Scientists identify 25 herbs for treatment of pile

Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are a common ailment among adults. More than half of men and women aged 50 years and older will develop haemorrhoids symptoms during their lifetime. These are abnormally swollen tissues that occur inside or around the anus and may bleed, itch, or be painful.....CONTINUE READING

The predisposing factors for haemorrhoids include heredity, age, anal sex, prolonged labour during pregnancy and the intake of a stony diet, which puts extra pressure on the internal lining of the small intestine.

Treatment of haemorrhoids by traditional medical practitioners using various plant species has been a long-standing practice in various parts of Nigeria. In this modern era, the importance of knowledge of indigenous remedial medicinal plants in curing piles has not been fully acknowledged by the rural, folkloric background of Nigerian society.

Researchers at the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), in an attempt to establish indigenous remedial medicinal plants for piles, listed 25 different medicinal plants believed to be effective treatments for piles in eight villages in Akinyele Local Government Area, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The study documented the indigenous knowledge and curative plants used in the treatment of piles in this local government area in Ibadan and it relied on the use of questionnaires to obtain information from local herb sellers, hunters, herbalists and elderly people.

It was in the journal, Annual Research & Review in Biology.

This finding shows that the most represented life forms of medicinal plants used in the treatment of piles in the study area were trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers.

The plants said to be used in the treatment of piles include Momordica charantia, Jatropha gossypifolia, Khaya grandifoliola, Pteleopsis suberosa, garlic, ginger, saint leaf, Imperata cylindrical, dried maize cob, Angylocalyx oligophyllus, neem, bitter leaf, alligator pepper, Lophira lanceolata, Gongronema latifolium and Triplochiton scleroxylon.

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Momordica charantia is called `African cucumber, bitter cucumber, or Ejinrin-were (Yoruba); Jatropha gossypifolia is called Red Physic Nut or Lapalapa pupa (Yoruba); Khaya grandifoliola is called African mahogany or Oganwo (Yoruba); Piper guineense is called African black pepper, bush pepper, or Iyere (Yoruba); and Triplochiton scleroxylon is called Obeche or Arere (Yoruba).

Pteleopsis suberosa is called Rattan palms or Okuku (Yoruba); Bridelia micrantha is called Assas Ira (Yoruba); Acacia nilotica is called Bonni Booni (Yoruba); Imperata cylindrica is called Spear grass or Irekeobo (Yoruba); Angylocalyx oligophyllus is called Oko-aja (Yoruba); and Aristolochia is called Dutchman’s pipe or Akogun (Yoruba).

Picralima nitida is called Abere (Yoruba); Terminalia glaucescens is called Idi-apata (Yoruba); Anogeissus leiocarpus is called African birch, or chewstick tree; Cassia fistula is called Golden tree or Aidantooro (Yoruba); Gongronema latifolium is called Swallow apple or Utazi; and Lophira lanceolata is called Dwarf red, Ironwood, or Paran pupa (Yoruba).

Apart from plant parts, insects such as centipedes and other non-plant materials like water, hot drinks, local gin, Schnapps, ‘Kafura’, and Waji’s cloth were also used in the preparation of the recipe. Other ingredients include native soap, gin/local gin/schnapps, black thread, fermented corn extract, salt, potash, waji’s cloth, white thread, and sugar.

Thirteen different herbal medicines (recipes) were documented in the study area. This includes: squeezed fresh leaves of Momordica charantia, Jatropha gossypifolia, and scent leaf in water, filtered and taken two times daily; the bark of Khaya grandifoliola, Ancistrophyllum secundiflorum, and Bridelia micrantha cut into pieces and put inside plastic bottles that contain water and kafura;

Other recipes are: cut all the bark of Khaya grandifoliola, Pteleopsis suberosa, Bridelia micrantha, Acacia nilotica, Picralima nitida, garlic, Aristolochia repens, and ginger into pieces and put inside plastic bottles; add clean water and kafura to them and cover; and boil the tender leaves of Senna alata (asunwon-oyinbo) with a small quantity of water. Use the water to prepare amala that you can finish at once.

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Collect a small quantity of the root of Spear grass, dry it, and grind it to fine particles with the seed of Piper guineense (Iyere). Put it in palm kernel oil (adi). Also, the bark of Cassia fistula, Aristolochia ringens, and ‘Kafura’ is soaked in a bottle containing water for at least three hours.

Squeeze the leaves of Angylocalyx oligophyllus with water. Also, fresh or dried bark of Aristolochia ringens, Khaya grandifoliola, Terminalia glaucescens, Anogeissus leiocarpus, fresh or dried vine of Gongronema latifolium, Lophira lanceolata, and dried seed of Picralima nitida are soaked in water with Kafura or soaked in hot drinks without Kafura.

Likewise, the roots of the neem tree with garlic and ‘kafura’ are soaked in water for six hours; squeeze fresh leaves of bitter leaf and fresh leaves of red jatropha (Jatropha gossypifolia) with water; and squeeze the leaves of Triplochiton scleroxylon with water.

The researchers, however, said further research should be carried out to confirm the efficacy of these medicinal plants and the recipe used in the treatment of piles.

Also, they called for domestication, enduring, and sustainable conservation efforts by the researchers, government and community to safeguard the loss of these medicinal plants, as well as the standardisation and precision of the dosage of the herbal medicine, including that for treating piles.