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Abstract

African plant Kigelia africana (Lam.) Benth. belonging to the family Bignoniaceae is widely distributed in the South, Central, and West Africa. Tree of K. africana is approximately 20 m long, either evergreen or deciduous depending on the rainfall condition in different part of the world. Due to its huge sausage or cucumber-like fruit, K. africana is commonly referred to as sausage or cucumber tree. Different parts of K. africana have been used for various medicinal purposes in different parts of the world. In India, K. africana is well known as Balmkheera. A very famous slogan is used in different parts of Uttar Pradesh (India) for K. africana as “Balamkheera jo bana de pet ko heera.” Different parts of this plant used by ethnic groups throughout the world for the treatment of common skin diseases such as fungal infections, psoriasis, eczema, boils, leprosy, syphilis, skin cancer gynecological complaints, constipation, tapeworm infection, jaundice, ulcers, sores, pneumonia, malaria, diabetes, and waist pain. Pharmacological activities of different extracts as well as isolated compounds of the plant are reported as analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, nematocidal, antiamebic, antiviral, antitrypanosomal, antiamebic, antimalarial, antidiarrheal, anticancer, antioxidant, aphrodisiac, and wound healing activity have been studied using different methods. In the present article, data have been collected on the ethnopharmacology and pharmacology of K. africana up to June 2017.
International Journal of Green PharmacyVol 11 • Special Issue 2018 | S23
Ethnopharmacology and pharmacology of
Kigelia africana (Lam.) Benth.
Anupriya Singh, Snehal Kumari, Ambrish Kumar Singh, Narendra Kumar Singh
Pharmacy Ayurveda Research Laboratory, Rajiv Gandhi South Campus, Banaras Hindu University, Mirzapur,
Uttar Pradesh, India
Abstract
African plant Kigelia africana (Lam.) Benth. belonging to the family Bignoniaceae is widely distributed in the
South, Central, and West Africa. Tree of K. africana is approximately 20 m long, either evergreen or deciduous
depending on the rainfall condition in different part of the world. Due to its huge sausage or cucumber-like
fruit, K. africana is commonly referred to as sausage or cucumber tree. Different parts of K. africana have
been used for various medicinal purposes in different parts of the world. In India, K. africana is well known
as Balmkheera. A very famous slogan is used in different parts of Uttar Pradesh (India) for K. africana as
Balamkheera jo bana de pet ko heera.” Different parts of this plant used by ethnic groups throughout the world
for the treatment of common skin diseases such as fungal infections, psoriasis, eczema, boils, leprosy, syphilis,
skin cancer gynecological complaints, constipation, tapeworm infection, jaundice, ulcers, sores, pneumonia,
malaria, diabetes, and waist pain. Pharmacological activities of different extracts as well as isolated compounds
of the plant are reported as analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, antibacterial,
antifungal, nematocidal, antiamebic, antiviral, antitrypanosomal, antiamebic, antimalarial, antidiarrheal,
anticancer, antioxidant, aphrodisiac, and wound healing activity have been studied using different methods. In
the present article, data have been collected on the ethnopharmacology and pharmacology of K. africana up to
June 2017.
Key words: Balamkheera, Kigelia africana, Muratina, sausage tre
Address for correspondence:
Dr. Narendra Kumar Singh, Ayurvedic Pharmacy
Research Laboratory, Rajiv Gandhi South
Campus, Banaras Hindu University, Barkachha,
Mirzapur – 231 001, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Mobile: +91-8869939142.
E-mail: narendra_pharma1982@rediffmail.com
INTRODUCTION
Kigelia africana, belongs to the family
Bignoniaceae, is native from Africa.[1]
It is widely distributed in the South,
Central, and West Africa. Plant of K. africana
is a moisture-loving tree mostly found on river
banks, along streams, in floodplains of Nigeria,
Cameroon, Kenya, Guinea, Senegal, and open
woodland from KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)
to Tanzania, Chad, and Namibia.[2] In India,
K. africana is well known as Balmkheera.
A very famous slogan is used in different
parts of Uttar Pradesh (India) for K. africana
as “Balamkheera jo bana de pet ko heera.”[3]
Due to its huge sausage or cucumber-like fruit,
K. africana is commonly referred to sausage
or cucumber tree.[4] Tree of K. africana is
approximately 20 m long, either evergreen or
deciduous depending on the rainfall condition
in different parts of the world.[5] The bark of
K. africana is gray and smooth at young while
peeling occurs on older tree. It can be 6 mm
thick on a 15 cm branch.[6] The leaves of
K. africana are about 30–50 cm long, pinnate, and leaflets
are up to 20 cm long and 6 cm broad.[7] The wood of plant is
pale brown or yellowish in color.[8] Flowers of K. africana
are bell-shaped, orange-to-red or purplish green with up to
10 cm width. It hangs down from branches on long flexible
stems and bloom at the night.[9] Flower of K. africana
has five-lobed calyx and corolla. Corolla is yellowish on
outside and purplish on inside.[10] The fruit of K. africana is
incredibly large, and it can grow up to 1 m × 18 cm with a
weight up to 12 kg.[11] The fruit of K. africana is indehiscent
with a woody wall and heavily marked with lenticels at the
pod surface. The fruit of K. africana is gray-brown in color
and contains many seeds when matured.[5] The fruit of the
plant is fibrous and unripe fruit being poisonous when taken
internally.[12] Although the unripe fruits of K. africana are
toxic yet it is used externally as a medicine in Africa.[10]
REVIEW ARTICLE
Singh, et al.: Pharmacology of Kigelia africana
International Journal of Green PharmacyVol 11 • Special Issue 2018 | S24
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY
Different parts of K. africana have been used for various
medicinal purposes in different parts of the world.[2] The
tree is most widely used in the treatment of various common
skin diseases such as fungal infections, psoriasis, eczema,
boils, leprosy, syphilis, and skin cancer.[13] Root decoction of
K africana is drunk to treat gastrointestinal problems.[14] In
Nigeria, decoction of the roots of K. africana is used in ante-
and post-natal disorders, fibroid, and conception.[15] In South
Africa and Ethiopia, hot macerate of the roots of K. africana
is taken orally in gynecological complaints, constipation,
and tapeworm infection.[16] The root bark of K. africana
is also recommended for the treatment of uterus cancer.[17]
Root barks of K. africana are also useful in the treatment
of venereal diseases, hemorrhoids, and rheumatism.[18] Stem
bark of K. africana is useful in the treatment of rheumatism,
dysentery, venereal diseases, gynecological conditions,
hemorrhages, epilepsy, wounds, sores, abscesses, diarrhea,
and edema.[19] In Cameroon, decoction of stem bark was
taken orally as abortifacient, in the treatment of filariasis and
cataract.[20] In Tanzania and Nigeria, hot decoction of stem
bark was taken orally after parturition as galactagogue.[21] In
South Africa and Cameroon, decoctions of powdered stem
bark were mixed in porridge and taken orally for the treatment
of infertility.[21,22] The decoction of the stem bark of plant is
drunk for relief from headaches and treatment of epilepsy.[14]
Infusion of stem bark of K. africana was taken orally in the
treatment of hyperpyrexia and gonorrhea in Tanzania.[23] In
Benin, Ivory Coast, and South Africa, decoction of the leaves
of the plant is drunk for the treatment of jaundice.[24] Ash
of K. africana leaves is mixed with honey and used for the
treatment of high blood pressure.[14] In Central Africa, unripe
fruit of K. africana is used for the dressing of wounds, for the
treatment of rheumatism and hemorrhage.[25] In Botswana,
K. africana fruits are boiled with milk, cooled, and taken
orally as sexually transmitted diseases remedy.[26] In
Tanzania, K. africana fruits are boiled and taken orally for the
treatment of anemia, especially for pregnant women.[23] The
paste of K. africana fruits is used for leprosy in Kurukshetra
district in Haryana (India). In Africa and India, the paste of
powdered K. africana fruits is rubbed around the infected
area of skin for the treatment of skin cancer and to reduce
the breast metastasis.[27] In Central Africa, K. africana fruits
are used to treat rheumatism.[16] Tonga women of Zambezi
valley regularly apply cosmetic preparation of K. africana
fruits on their faces to ensure a blemish-free complexion.
[28] Unripe K. africana fruits are used as vermifuge.[29] Beer
(Muratina) prepared from the extract of K. africana fruits
is used during children bath for the treatment of measles.
Either fresh or crushed dried fruits of K. africana are used
for the treatment of ulcers, sores, and syphilis.[3] In South
Africa, chopped stem bark and fruits of K. africana are boiled
in 2 L of water for 1 h, cooled before straining, and taken
orally half a cup thrice a day for blood cleansing and pelvic
pains during pregnancy. For the treatment of dysmenorrhea,
equal amounts of dried or fresh stem bark of K. africana and
Searsia nebulosa are mixed together and three handfuls are
boiled in 2 L of water for 30 min and cooled before straining,
and half a cup of this decoction is taken twice a day.[21] In
Namibia and South Africa, stem and leaves of K. africana
are crushed together, boiled in water till concentrate, and
used to wash or rub onto the infected skin parts for the
treatment of eczema and herpes.[30] Fruits and stem bark of
K. africana ground and boiled in water and taken orally for
the treatment of stomach ailments usually worms infection
in children.[31] In South Africa, a handful of leaves and roots
of K. africana, chopped Hypoxis hemerocallidea corm, and
crushed Senecio serratuloides are boiled in 5 L of water and
half a cup taken thrice a day for the treatment of sexually
transmitted infections and sores.[32] K. africana fruits, stem
bark, and roots are boiled and used medicinally to cure
post-parturition hemorrhage.[33] K. africana is also used for
internal applications including the treatment of dysentery,
worm infestations, pneumonia, toothache, malaria, diabetes,
venereal diseases, convulsions, and antidote for snakebite.
[2,23,34] In South Africa, roasted seeds of K. africana are eaten
for the treatment of pneumonia, malaria, diabetes, and waist
pain and applied on the affected area of the body to cure
fungal infection and eczema.[3,35] In Kenya, the roasted seeds
of K. africana are mixed with beer and taken orally for the
enlargement of sexual organs.[36]
PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES OF
K. AFRICANA
Analgesic Activity
Methanol extract of the stem bark of K. africana (100, 200,
and 500 mg/kg body weight orally) was evaluated using
hot plate test and mouse writhing assay in mice for the
evaluation of analgesic activity. A significant dose-dependent
decrease in writhing was recorded in the extract-treated
(500 mg/kg body wt. p.o.) and aspirin-treated (100 mg/kg body
wt. i.p.) mice (29.6 ± 7.31 and 36.8 ± 5.8/30 min, respectively)
as compared to the control mice (85.0 ± 1.34/30 min).
Intraperitoneal injection of acetic acid (0.6% in normal
saline, at a dose of 10 mL/kg body weight) was administered
60 and 30 min, respectively, before the administration of
test and standard drugs. In the mouse writhing assay, extract
caused statistically significant (P < 0.0001) inhibition of the
number of writhes. Extracts at the dose of 200 and 500 mg/
kg produced a higher inhibition as compared to standard drug
aspirin (100 mg/kg). The inhibitory effect was 139 and 124%
of the effect produced by aspirin at 200 and 500 mg/kg doses,
respectively. The extract failed to increase mice reaction time
on hot plate. The difference between the mean reaction time
of the K. africana-treated groups and the control group was
not statistically significant at all doses tested. Its effect was
not comparable to morphine which had a mean reaction
time of more than 2 min which was the cutoff point (P <
0.0001).[37] Inhibition of acetic acid-induced writhing in
mice suggests that the analgesic effect of the extracts may be
Singh, et al.: Pharmacology of Kigelia africana
International Journal of Green PharmacyVol 11 • Special Issue 2018 | S25
peripherally mediated through the inhibition of the synthesis
and release of prostaglandins.[38] Analgesic activity of the
roots of K. africana was found less effective as compared
to its stem, leaves and fruits.[16,39] The methanol extract of
flowers of K. africana decreased the number of acetic acid-
induced writhing in mice treated orally at the dose of 100,
200, and 400 mg/kg as compared to control animals. The
analgesic activity of the extract was found in dose-dependent
manner with inhibition of writhing of 48.72%, 53.42%, and
80.77%, respectively, for the designated doses of the extract,
whereas the standard drug (diclofenac sodium 20 mg/kg)
showed writhing inhibition of 76.50%. Reaction time was
prolonged significantly and dose dependently in hot plate
test at different time intervals. The extract also decreased the
number of licking times of the hind paw in both the first and
second phases in formalin-induced nociception in mice.[39]
Analgesic activity of ethanol extract of the leaves of
K. africana was carried out using hot plate method on albino
rats. Paracetamol (150 mg/kg) was used as standard drug.
The extract at the dose of 100, 200, and 400 mg/kg showed
statistically significant elongation in hot plate reaction time
(P < 0.0001) as compared with the standard drug paracetamol
(150 mg/kg). The extract at the dose of 400 mg/kg was found
more effective than the standard drug paracetamol.[40]
Antipyretic Activity
The methanol extract of stem bark of K. africana showed
antipyretic activity on turpentine-induced pyrexia in
male Wistar rats. Administration of extract (50, 100, and
150 mg/kg body weight) showed decreasement in the level
of elevated rectal temperature in dose-dependent manner.
Aspirin (100 mg/kg body weight) was used as reference drug.
The maximum antipyretic activity of extracts was occurred in
the 4th h (50 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg, and 150 mg/kg body weight
as well as the aspirin reduced elevated rectal temperature by
1.41%, 2.09%, 3.07%, and 2.40%, respectively), indicating
slow but steady passive diffusion of the bioactive compounds
across the cell membrane. The antipyretic activity of the
extract at the dosages of 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg body weight
showed no statistically significant difference (P > 0.005) as
compared with the control group. However, the group treated
with extract at the dosage of 150 mg/kg body weight was
comparable to the group of rats treated with standard drug
aspirin (P > 0.05).[41]
Anti-inflammatory Activity
Anti-inflammatory activity of methanol extract from
the leaves of K. africana was evaluated in carrageenan-
induced paw edema in rats. Methanol extract showed a
significant anti-inflammatory activity at the dose level of
150 mg/kg as compared to the standard drug diclofenac
sodium (15 mg/kg body weight) by reducing the hind paw
diameter by 0.21% and 1.10%, respectively.[42] The ethanol
extract of stem bark at the dosage of 100, 200, and 500 mg/
kg body weight has been reported to have anti-inflammatory
activity against carrageenan-induced paw edema in guinea
pigs. Indomethacin was used as a reference drug. It was
found that extract showed anti-inflammatory effect in a dose-
dependent manner with maximum activity at the dose of
500 mg/kg body weight dose. Reduction in the paw volume
in animals treated with the extract (500 mg/Kg) was found
comparable with the standard drug indomethacin (10 mg/Kg),
the percentage inhibition produced by the extract was 98% at
the 2nd h, 94.8% at the3rd h, and 85% at the 5th h.[37]
Compounds, verminoside, and verbascoside isolated from the
methanol extract of fruits showed anti-inflammatory activity.
It was found that verminoside inhibits the nitric oxide synthase
(iNOS) and NO release from macrophages as stimulated by
bacterial lipopolysaccharides,[1] while verbascoside inhibits
nuclear factor-ĸβ activation, tumor necrosis factor-α release,
iNOS activity, and nuclear translocation.[43,44]
Hepatoprotective Activity
Aqueous leaves extract of K. africana showed significant
hepatoprotective activity in paracetamol-induced liver
damage in rats.[45]
Methanol extract of the fruits of K. africana was assessed for
its effect in CCL4-induced liver toxicity in male Wistar rats.
Silymarin (50 mg/kg) was used as a standard drug. K. africana
fruits extract are found to be toxic (but not fatal) to Wistar rats
when given at the dose of 100, 200, and 400 mg/kg orally.
K. africana fruit extracts change the growth rates, cytoplasmic
fatty vacuolation, and necrosis of the centrilobular hepatocytes
in the liver attributed to the increases in the activity of enzyme
aspartate aminotransferase and lower concentration of albumin
and decreased activity of alanine transaminase.[46] K. africana
fruit extract (100 mg/kg) showed protective effects for liver
disease due to its ability to act as an antioxidant.[45]
Antidiabetic Activity
Methanol extract of the leaves of K. africana
(100–400 mg/kg) was evaluated for its antidiabetic activity
in alloxan (120 mg/kg)-induced diabetic rats where
glibenclamide (5 mg/kg) was used as a standard drug.
Methanol extract of the plant at the dose of 200–400 mg/kg
decreases the level of blood glucose significantly while extract
at the dose of 100 mg/kg failed to do so. Treatment of diabetic
rats with methanol extract (200–400 mg/kg) of the plant
produced a significant reduction in serum levels of triglyceride
and cholesterol in a dose-dependent manner which was found
comparable to standard drug glibenclamide.[47]
Daily administration of the defatted methanol extract (for
21 days) of flower of K. africana in streptozotocin-induced
Singh, et al.: Pharmacology of Kigelia africana
International Journal of Green PharmacyVol 11 • Special Issue 2018 | S26
diabetic rat causes statistically significant (P < 0.001)
reduction in the level of blood glucose in a dose-dependent
manner from 288.45 ± 2.30 mg/dL to 152.48 ± 2.7 mg/dL and
298.29 ± 3.50 mg/dL to 138.43 ± 3.5 mg/dL at the doses of
250 and 500 mg/kg, respectively. Glibenclamide (10 mg/kg)
was used as a standard drug. Total blood cholesterol and
triglycerides were reduced while the level of high-density
lipoprotein cholesterol level was significantly improved as
compared to diabetic control group (vehicle group).[48] Fruit
extract of the plant showed antidiabetic activity (reduces sugar
level in the blood) due to the presence of the terpenoids.[49]
Antibacterial Activity
Antibacterial screening of different stem bark extracts
as well as isolated compound was carried out using disk
diffusion method using amoxicillin (2 mg/discs) as positive
control. Negative control was prepared using 10% dimethyl
sulfoxide as a solvent. The methanol extract of stem bark
was suspended in water and successively extracted with
n-hexane-EtOAc, EtOAc, and water. One Gram-positive
bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus CIP 7625, and three Gram-
negative bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa CIP 76110,
Salmonella typhi, and Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, are
used as test microorganisms. Zone of inhibition (mm) of
methanol extract of stem barks was found to be 6.0 ± 0.0, 6.0
± 0.0, 0.0 ± 0.0, and 0.0 ± 0.0 for E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S.
typhi, and S. aureus, respectively. Zone of inhibition (mm) of
n-hexane-EtOAc fraction for E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. typhi,
and S. aureus was found to be 6.0 ± 0.0, 6.0 ± 0.0, 0.0 ± 0.0,
and 7.0 ± 0.0, respectively. EtOAc fraction showed that zone
of inhibition for E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. typhi, and S. aureus
was found to be 0.0 ± 0.0, 0.0 ± 0.0, 0.0 ± 0.0, and 6.0 ±
0.0, respectively. Zone of inhibition of aqueous fraction of
stem bark was found to be 6.0 ± 0.0, 7.0 ± 0.0, 6.0 ± 0.0, and
8.0 ± 0.0 for E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. typhi, and S. aureus,
respectively, while the zone of inhibition of standard drug
amoxicillin for E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. typhi, and S. aureus
was found to be 0.0 ± 0.0, 6.0 ± 0.0, 0.0 ± 0.0, and 0.0 ±0.0,
respectively.[50]
Isolated compound 2-acetylfuro-1, 4-naphthoquinone
showed the zone of inhibition 6.0 ± 0.0 mm for P. aeruginosa
and S. aureus. Zone of inhibition of p-coumaric acid was
found to be 6.0 ± 0.0 mm for E. coli, P. aeruginosa, and
S. aureus while 7.0 ± 0.0 mm for S. typhi at the concentration
of 0.452 mg/mL. Caffeic acid showed sensitivity only against
E. coli with a zone of inhibition 6.0 ± 0.0 mm. Isolated
compound 2-(4-hydroxyphenyl) ethyl ester showed zone
of inhibition 6.0 ± 0.0 mm for E. coli and P. aeruginosa.
Kigelinol showed antibacterial activity against E. coli and
S. aureus with zone of inhibition 6.0 ± 0.0 mm and 8.0 ±
0.0 mm, respectively. β-friedelinol showed the zone of
inhibition against P. aeruginosa (6.0 ± 0.0 mm) and S.
aureus (6.0 ± 0.0 mm) at the concentration of 1.7575 mg/mL.
Pomolic acid was found active only for P. aeruginosa with
zone of inhibition 7.0 ± 0.0 mm at the concentration of
1.80 mg/mL. Kojic acid gives zone of inhibition for all
bacterial strain E. coli (6.0 ± 0.0 mm), P. aeruginosa (8.0 ±
0.0 mm), S. typhi (6.0 ± 0.0 mm), and S. aureus (11.0 ± 0.0)
at the concentration of 1.744 mg/mL. Minimum inhibitory
concentration (MIC) value of p-coumaric acid was found
>0.83 ± 0.0 mg/mLfor E. coli, P. aeruginosa, and S. aureus,
whereas 0.41 ± 000 mg/mL for S. typhi.[51]
The aqueous, methanol, and chloroform extracts of K. africana
bark were tested for antibacterial activity against E. coli,
Enterobacter aerogens, Klebsiella pneumoniae, S. typhi,
Proteus vulgaris, P. aeruginosa (Gram-negatives), S. aureus,
and Bacillus cereus (Gram-positives) using disc diffusion
method. Streptomycin (10 mg/disc) was used as standard
drug. The ethanol and aqueous extracts of K. africana bark
showed antibacterial activity with zone of inhibition 20 mm
and 17 mm.[52] It has been found that organic extracts showed
greater activity as compared to aqueous extract.[53]
Ethanol extract of the fruit of K. africana presented a higher
activity than the aqueous extract with zone of inhibition
17 mm and 20 mm, respectively. Kirby–Bauer disc diffusion
method was used for the evaluation of antibacterial study. The
highest activity was exhibited against S. typhi and P. vulgaris,
whereas moderate activity was found against E. coli,
S. aureus, and B. cereus. Less activity was observed against
the remaining strains, namely, E. aerogens, K. pneumoniae,
and P. aeruginosa.[54]
Methanol extracts of the fruits and roots of K. africana
showed a significant inhibitory effect against Gram-
positive bacteria tested but found nonsignificant against
the Gram-negative bacteria. Streptomycin sulfate was
used as the standard antibacterial agent and showed zone
of inhibition 18–26 mm at the concentration of 1 mg/
mL against the Gram-positive organisms. It was observed
that isolated compounds from the root of K. africana,
sesamin, 3-(2-hydroxy-ethyl)-5-(2-hydroxypropyl) dihydro-
furan-2 (3H)-one, 2-acethylnaphtho (2,3-b) furan-4,9-
quinone, 2-(1-hydroxyethyl)-naphtho (2,3-b) furan-4,9-
dione, 4-hydroxycinnamic acid, and ferulic acid were
responsible for antibacterial and antifungal activity.[55]
Alkaloids showed promising activity against the bacteria
Helicobacter pylori.[56]
Antifungal Activity
Antifungal activity of methanol extracts of leaves and stem
bark of K. africana was performed against Candida albicans
using disk diffusion method. Chloramphenicol (1 mg/mL)
and clotrimazole (1 mg/mL) were used as standard drugs.
Zones of inhibition of methanol extract of leaves at the dose
of 10 mg/mL, 20 mg/mL, and 50 mg/mL were found to be
15.50 ± 0.50, 18.50 ± 0.55, and 23.35 ± 0.45 mm, respectively.
Methanol extract of K. africana stem bark showed zone of
inhibition 12.55 ± 0.55 mm, 15.50 ± 0.50 mm, and 18.5 ±
Singh, et al.: Pharmacology of Kigelia africana
International Journal of Green PharmacyVol 11 • Special Issue 2018 | S27
0.25 mm at the concentration of 10 mg/mL, 20 mg/mL,
and 50 mg/mL, respectively. Zone of inhibition of standard
drug clotrimazole was found 25.50 ± 0.50 mm. MIC value
of leaves extract against C. albicans was found 2.5 mg/mL
while clotrimazole showed MIC value 0.025 mg/mL.[57] The
chloroform extract of K. africana stem bark showed the
highest antifungal activity (MIC value 0.625–1.25 mg/mL)
as compared to the petroleum ether and methanol extract of
K. africana stem bark against the fungal strains Cryptococcus
neoformans, Candida tropicalis, Trychophyton rubrum,
Microsporum furfure, and Epidermophyton floccosum.[58]
Aqueous, methanol, and ethyl acetate extracts of the fruits of
this plant exhibited a broad spectrum of antifungal activity.
Antifungal activity was performed by modified disc diffusion
method using ampicillin (2 µg) and nystatin (100 µg) as
standard drugs. Fungi Aspergillus niger, C. albicans, and
Penicillium chrysogenum used as test microorganism.
Methanol, water, and ethyl acetate extracts inhibited the
growth of fungi tested (75%). Only P. crysogenum was found
resistant to all these extracts. Methanol extract showed the
strongest inhibition to the growth of fungi A. niger, C. albicans,
and P. chrysogenum with the MIC value of 1238, 841.2, and
989.7 µg/mL, respectively. MIC value of aqueous extract for
fungi A. niger, C. albicans, and P. chrysogenum was found
to be are 2487, 2060, and 2768 µg/mL, respectively, while
MIC value of ethyl acetate was 1463, 1278, and 1744 µg/
mL for the fungi A. niger, C. albicans, and P. chrysogenum,
respectively.[59] The methanol extract of the fruit of K.
africana was found to be active against C. neoformans with
minimum fungicidal concentration >1 g/mL.[60]
Nematicidal Activity
Isovitexin, isolated from K. africana, was studied against
the Meloidogyne incognita (a cotton root-knot nematode)
and it also produced a significant nematocidal mortality rate
(39.76%) compared against the control (2.18%), M. incognita
eggs extracted from Solanum melongena L. roots used as test
organism oxamyl served as control. Tolaside isolated from the
plant found more active than the standard compound oxamyl
at 30 min of exposure to the M. incognita with a percentage
mortality of 29.43%, whereas standard drug oxamyl showed
20.22% mortality. The crude methanolic extract of K. africana
showed only a few hatches. The lowest concentration (25%)
allowed some hatching, while the higher doses (50 and 75%)
completely inhibited the hatching of eggs.[61,62]
Antiamebic Activity
Butanol extract of the stem bark of K. africana exhibited
antiamebic activity (in vitro) against HK-9 strain of
Entamoeba histolytica by microdilution method using
metronidazole as standard drug. Verminoside isolated from
stem bark of K. africana have 2-fold antiamebic activities
than standard drug metronidazole while antiamebic activity
of specioside was found comparable with metronidazole.[63]
Minecoside and verminiside isolated from the butanol extract
of stem bark of K. africana also possess antiamebic activity.[64]
Antiviral Activity
Antiviral activity of leaves extract of plant was performed
against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. Extract of the plant
showed a weak inhibitory effect (11.13% and 33.07%
inhibition at the dose of 50 µg/mL and 100 µg/mL,
respectively). Methanol extract of fruits of the plant showed
13.20% inhibition of reverse transcriptase at the dose
100 µg/mL while found inactive at the dose of 50 µg/mL.
Methanol extract of the fruits was tested against various viral
strains showed a weak activity against vesicular stomatitis
virus while no any effect against herpes simplex virus Type 1,
Coxsackie B2, and Semliki forest virus A7.[65]
Antitrypanosomal Activity
In vitro antitrypanosomal activity was performed for
the compounds (isopinnatal, kigelinol, isokigelinol, and
2-(1-hydroxyethyl)-naphtho-(2,3-b)-furan-4,9-quinone)
isolated from the dichlomethane extracts of stem and root,
exhibited antitrypanosomal activity against Trypanosoma
brucei. Pentamidine was used as standard drugs.[66]
Antimalarial Activity
In vitro antiplasmodial activity of hexane and ethyl acetate
fraction of methylene chloride/methanol (1:1) extract of
stem bark and isolated compounds was performed using W-2
(MRA-157), CAM10, and SHF4 strains. Ethyl acetate fraction
showed a significant plasmodial growth inhibitory activity
(IC50 value 11.15 µg/mL, 4.74 µg/mL, and 3.91 µg/mL for
W-2, CAM10, and SHF4 strains, respectively), whereas
n-hexane fraction showed a weak activity against W-2 (IC50
value 73.78 µg/mL) and SHF4 (IC50 value 21.85 µg/mL).
Specicoside isolated from ethyl acetate fraction showed
highest activity against W-2 (IC50 value 1.54 µg/mL)
followed by 2β,3β,19α-trihy-droxy-urs-12-en-28-oic acid and
atranorin isolated from n-hexane fraction with IC50 value
1.60 µg/mL and 4.41 µg/mL, respectively. p-Hydroxycinnamic
acid isolated from ethyl acetate fraction showed the least
activity against W-2 strain with IC50 value 53.84 µg/mL.
Chloroquine phosphate and ethyl acetate fraction showed
antiplasmodial activity against CAM10 strain with IC50 value
0.13 ± 0.02 and 4.74 ± 1.18 µg/mL while the IC50 value of
chloroquine phosphate, n-hexane, and ethyl acetate fraction
against SHF4 was found to be 0.10 ± 0.01, 21.85 ± 0.12, and
3.91 ± 0.98 µg/mL, respectively.
Isolated compounds atranorin, 2β,3β,19α-trihy-droxy-
urs-12-en-28-oic acid, specicoside, p-hydroxycinnamic
Singh, et al.: Pharmacology of Kigelia africana
International Journal of Green PharmacyVol 11 • Special Issue 2018 | S28
acid, and chloroquine phosphate (standard drug) showed
antiplasmodium activity against CAM 10 strain with
IC50 value 2.81 ± 1.07, 2.17 ± 0.55, 2.34 ± 1.15, 7.13 ±
3.35, and 0.25 ± 0.04 µg/mL, respectively.[67] Kigelinol,
isokigelinol, isopinnatal, and 2-(1-hydroxyethyl) naphtha
(2, 3-b) furan-4,9-dione isolated from the roots of plants
showed effective antimalarial activity. Lapachol isolated
from the roots and wood of plant shows antimalarial
activity. Another compound, 2-(1-hydroxyethyl)naphtho
[2,3-b]furan-4,9-quinone obtained from the root bark of
K. africana also shows an antimalarial activity against drug-
resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum.[68] Antimalarial
activity of pinnatal was investigated against P. falciparum,
and ECV-304 cell line displayed high inhibitory activity
with IC50 value 2.2 ± 0.3 µg/mL.[69] Both the aqueous and
organic extract of K. africana leaves show antimalarial
activity against P. falciparum parasite strains, K39 and
V1/S with an IC50 value 53.2 ± 9.8 and 42.2 ± 12.2 µg/mL,
respectively.[70]
Antidiarrheal Activity
Antidiarrheal activity of methanol roots extract of
K. africana was performed in castor oil-induced diarrhea in
rats using loperamide (4 mg/kg) as standard drug. Methanol
extract of the roots of plant demonstrated a dose-dependent
antidiarrheal effect which was accessed by measuring the
incidence of feces, prevention of loose feces, production, and
delaying the onset of diarrhea. Methanol extract of roots at
the dose of 500 and 1000 mg/kg body weight significantly
reduced the frequency of diarrheal feces and the spontaneous
propulsive movement of isolated jejunum (in vitro). Extract
at the dose of 500 mg/kg prolonged of the onset of diarrhea
(P > 0.05), reduced the frequency of stooling and inhibited
loose stool production. At a higher dose (1000 mg/kg), it
produced greater effects, revealing that the extract produces
dose-dependent antidiarrhea activity.[71] Aqueous extract of
roots of K. africana also possesses antidiarrheal activity.[72]
Anticancer Activity
Aqueous, ethanol, and dichloromethane extracts of the stem
bark and fruits of K. africana were studied for anticancer
activity against four melanoma cell lines and a renal cell
carcinoma line (Caki-2) using (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-
2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) and
sulforhodamine B assays. Lapachol isolated from these
extracts found effective in the treatment of solar keratosis and
Kaposi sarcoma (an HIV-related skin ailment).[73] Lapachol
shows cytotoxicity against Artemia salina in the brine shrimp
bioassay, indicating antitumor potential.[74] It was reported
that the phytoconstituents norviburtinal and isopinnatal
found active against melanoma cell lines.[34]
Seed oil of K. africana showed a significant antiproliferative
effect against human colon adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) and
human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) cells. The seed oil
of K. africana suppressed cell growth of both HEK-293
and Caco-2 in a dose-dependent manner.[75] Verminoside
(an iridoid derivative) and verbascoside (a phenylethanoid
compound) were reported for their genotoxic tendencies.[76]
ACTIVITY ON CENTRAL NERVOUS
SYSTEM (CNS)
Ethanol extract of stem bark of K. africana exhibited CNS
stimulant activity at the dose of 400 mg/kg body weight in
barbiturate-induced sleeping time and the rotarod bar test.
The difference in sleeping time was found significant in
dose-dependent manner. The effect of extract of stem bark
was also compared with standard drug caffeine and observed
that extract of stem bark produces shorter duration of sleeping
time as compared to caffeine (P < 0.05) indicating better
stimulant properties. The extract of stem bark of plant had no
any sedative effect as the animals maintained their balance
during entire period of the experiment in rotarod test.[77]
APHRODISIAC EFFECT
Aqueous extract of fruits reported to have fertility enhancing
effect in rats. It improves the sperm quality of African catfish
(Clarias gariepinus) and enhanced weight of testes.[78]
In vitro studies using extracts of the K. africana fruits in
adult male Sprague - Dawley rats for 28 days significantly
increased (P < 0.001) the sperm count of rats and sperm
motility above 70%.[79] Stem bark of K. africana also shows
strong aphrodisiac properties.[78] Saponin present in the plant
enhances the aphrodisiac properties due to their stimulatory
effect on androgen production.[80]
WOUND-HEALING ACTIVITY
Leaves of K. africana showed more potent activity in excision
wound model and showed statistically significant influences
(P < 0.05) on wound closure from 7th to 15th day after
treatment while the methanol extract of stem bark exhibited
similar effects on wound healing but from 10th to 18th day
after treatment. Verbascoside isolated from the plant showed
wound healing as well as antinociceptive properties.[81]
Aqueous extract of stem bark showed wound-healing activity
at the dose of 250 and 500 mg/kg.[82]
ANTIOXIDANT PROPERTIES
In vitro antioxidant activity of different extract of the roots of
K. africana was measured by 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl
assay using α-tocopherol as standard antioxidant.[83] Ethyl
acetate extract of K. africana roots showed a higher antioxidant
Singh, et al.: Pharmacology of Kigelia africana
International Journal of Green PharmacyVol 11 • Special Issue 2018 | S29
value and total antioxidant activity peaked at 0.25 mg/mL
and declined at higher concentration. Hexane extract of the
roots of K. africana showed an increase in total antioxidant
activity as concentration increases in dose-dependent manner.
Methanol root extract of plant showed the highest activity at
0.2 mg/mL.[84] The IC50 values of the methanol extracts of
leaves and stem bark extract of plant were found to be 56.9
and 13.7 µg/mL, respectively, in MTT assay.[57]
CONCLUSION
K. africana is important medicinal plant which has been
used traditionally for the treatment of various diseases.
Approximately 149 compounds have been isolated from
K. africana belong to iridoids, naphthoquinones, terpenes,
terpenoids, limonoids, steroids, coumarins, flavonoids, and
phenolics category which have a wide range of biological
activities. Several experiments of extracts and isolated
compounds of plant provide meaningful justification of their
use. Further, clinical study of isolated compounds may be
conducted to get potential candidates for the treatment of
diabetes, cancer, malaria, diarrhea, liver disorders, etc. Thus,
K. africana is the plant of choice for future research purposes,
and will surely attract the attention of research scholars in the
fields of pharmacology, drug discovery, and phytochemistry.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Authors are thankful to the librarian, Rajiv Gandhi South
Campus, Banaras Hindu University, for providing facility of
literature survey.
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Source of Support: Nil. Conflict of Interest: None declared.
... The traditional uses of K. africana in different African communities, regions and countries, together with the plant part used, are summarized in Table 1. [3,6,9,11,20,21] Roasted seeds Pneumonia, fungal infections, eczema, malaria, diabetes and waist pain [6,22] Stem and root bark Ulcers, pneumonia and toothache [23] South Africa and Zimbabwe Fruits Crude fruit creams for freckles [24] South Africa and Ethiopia Hot root macerate Gynecological complaints, constipation and tapeworm infections [6] ...
... The traditional uses of K. africana in different African communities, regions and countries, together with the plant part used, are summarized in Table 1. [3,6,9,11,20,21] Roasted seeds Pneumonia, fungal infections, eczema, malaria, diabetes and waist pain [6,22] Stem and root bark Ulcers, pneumonia and toothache [23] South Africa and Zimbabwe Fruits Crude fruit creams for freckles [24] South Africa and Ethiopia Hot root macerate Gynecological complaints, constipation and tapeworm infections [6] ...
... The traditional uses of K. africana in different African communities, regions and countries, together with the plant part used, are summarized in Table 1. [3,6,9,11,20,21] Roasted seeds Pneumonia, fungal infections, eczema, malaria, diabetes and waist pain [6,22] Stem and root bark Ulcers, pneumonia and toothache [23] South Africa and Zimbabwe Fruits Crude fruit creams for freckles [24] South Africa and Ethiopia Hot root macerate Gynecological complaints, constipation and tapeworm infections [6] ...
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... Moreover, diabetes treatment was stated through the pharmacological characteristics of extracts of parts of K. africana as well as the trace element and the chemical composition of this species extracts have recently been documented by Fagbohun et al. [14][15][16][17]. Singh et al. [18] also reported the organs of K. africana in treating skin diseases and other pathologies. In Zimbabwe, bark of the species is used to relieve toothache [19]. ...
... This finding suggests the great importance of K. africana in the local populations' life. K. africana is used in African folk medicine and also in Indian traditional medicine, showing convergence in the uses of plant parts and diseases treated with it [18,19,32]. This study focused only on knowledge of K. africana held by the herbal medicine traders; there is a need to conduct other investigations concerning the species use profile from herbal medicine consumers and traditional healers belonging to various ethnic groups throughout the country. ...
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