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Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility - Health - Nairaland

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Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility by manenof: 8:29am On Oct 11, 2008
[url=http://guardiannewsngr.com/natural_health/article01//indexn2_html?pdate=091008&ptitle=Walnut as panacea for stress, infections, infertility]guardiannewsngr.com/natural_health/article01//indexn2_html?pdate=091008&ptitle=Walnut as panacea for stress, infections, infertility[/url]

SCIENTISTS have discovered how walnut trees respond to stress, cancer and heart condition by producing significant amounts of a chemical form of aspirin, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. They have also found that extracts of walnut tree are effective anti-microbial agents, could be used to boost sperm count, fertility, menstrual flow, treat uterine fibroids, and bring relieve in hiccups.

Botanically called Tetracarpidium conophorum or Plukenetia conophora, African walnut belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. In Nigeria, it is called Asala or Awusa in Yoruba; Ukpa in Ibo; and Okhue or Okwe in Edo.

For years, scientists have known that plants in a laboratory may produce methyl salicylate, which is a chemical form of acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin. But researchers had never before detected methyl salicylate in an ecosystem or verified that plants emit the chemical in significant quantities into the atmosphere.

The team of scientists reported its findings last week in the journal Biogeoscience. The research, was funded by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF), the sponsors of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The finding, by scientists at NCAR in Boulder, Colorado, United States, opens up new avenues of research into the behaviour of plants and their impacts on air quality, and also has the potential to give farmers an early warning signal about crops that are failing.

NCAR scientist Thomas Karl, who led the study said: "Unlike humans, who are advised to take aspirin as a fever suppressant, plants have the ability to produce their own mix of aspirin-like chemicals, triggering the formation of proteins that boost their biochemical defenses and reduce injury.

"Our measurements show that significant amounts of the chemical can be detected in the atmosphere as plants respond to drought, unseasonable temperatures, or other stresses."

According to the Medicinal Plants of Nigeria- South West Nigeria Volume 1 compiled and published by Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Victoria Island, Lagos, walnut seeds are used in the treatment of fibroid. The leaf juice is drunk to mitigate prolonged and /or constant hiccups. Seeds are chewed to improve sperm count in men. The leaf juice is used to improve fertility in women and also to regulate menstrual flow.

In southern Nigerian ethnomedicine, African walnut is used as a male fertility agent and the leaves are used for the treatment of dysentery and to improve fertility in males. The oil from the nut has found use in the formulation of wood varnish, stand oil, vulcanised oil for rubber and leather substitute. Most of the studies on the plant have been on the nutritive value of the seeds, which is a snack and delicacy.

According to The Useful Plants of Tropical West Africa by H. M. Burkill, the plant is a woody liane to over 30 metres long, of the bushy savanna. The leaves are considered a headache cure in Southern Nigeria, and have magical use to wash children to cause their mothers to conceive, the Igbo name meaning babies call babies. In Gabon, consumption of the seeds by husbands of wives already pregnant is believed to mitigate the risk of miscarriage. Nigerian material has been screened for alkaloids, a trace of which is recorded in the bark.

The fruit is a capsule six to 10 centimetres long by three to 11 centimetres wide containing sub-globular seeds two to 2.5 centimetres long with a thin brown shell resembling the temperate walnut, hence the English name.

The seed kernel is edible. Eaten raw they have a bitter flavour not unlike the kola nut and are considered to be tonic and aphrodisiac. More usually the kernels are roasted and eaten in the general diet, or added to cakes. The kernels are oil-bearing yielding 48 to 60 per cent of a light golden coloured oil with a taste resembling linseed oil.

Composition is linolenic acid 64 per cent, palmitic and stearic acids 15 per cent, oleic acid 11 per cent and linoleic acid 10 per cent. This is conophor oil, or in the paint and varnish trade awusa or n'gart. It is edible and could be used in food preparations. It is unsuitable for soap-manufacture, and being quick drying it is certainly usable in the paint industry provided there is a certain supply and the kernels are free from excessive free fatty acids. Fresh oil has an iodine value of 190 which is excellent for a drying oil, but the seeds do not store well and deterioration caused by enzymatic action needs to be prevented at the time of collection by heat-treatment.

The oil has medicinal use in Nigeria in massages. The cake left after expression of the oil contains 45 per cent protein. It has local uses for food and is obviously a good source of protein. It can safely be fed to stock. The plant, presumably the kernel, is a good source of vitamins.

Results of a Nigerian study have shown that Tetracarpidium conophorum has a high potential as an anti-microbial medicinal plant. It is reported to be useful in the folklore in the treatment of dysentery. This investigation therefore justifies its ethno-medical use, having displayed activities with the human pathogenic microorganisms that were used in this study.

Following the need for development of newer anti-microbial chemotherapeutic agents because there is increasing treatment failure rates of microbial infections due to drug-resistant antibiotics, the most active fraction in the current study, the ethyl acetate fraction of the leaf methanol extract, has a very high potential as a source for drug discovery for anti-microbial agents.

The study, 'anti-microbial potential of extracts and fractions of the African walnut - Tetracarpidium conophorum' was published in African Journal of Biotechnology by E. O. Ajaiyeoba and D. A. Fadare of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Extracts and fractions were tested against four clinical strains of two Gram positive, two Gram negative bacteria and two of fungi. They exhibited concentration-dependent anti-microbial properties. The extracts displayed higher activities to the Gram positive organisms.

Gram positive bacteria includes many well-known genera such as Bacillus, Listeria, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, and Clostridium.

Many species of Gram-negative bacteria are pathogenic, meaning they can cause disease in a host organism. The proteobacteria are a major group of Gram-negative bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and other Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas, Moraxella, Helicobacter, Stenotrophomonas, Bdellovibrio, acetic acid bacteria, Legionella and alpha-proteobacteria as Wolbachia and many others. Other notable groups of Gram-negative bacteria include the cyanobacteria, spirochaetes, green sulfur and green non-sulfur bacteria.

Medically relevant Gram-negative cocci include three organisms, which cause a sexually transmitted disease (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), a meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis), and respiratory symptoms (Moraxella catarrhalis).

Medically relevant Gram-negative bacilli include a multitude of species. Some of them primarily cause respiratory problems (Hemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, Pseudomonas aeruginosa), primarily urinary problems (Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Enterobacter cloacae, Serratia marcescens), and primarily gastrointestinal problems (Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhi).

Gram negative bacteria associated with nosocomial infections include Acinetobacter baumanii, which cause bacteremia, secondary meningitis, and ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care units of hospital establishments.

Preliminary phytochemical screening of the plant parts for secondary metabolites, showed the presence of saponins, alkaloids, tannins and anthraquinones in the plant samples. The concentration of these metabolites was higher in the leaves. Cardiac glycosides were not detected in leaf, stem bark, roots and kernel of T. conophorum. Percentage yields of extracts were determined after removal of solvents respectively.

The root extract displayed intrinsic antibacterial properties. Of the six microorganisms used, Staphylococus aureus was most sensitive to the root and stem bark extracts. Both extracts did not show any anti-fungal property in the current study. The leaf extract exhibited the highest activities with all the micro-organisms investigated. The leaf extract also showed anti-fungal properties, inhibiting the growth of the Aspergillus niger, a normally resistant mold, much more than the reference drug, tioconazole.

The kernel did not show any activity with the microorganisms used in this study. The hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate and methanol fractions of the leaf extracts displayed good anti-microbial activities, which were concentration-dependent. Pseudomomas aeruginosa and Candida albicans were most sensitive to the extracts. The most sensitive bacteria to the four fractions were Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The ethyl acetate fraction was the most active extract, while the hexane fraction showed least activity.

The fractions also inhibited the growth of the two fungi used in the study. The yeast, Candida albicans and the mold, Aspergilus niger, were inhibited even at a concentration of 10 mg/ml, comparable to tioconazole. In the antimicrobial analyses, gentamycin was included as reference antibacterial compound, tioconazole as the reference for anti-fungal. Methanol was included in the experiments as a negative control and it did not display any anti-microbial activity as shown in.

The edible part of the plant, the kernel did not show any anti-microbial property in the assay. However, T. comophorum is an economic plant and it is widely cultivated for production of the nuts, which are delicacies snack food.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important pathogen causing a wide range of acute and chronic infections. Candida albicans, a fungus, lives in the human mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Overgrowth results in candidiasis. Candidiasis is often observed in immunocompromised individuals such as Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)-positive patients. Candidiasis also may occur in the blood and in the genital tract. Candidiasis, also known as "thrush", is a common condition, which is usually easily cured in people who are not immuno-compromised.

Researchers have also shown that eating snack-sized quantities of walnuts could slow the growth of cancer. The study by Dr. Elaine Hardman of Marshall's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, near Huntington New York, United States, determined that mice that got part of their calories by eating walnuts had slower breast cancer growth, found that cancer in the walnut-fed group took twice as long to double in size as cancer in the control group.

The study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrition and Cancer, made the mice ate a diet in which 18.5 per cent of the daily calories - the equivalent of two servings for humans - came from walnuts.

Walnuts have at least three components that could account for their cancer-slowing effect. They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to slow cancer growth. They also include antioxidants and components called phytosterols, both of which have shown cancer-slowing effects in other studies.
Re: Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility by gagoil: 3:08pm On Aug 24, 2011
What states in Nigeria can we find these wonderful nuts??
Re: Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility by PPIS: 11:35am On Jan 14, 2012
So informative even though this nut is found in ifaki-ekiti nigeria.when as a child i loved this nut.i should re-visit that now with a refreshed perspective,hmm!
Re: Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility by Atonto: 10:43am On Aug 17, 2012
Where can we find it in nigeria?
Re: Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility by HsLBroker(m): 12:29am On Aug 19, 2012
where can one find this in Lagos or Ogun
Re: Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility by Ajaypompin(m): 2:02am On Jul 12, 2013
It is wonderful having this fruit in Nigeria.
Re: Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility by billyG(m): 1:17pm On Jul 12, 2014
I hav eaten those nuts decade back,i nearly vomited,so i stopped eating it,maybe it ate it raw,now knowin d charged benefit of this randy nuts i will start eaten it in quantum.
Re: Walnut As Panacea For Stress, Infections, Infertility by jbblues24(m): 2:16am On Jun 02
My children rates this camera angle very slick!! angry

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