If you’ve ever tried the delicious slimy soup called ‘ewedu’ in Yoruba or ‘rama’ in Hausa, you know how slimy it is. Now, this slimy soup might inspire future treatment for threatened miscarriage and preterm labour.
Scientists in a study of Corchorus olitorius leaf, what is commonly called jute leaf, evaluated its effects on samples of womb muscles of albino rats and found it significantly decreased the amplitudes of its contractions.
This decrease in the amplitudes of contractions was in a dose-dependent manner such that the highest dose applied (666.67/ ìg/ml) achieved a 100 per cent inhibitory effect.
This study, which also considered the anti-inflammatory effects of jute leaf extract, furthermore said oxytocin-induced contractions were significantly inhibited by both salbutamol and jute leaf extract.
This 2019 online study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology involved Daniel Orieke, Obioma Christopher Ohaeri, Ifeoma Irene Ijeh, Solomon Nnah Ijioma, all from the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State.
In that study, neither death nor other acute toxicological symptoms were observed after seven days of administering up to 5000 mg/kg body weight of jute extract to experimental rats.
According to them, jute leaf extract could be a tocolytic agent. Tocolytic agents are used to maintain pregnancy and may help to prevent preterm labour.
This tocolytic effect of jute leaf extract was attributable to its alkaloids content. Alkaloids are known to exert reversible smooth muscle relaxant activities.
According to them, “If the results obtained in this study can be extrapolated to man, the Corchorus olitorius methanol leaf extract may be of value in the management on preterm labour and threatened abortion, diarrhoea and inflammations.”
The use of plants to facilitate birth or to protect the young embryo appears to be a common practice among traditional healers. Pregnant women in Nigeria use plant preparations to ease labour and enhance smooth child delivery, particularly among the Yoruba people. The rationale for this is not known and requires pharmacological validation.
In Ebonyi State, the leaf extract is reportedly used to manage menstrual disorders associated with excessive womb contractions during menses.
Orba and Nsukka people of Enugu State also use the extract from the plant to arrest threatened miscarriage. It is also used for the purpose of maintaining pregnancy and to prevent preterm labour.
Corchorus olitorius is reportedly used in ethnomedicine to arrest threatened miscarriage and other conditions associated with excessive womb contractions. The plant is also used as a folk remedy for aches and pains, dysentery, enteritis, fever, pectoral pains and tumuors.
The Philippine Department of Health, for instance, had advised an increased intake of jute leaf vegetable, to include banana as well, in order to build resistance against the threat of swine flu.
Jute is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants as well as other nutrients that help the body to fight diseases and maintain good health.
It is a good source of fibre, which makes it helpful in dealing with weight management and may also promote intestinal health by helping with bowel movement.
The green, leafy vegetable is rich in beta-carotene for good eyesight, iron for healthy red blood cells, calcium for strong bones and teeth, and vitamin C for smooth, clear skin, strong immune cells and fast wound-healing.
For the study, pieces of womb and intestine tissues were suspended separately in organ baths containing ideal physiological salt solutions bubbled with air and were tested for responses to standard drugs and jute leaf extract.
Previously, researchers had suggested that individuals that experience acid reflux or heartburn drink ewedu juice to reduce the stomach acid that sometimes finds its way back through the throat.
In a study, researchers tested the antacid properties of jute leaves (ewedu) in male albino rats with a gastric ulcer over a two-week period reduced the stomach acid production in a dose-dependent manner.
The 2015 study was entitled ‘Anti-Ulcerogenic and Gastric Antisecretory Effects of Corchorus olitorius Extract in Male Albino Rats’. It involved Bamidele V. Owoyele; W. Abdulmajeed; B. M. Adisa, O. O. Owolabi and Sabitiu A. Oyeleke, all from the University of Ilorin. It was in the Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants.
Also, in 2016, experts found that the water extracts of jute leaves (ewedu) and root has an antacid activity which supports the ethnomedicinal claims of the use of the plant in the management of acidity as well as an ulcer.
The study, which includes its pharmacological significance as an antacid, found that the extract of jute leaves and its root had 71.33 per cent antacid activity of a drug. It was in the 2016 edition of the International Journal of Pharmacy & Life Sciences.