Additional African Botanicals We Offer

Natural remedies for excessive sugar consumption, inflammations and anxiety

Glucoleve™ (Dioscorea dumetorum)

glucoleveSUPPORTS HEALTHY BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE

DIABETES – PATHOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Diabetes mellitus, a metabolic disorder characterized by impaired carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism resulting in high blood sugar levels, presently affects more than 150 million worldwide. Attributed to the lack or dysfunction of the hormone insulin, which is produced by specialized beta cells in the islets of langerhans in the pancreas, diabetes has become the leading cause for the development of related disorders such as kidney disease, blindness, cardiovascular disease, impotence and gangrene. Symptoms of diabetes include increased frequency of urination, increased and often extreme thirst, increased appetite, weight loss, irritability, and fatigue.

There are two types of diabetes, Type I and Type II. Type I diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood and involves such a severe depletion of insulin that it must be taken by injection everyday. Type II diabetes is usually diagnosed in adulthood, and most often can be managed with diet and other oral medication rather then insulin injections.

PHYSIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS

The ability to convert glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver and reconversion to glucose for energy usage is impaired in diabetes. Large amounts of sugar accumulate in the blood and spill over into the urine.

THE CONTROL OF DIABETES IN AFRICAN MEDICINE

The recognition of diabetes as a disease was a fairly recent development among certain tribes in Africa. In some communities there is no vernacular name for diabetes and treatment is practically unknown. The few native doctors that treat this disease sometimes rely on some evidence of glucosuria for the diagnosis, such as whether or not ants gather at a spot where the individual passed urine. They can manage both juvenile and maturity-onset diabetes. They have proved remarkably competent in handling insulin-dependent diabetes and cases with severe ketoses. Certain African medicinal plants have been experimentally verified as useful in the treatment of diabetes. One plant is Dioscorea dumetorum, marketed under the name “Glucoleve™.” The plant grows primarily in the woodland forest of west Africa. It is also called traveler’s yam, cluster yam, or bitter yam. The medicinally active part of the plant are its roots (tubers). It came to be known as “destroyer of sugar” because it was observed that chewing the roots suppressed the taste of sugar. It was also observed that regular use of the root reduced glycosuria, or the appearance of carbohydrates in urine.

Trials using an extract of dried Dioscorea root indicated that it lowers blood sugar levels. Although the precise mechanism of action remains to be fully determined, it was observed that damaged beta cells of the islets of langerhans produced and secreted insulin after administering a standardized extract of Dioscoretine, the hypoglycemic agent isolated from Dioscorea dumetorum tubers.

The results of these invesigations have established the hypoglycemic activity of Dioscorea dumetorum in individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

CONCLUSION

By virtue of its hypoglycemic activity, Glucoleve™ has become an important therapeutic aid in supporting healthy blood sugar balance. Before using this product, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

REFERENCES

  1. Undie AS, Akubue. Pharmacological evaluation of Dioscorea dumetorum tuber used in traditional antidiabetic therapy. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1986 Feb.,15(2):133-44.
  2. Iwu MM, et.al. Dioscoretine: the hypoglycemic principle of Dioscorea dumetorum. Planta Medica 1990 Feb; 56(1):119-20.
  3. Iwu MM, et. al. Hypoglycaemic activity of dioscoretine from the tubers of Dioscorea dumetorum in normal and alloxan diabetic rabbits. Planta Medica 1990 Jun; 56(3):264-7.
  4. Undie A.S., Akubue, P.I. (1986) J. Ethnopharmacology 15, 133-144.
  5. Iwu M.M. (1982) Traditional Igbo Medicine, pp. 104, Institute of African Studies, Univ. of Nigeria, Nsukka.
  6. Akubue P.I. and Mittal, G.C. (1982) Clinical evaluation of a traditional herbal practice in Nigeria. J. Ethnopharmacology 6, 355-359.
  7. Alves A.C. Prista A.N. and De Soussa A.F. (1964) Dioscoreaceae from the Portuguese overseas provinces II. Dioscorea dumetorum from Angola. Chemical Abstracts 61, 15035d.
  8. McCarty M.F. Toward practical prevention of type 2 diabetes. Med Hypotheses. 2000 May; 54(5):786-93.
  9. Anderson RA, Cheng N, et. al. Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes. 1997 Nov; 46(11):1786-91.
  10. Evans G.W. Chromium picolinate is an efficacious and safe supplement. Int. Journal Sport Nutr. 1993 Mar; 3(1):117-22.
  11. Goldfine A.B., Patti M.E. et. al. Metabolic effects of Vanadyl sulfate in humans with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: in vivo and in vitro studies. Metabolism. 2000 Mar; 49(3):400-10.

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Indungulu – African Ginger (Siphonochilus aethiopicus)

gingerMAINTAINS A HEALTHY INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE

HISTORY OF TRADITIONAL USE OF GINGER
Ginger and her cousin Turmeric are proud members of the zingiberaceae family and grow in sub-tropical, volcanic soils in the southern hemispheres. The plant is thought to have originated in tropical Asia and is widely cultivated in the Caribbean and Africa. All cultures report similar uses of this plant. It has been used as a favorite “diffusive” circulatory stimulant and heating agent; calming nausea, removing phlegm or catarrh in a wet cough. It has also been used to support a healthy inflammatory response. Ginger is also widely used for motion sickness. Ginger is one of the most widely consumed aromatic spices on the planet.

MECHANISM OF THERAPUTIC ACTION
Ginger contains hundreds of chemical components. The highest percentages of chemicals are the volatile oils (camphene, phellandrene, zingiberine, zingiberol, eucalyptol, citral, borneol, and linalol) and the phenolic compounds (gingerol, zingerone, shogaols) and resins. Ginger has been shown in numerous clinical trials to work as well as or better than Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medicines without the adverse events reported such as gastric mucosal irritation and ulceration. It is thought that Ginger promotes normal production of Thromboxanes and Leukotrienes which would explain its action on the immune system as well as its ability to promote healthy circulation and inflammatory responses.

SIDE EFFECTS AND TOXICITY
There have been no reports of significant side effects or severe toxic reactions following the consumption of ginger in usual therapeutic doses. This fact and the use of ginger for thousands of years by many different cultures attest to its safety. Ginger has been approved by the German Commission E and is on the FDA’s GRAS list

HISTORY OF GINGER IN SOUTH AFRICA
Siphonochilus aethiopicus is found in forest of KwaZulu/Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Province and Swaziland. This rare African plant of the Ginger family is regarded as Africa’s natural anti-inflammatory, and it has many other uses. The Zulu know this plant as “Indungulu.” They use the rhizome in a cough and cold remedy, in tonics, and in addressing hysteria. Historically the plant is taken in winter to treat fevers. Indungulu is also used as a malarial remedy and for the relief of menstrual pain, for which purpose the rhizomes were chewed. Elsewhere in the region, rhizomes have been employed in the treatment of rheumatism, toothache, neuralgia, and to decongest nasal passages.

PHARMACOLOGY OF AFRICAN GINGER
Indungulu (S. aethiopicus) has been used in South Africa for centuries for safely addressing headache, pain and inflammation. The plant belongs to the Ginger family, but has a completely different phytochemical profile to other commercially available ginger. In a recent pharmacological study, researchers tested a number of medicinal plants used in the treatment of pain and inflammation. In an assay which considered the ability of materials to disrupt the inflammation process, extracts of S. aethiopicus were found to exhibit higher inhibitory activity than indomethacin, a standard pharmaceutical drug used as an anti-inflammatory.

In another study, plants used by Southern African traditional healers for the treatment of menstrual pains were screened for prostaglandin-synthesis inhibitors and the ability to reduce isolated uterine muscle contraction using the cyclooxygenase and in vitro uterine bioassays respectively. Ten plants used by traditional healers for menstrual pains were assayed for cyclooxygenase inhibitory activity. Several plant extracts exhibited high inhibitory activity in the assay. The highest activity was obtained with an ethanolic extract of Siphonochilus aethiopicus. The study demonstrated that African Ginger (S. aethiopious) has among the highest cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitory activity of the medicinal plants tested.

WHY USE INDUNGULU – AFRICAN GINGER
Using several processing techniques, the natural oil of S. aethiopicus is extracted for use in Indungulu. This potent ginger oil contains 20% total pungent compounds, calculated as 6-Gingerol and 6-Shogaol, making Indungulu the most potent ginger extract available. The ginger oil in Indungulu contains a level of total pungent compounds that cannot be equaled by other forms of ginger available on the market.

REFERENCES

  1. Lindsey K., et. al. Screening of plants used by Southern African traditional healers in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea for prostaglandin-synthesis inhibitors and uterine relaxing activity. J. Ethnopharmacology 1999; 64: 9-14.
  2. Levy A., et. Al. 6-Shogaol reduced chronic inflammatory response in the knees of rats treated with complete Freund’s adjuvant. BMC Pharmacology 2006, 6:12.
  3. Holtmann S, Clarke A. The anti-motion sickness mechanisms of ginger. Acta Otolaryngol. 1989;108:168-174.
  4. Yamahara J, Huang Q, et al. Gastrointestinal motility enhancing effects of ginger and its active constituents. Chem Pharm Bull. 1990;38(2):430-431.
  5. Langner E, Greifenberg S, Gruenwald J. Ginger: history and use. Adv Ther. 1998;15:25-44.
  6. Altman R. D. and Marcussen K. C. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2001;44(11):2531-2538.
  7. Arfeen Z., Owen H., et. al. A double-blind randomized controlled trial of ginger for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Anaesth. Intensive Care 1995;23(4):449-452.
  8. Jewell D. and Young G. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2002;(1):CD000145.

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Anxileve™ (Khaya senegalensis)

anxileveSUPPORTS RELAXATION DURING TIMES OF ANXIETY

ANXIETY
More than sixty-five million Americans suffer annually from anxiety and one out of every two people will experience some form of mild to moderate anxiety for at least a two week period during their lifetime. More people suffer from anxiety than any other mental health problem, yet less than 25 percent receive adequate help. Anxiety disorders include phobia and obsessive/compulsive behavior, as well as panic disorder. Until recently, the only choice for many was to suffer in silence or take synthetic, tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Anxiety is an exaggerated stress response stemming from the brain’s alarm system.

THE USE OF KHAYA SENEGALENSIS IN AFRICAN MEDICINE
Khaya senegalensis is used extensively in west Africa as a bitter tonic and as a fever remedy. The species is found in the Savannah woodland forests from west Africa to the Sudan.

Khaya senegalensis bark contains a bitter principle called “calicedrin,” which consists of a mixture of triterpenes with a lactone or epoxide function and a furan ring. The bark also contains 2,6-dimethoxy-p-benzoquinone, B-sitosterol, and its B-D-glucoside, catechin, tannins, saponins, and polysaccharides. The coumarins scopoletin, aesculetin, and scoparone have been shown to be constitutes of the bark.

PHARMACOLOGICAL STUDIES
The crude aqueous alcohol extracts of the stem bark possess sedative and reduced locomotor activity, as well as CNS depressant activity in mice. The coumarins found in the bark have been associated with analgesic, antipyretic, and moderate anticonvulsant action.

CONCLUSION
Because of its sedative properties, Khaya senegalensis may play a significant role in supporting relaxation during times of anxiety. Before using this product, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

REFERENCES

  1. Govindachari T.R. Tetranortiterpenoids from Khaya senegalensis. Photochemistry, April 1998, Vol: 47, Issue:7, pp. 1423-25.
  2. Olmo L.R.V., et. al. Rearranged limonoids from Khaya senegalensis. Photochemistry, June 1996, Vol: 42, Issue:3, pp. 831-37.
  3. Nakatani M, et. al. Three new modified limonoids from Khaya senegalensis. J Nat Prod. 2002 Aug;65(8):1219-21.

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