• R Dangarembizi, Kh Erlwanger, E Chivandi
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    ABSTRACT: Ficus thonningii is commonly used in traditional medicine across the African continent. We investigated the effects of crude Ficus thonningii extracts on growth, morphology and morphometry of the abdominal viscera and clinical biochemistry of neonatal rats. Forty, 6-day old Sprague Dawley rat pups were orally gavaged once daily with either low (50 b.w) or high (500 b.w) doses of aqueous or methanolic F. thonningii leaf extracts while the control received distilled water. After 7 days of treatment, the pups were euthanased and gross morphometric measurements of the abdominal visceral organs were recorded. Samples of the liver, caecum and proximal small intestine were processed for histology. Plasma biochemical parameters were analysed colorimetrically. High methanolic doses of F. thonningii extracts exhibited trophic effects on the stomach while both aqueous and methanolic extracts had trophic effects on the ceacal mucosa of rats. No significant growth-promoting effects were observed in other visceral organs. Histological analysis revealed no mucosal damage or necrosis. Clinical biochemistry parameters were not abnormally altered. There was a significant decrease (p<0.05, ANOVA) in the plasma concentration of non-fasting glucose in the high methanolic group but triglycerides and cholesterol were unaltered. The findings suggest that at low doses, F. thonningii extracts can be safely used without the risk of any disruption in the structural integrity of the neonatal rat GIT and function of the liver and kidneys.
    African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 07/2014; 11(2):285-91. DOI:10.4314/ajtcam.v11i2.10 · 0.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the progressive effects of a high-fat diet on erythrocyte osmotic fragility, growth performance and serum lipid concentrations in Guinea fowl and Muscovy ducks, 36 Guinea fowl and 36 Muscovy ducks were divided into two groups, for each species, and fed either a standard (STD = commercial poultry feed) or high-fat diet (HFD = commercial poultry feed with 20% palm oil and 2% lard) for up to 12 weeks. After 4, 8 and 12 weeks on the diets, six birds from each group were euthanized and blood samples collected. Osmotic fragility was assessed by measuring the haemoglobin released by erythrocytes placed in serially diluted solutions of phosphate-buffered saline, spectrophotometrically. Serum triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations were also determined. Fragiligrams from erythrocytes from both species of birds on the HFD were not different to those on the STD. However, Muscovy duck erythrocytes were more resistant to haemolysis compared with Guinea fowl erythrocytes. Final body mass and serum triglyceride levels were not significantly different (p > 0.05, anova) between the birds in the HFD and STD groups, for both species of birds. In contrast, serum cholesterol levels were significantly higher in birds on the HFD compared with those on the STD, after 4, 8 and 12 weeks of feeding, for both species of birds. Feeding Guinea fowl and Muscovy ducks a high-fat diet for up to 12 weeks resulted in hypercholesterolaemia but had no effect on final body mass, erythrocyte osmotic fragility or serum triglyceride concentrations in either bird species.
    J Anim Physiol a Anim Nutr 12/2013; 98(5). DOI:10.1111/jpn.12149 · 1.25 Impact Factor
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    Rachael Dangarembizi, Eliton Chivandi, Kennedy Erlwanger
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    ABSTRACT: Aloe ferox is an important medicinal plant in Southern Africa whose seeds could be useful as a source of oil. The fatty acid composition of A. ferox seed oil was determined using gas chromatography. The physicochemical properties of the oil were analysed using standard methods. The seeds yielded 19.4% of a light textured oil using the Blight and Dyer's method and 12.3% using the Soxhlet extraction method. The saponification value of the seed oil was 241.9 mg KOH/g and the peroxide value was 8.9 meq/kg. The acid value of the seed oil was 51.5 mg KOH/g (25.9% free fatty acids). The major fatty acids found in the seed oil were linoleic acid (71.8%), oleic acid (12.0%), palmitic acid (11.2%) and stearic acid (2.9%). The results obtained suggest that as A. ferox seed oil is high in linoleic acid, it could be potentially exploited in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
    Natural product communications 03/2013; 8(3):411-4. · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The common wild fig, Ficus thonningii, is extensively used in African ethnomedicine for treating a number of disease conditions which include diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, diabetes mellitus, gonorrhoea, respiratory infections, and mental illnesses. This review aims to present a logical analysis of the nutritional, phytochemical and pharmacological properties of F. thonningii in relation to its therapeutic applications. A bibliographic analysis of the uses, phytochemical constituents and phytophamacological properties of Ficus thonningii was carried out using published papers, medicinal plant databases and various ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological books. Ficus thonningii contains various bioactive compounds which include alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, tannins and active proteins, all of which contribute to its curative properties. In vitro and in vivo pharmacological studies revealed that F. thonningii possesses antimicrobial, antidiarrhoeal, antihelmintic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Acute and sub-chronic toxicity studies have shown that Ficus thonningii is non-toxic if administered orally in low doses. Scientific research has validated the ethnomedicinal claims that Ficus thonningii is useful in disease management. However, there is need to continue identifying, isolating and quantifying the active principles and possibly determine the mechanisms underlying its curative properties.
    African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 01/2012; 10(2):203-212. DOI:10.4314/ajtcam.v10i2.4 · 0.56 Impact Factor

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