By Chioma Obinna

As the world on Sunday   marked this year’s World Diabetes Day, a group of Nigerian scientists have authenticated a combination of local herbs enriched with immune-strengthening benefits for the management and prevention of infectious and chronic diseases such as diabetes, COVID-19, hypertension, cold, cough, and catarrh.

The active ingredients of the herbal combo known as Intercedd Health Products, IHP, bitters include Garcinia kola (bitter kola), Zingiber officinale (ginger), Piper guineense (black pepper), Hibiscus sabdariffa (Zobo), Andrographis paniculata andTetrapleura tetraptera.

According to the researchers, the product normalises physical function, purifies the blood, controls blood sugar, energises the body, restores optimum health, manages high blood pressure, protect the liver and gall bladder, detoxifier and rich in antioxidants.

Intercedd Health Products, IHP, is a subsidiary of Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme, BDCP/Bioresources Development Group, BDG.

IHP produces and markets drugs developed by the International Centre for Ethnomedicine and Drug Development (InterCEDD), a Research and Development (R&D) centre based in Nsukka, Enugu State.

Founder/ Chief Executive Officer of BDCP/BDG, a professor of pharmacognosy and former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Maurice Iwu, said the product would be inaugurated in Lagos and Abuja this Friday November 19 and Saturday November 20 respectively.

Longstanding brands of bitters were developed as patent medicines, but now are sold as digestives, sometimes with herbal properties, and as cocktail flavourings.

The botanical ingredients used historically in preparing bitters comprised of aromatic herbs, bark, roots, and/or fruit for their flavour and medicinal properties. 

However, several local and international studies have validated the therapeutic potentials of these plants in treating infectious and chronic diseases.

Besides its popular use in treating diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy and convulsion, a local spice, Tetrapleura tetraptera could be effective used in healing wounds.

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the fruit of Tetrapleura tetraptera is frequently used in Tropical African traditional medicine for the management and/or control of an array of human ailments, including arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, asthma, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, epilepsy, schistosomiasis, and so on.

Tetrapleura tetraptera belongs to the Mimosaceae/Fabacae family. It is locally known as aridan among the Yoruba, osakirisa or oshosho among the Igbo, dawo among the Hausa, all in Nigeria.

The fruit consist of a fleshy pulp with small, brownish-black seeds. The dry fruit has a pleasant aroma. It is therefore, used as a popular seasoning spice in Southern and Eastern Nigeria.

The fruit is used to prepare soup for mothers from the first day of birth to prevent postpartum contraction. Its fruits are used for the management of convulsions, leprosy, inflammation, rheumatism, flatulence, jaundice and fevers.

Also, Andrographis paniculata belongs to the plant family Acanthaceae. It is one of the most popular medicinal plants used traditionally for the treatment of array of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcer, leprosy, bronchitis, skin diseases, flatulence, colic, influenza, dysentery, dyspepsia and malaria for centuries in Asia, America and Africa continents.

 It possesses several photochemical constituents with unique and interesting biological properties. Diterpenes, flavonoids, xanthones, noriridoides and other miscellaneous compounds have been isolated from the plant.

For Hibiscus sabdariffa, botanically called Hibiscus sabdariffa (also called roselle or Zobo in Nigeria).

New research findings indicate that the flower and leaf extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa could provide the next novel drug for hypertension and coronary heart diseases.

Nigerian researchers have confirmed that drinking tea made with flower extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa (popularly called Zobo) lowered blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

Also, the Piper guineense is commonly called West African Black Pepper or Ashanti pepper (Uziza in Igbo and Ata iyere in Yoruba). Piper guineense is a West African spice plant with medicinal property and widely used traditionally in the treatment of various ailments.

The phytochemical studies of the plant revealed the presence of proteins, carbohydrates, alkaloids, steroids, glycosides, saponins, flavonoids, tannins and phenolic compounds. It also contains vitamins, minerals and fat.

Zingiber officinale also known as ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a common and widely used spice and belongs to the Zingiberaceae family.

It has been commonly consumed as a spice and herbal medicine for a long time. Ginger root is used to attenuate and treat several common diseases, such as headaches, colds, nausea, and emesis.

It has also been found that eating at least a piece of bitter kola (Garcinia kola) daily can be used for the treatment of low libido, low sperm count, erectile dysfunction and knee osteoarthritis?

Results of a study published in African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology have confirmed that bitter kola possesses sexual enhancing effects on male rats as evidenced by the increased mounting (MF) and intromission (IF) frequencies with increased number of subsequent ejaculations over the 20 minutes observation period.

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