety of organic   substances   accumulated   by   plants,   their   biosynthesis,   turnover   and metabolism and their natural distribution and biological functions (Trease and Evans, 2002).


The  medicinal  value  of  plants  lies  in  some  chemical  substances  that  produce  a definite  physiological  action  on  the  human  body.  The  most  important  of  these bioactive compounds  of  plant are alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, sterol,  tannins, anthraquinones and phenoliccompounds (Edeoga et al., 2005).


Screening of organic substances accumulated by plants for their pharmacological activities has indeed been the vast source of innumerable therapeutic agents representing molecular diversity engineered by nature.

 

Following the industrial revolution, a second generation of plant drugs emerged based on scientific processing of the plant extracts to isolate “their active constituents”. Plant materials remain important components in combating serious diseases in the world; for therapeutic approach to several pathologies. In the recent past there has been a tremendous increase in the use of plant based health products in developing as well as developed countries resulting in an exponential growth of herbal products globally. 


Currently the global market for medicinal plants has been estimated to be around US $62 billion and the demand is growing rapidly. It is globally recognized that medicinal plants play a significant role in providing health benefits to human beings.  An  upward  trend  has  been  observed  in  the  research  on  herbs.  


Herbal medicines have a strong traditional or conceptual base and the potential to be useful as drugs in terms of safety and effectiveness leads for treating different diseases. World Health Organization has made an attempt to identify all medicinal plants used globally and listed more than 20,000 species (Pandeyet al., 2008). 


Medicinal plants have played a key role in the world health care with about 80% of Africans depending on phytomedicine which has shown a wide range uses in the treatment of diseases, priority disease of Africa such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, sickle cell anaemia, diabetes and hypertension(Ekeanyanwu, 2011).Plants continue to serve as possible sources for new drugs and chemicals derived from various parts of plants (Calixto et al., 2000).


Historically,  plants  have  provided  a  good  source  of  therapeutic  agents.  The isoquinoline  alkaloid,  emetine  obtained  from  the  underground  part  of  Cephalis ipecacuanha, and related species, have been used for many years as an amoebicidal drug   for   the   treatment   of   abscesses   due   to   the   spread   of   Entamoeba histolyticainfections. 


Quinine, an alkaloid that occurs naturally in the bark of the Cinchona tree, is another important drug of plant origin with a long history of usage against  malaria.  Scientists  from  divergent  fields  are  investigating plants  with  an intention to discover valuable phytochemicals. Laboratories all over the world have found literally thousands of phytochemicals which have inhibitory effects on all types of microorganisms in vitro.



1.2 The Value of Plants Used in Ethnomedicine for Drug Discoveries

Medicinal plants provide a rich source of new materials for primary health care in Africa and other part of the developing world. The goals of using plants as source of therapeutic agents are: i) to isolate bioactive compounds for direct use as drugs; 


ii) to produce bioactive compounds of novel or known structures as lead compounds for semi synthesis to produce patentable entities of higher activity/or lower toxicity; iii) to use agents as pharmacological tools; iv) to use the whole plant or part of it as a herbal remedy. Notable examples were quinine from Cinchona pubescens, reserpine fromRauwolfia serpentinaand taxol from Taxus spp. (Farnsworth and Morris, 1976).


During the last few decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in plants as source of medicines and of novel molecules for use in the elucidation of physiological/biochemical  phenomena.  


There  is  the  worldwide  green  revolution, which is reflected in the belief that herbal remedies are safer and less damaging to the human body than synthetic drugs. Furthermore, underlying this upsurge of interest in plants is the fact that many important drugs in use today were derived from plants or from  starting  molecules  of  plant origin.


Digoxin/digitoxin,  the  vinca  alkaloids, reserpine  and  tubocurarine  are  some  important  examples  (Iwu  et  al.,  1999). Laboratories around the world are engaged in screening plants for biological activity with therapeutic potentials.



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