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PHYTOCHEMICAL AND SOME PHARMACOLOGICAL STUDIES OF THE LEAF, STEM BARK AND ROOT BARK EXTRACTS OF STACHYTARPHETA ANGUSTIFOLIA (MILL) VAHL. (VERBENACEAE)

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 Sep 22, 2022 |  09:54 pm |  9


PHYTOCHEMICAL  AND SOME PHARMACOLOGICAL STUDIES OF THE  LEAF,  STEM BARK  AND   ROOT   BARK EXTRACTS OF STACHYTARPHETA ANGUSTIFOLIA (MILL) VAHL. (VERBENACEAE)


1.0 General   Introduction

The use of plant derived products by man as medicine dates back to pre-historic times.  It was  believed  that  at  the  beginning of  creation,  God  made  plants  and  herbs  before creating   man.  This was done with the injunction that man should eat from the plants and herbs for his good health. Henceforth, herbs have been in use from antiquity and were the first medicine used by man (Kloss, 1992). From time immemorial man and animals have had to distinguish between those plants which are poisonous and those that are not, and they gradually developed the knowledge of the naturally occurring drugs which was transmitted at one time orally, 


later on as baked clay tablets, parchments, man scripted herbals, printed herbals, pharmacopoeias and most recently by computerized information – retrieved system (Trease and Evans, 2002). About half of the world‟s medicinal compounds are derived or obtained from plant (Geoffrey et al., 2001). Nature has been a source of medicinal agents since times immemorial. 


The medicinal products from plants and other biota are in general more important to developing countries than industrialized  nation,  where the  focus  is  very  much  on  chemical  discovery  and synthesis of pharmaceutical drug products from biota as major contribution to human health service (Akerele, 1991).


Despite the immense technological advancement in modern medicine, a lot of African, approximately 80% of the population still relies on traditional healing practices and medicinal  plants  for  their  daily health  care  needs  (Sofowora,  2008).  


The  floral biodiversity of  Africa  provides  the  African  traditional  medical  practitioner  with  an impressive  „natural  pharmacy‟  from  which  plants  are  selected  as  remedies  or  as ingredients to prepare herbal medicine (phytomedicines) for various human ailments (WHO,  2005).  The  Ayurvedic  medicine  preparations  comprise  of  medicinal  plants, mineral and organic matter. 


These are essentially primitive but are also preventive in therapeutic approach. Medicinal   herbs   constitute   indispensable   components  of traditional medicine practiced worldwide due to low cost, easy access and ancestral experience (Marini-Bettolo, 1980).


The use of traditional herbs in Nigeria for the treatment of various ailment has been fully accepted, this is because it serves as an alternative means of curing different diseases and as such its importance cannot be over emphasized. The historic period has it that, traditional medicine in most countries involves the use of medicinal herbs in their crude forms.  The herbs are prepared in form of decoctions, infusion or powder to be taken and which has been in practice to date (Sofowora, 2008 ; Adjanohoun, 1991). 


Traditional medicines are an inspirational part of our health because it is the total sum of knowledge, skills and practice based on the theory, belief and experience used in maintaining good health as well as curing diseases using medicinal plants (Sofowora, 2008 ; Verporte et al., 1987).   


Medicinal plants are define as those in which one or more of their parts contain metabolites that can be used for therapeutic purposes or which are precursors for the synthesis of useful drugs.  The medicinal properties of drug plants are dependent on the presence of these chemical substances known as the secondary metabolites. 


Secondary metabolites are constituents synthesized by the plant in addition to its basic metabolites, which may be concentrated in different part of the plant. Some of these compounds include saponins, glycosides, flavonoids, anthraquinones, alkaloids, steroids and terpenoids. Others include coumarins, tannins, gum and mucilage, volatile oil and organic acids. 


These chemical constituents are dominant in different drug plants given it a unique chemistry which differs from one plant to another at varying concentrations.The phytochemical examination of all these constituents has been made possible and easier by the improved method of extraction, separation, isolation and characterization (Farnsworth and Soejarto 1991).


It  is  evident,  that  the  plant  kingdom  still  holds  many species  of  plants  containing substances  of  great  medicinal  value  which  have  just  been  discovered  or  yet  to  be discovered (Farnsworth,   1996).   Large   numbers   of   plants   are   constantly   being investigated for their possible pharmacological values (Trease and Evans, 2002).


Plants may be regarded as a biosynthetic laboratory that produces or synthesizes a large variety of chemical compounds during its metabolic activities. These include compounds that  are  utilized  by man  and  other  animals  to  exert  physiological  effects  on  them (Richard,  1998). Some  of  the  plants  studied  were  found  to  possess  antimicrobial activity. 


These include Plumbago  zeylanica L.,  Mitracarpus  scaber Zucc, Euphorbia hirta L,  Alstonia boonei  De Wild and Eupatorium odoratunm L. (Ekpendu et al., 1989). Some plants are also known to combat and expel or destroy intestinal worms e.g. Carica papaya (Sofowora, 2008).


World  Health  Organization  (WHO)  defined  Traditional  herbs  as  finished,  labeled medicinal products that contain as active ingredient from the aerial or underground part of a plant or other plant material or combination thereof whether in crude state or as plant preparation.  


Drugs from natural sources may fall into one of these categories of compounds: those that are isolated from natural source, those that are modified version of the natural products and those that are completely synthetic yet based on models of natural origin (Akerele, 1991).   A recent survey revealed that 61% of 877 drugs introduced worldwide can be traced to or were inspired by natural products (Rouhi, 2003). Plants in the tropics are often used as direct source of drugs, for example, the anti malarial quinine (I) from Cinchona species.




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