Why ‘ugwu’ improves recovery from malaria in children —Experts

Often, mothers are worried that malaria leaves their children restless, tired or even with low blood levels. Studies have shown that excessive destruction of red blood cells during a bout of malaria and even during treatment causes mild to severe anaemia, a situation which makes recuperation from malaria even more difficult and stressful on the patient.

Now, experts have recommended intake of the water extract of ‘ugwu’ or fluted pumpkin during a bout of malaria to reduce the tiredness that occurs from low blood level due to mild to severe anaemia, a consequence of malaria. Low blood level due to malaria makes recuperation from malaria even more difficult and stressful on the individual.

Several studies carried out on Telfairia occidentalis, which is commonly known as fluted pumpkin or ‘ugwu’, have proven that a diet containing ‘ugwu’ extract can significantly improve blood levels by boosting the packed cell volume (PCV).

PCV is the volume percentage of red blood cells in the blood and the value depends on the number and size of red blood cells. An abnormally low PCV may be indicative of anaemia.

In a study to evaluate the effect of water extract of ‘ugwu’ leaf on PCV in rats with malaria-induced anaemia, researchers found that its leaf extract caused a 22 per cent increase in PCV under laboratory conditions.

This 2020 study, published in the South African Journal of Chemistry, involved Chris O. Ikese, Simon T. Ubwaa, Sunday O. Adoga, Steven I. Audu, Mathias I. Kuleve, Faith O. Okita and Amodu Okoh.

Thirty-five Winstar albino rats were used as animal models in this study. The rats were divided into seven groups, each group comprising of five rats. Groups 1, 2 and 3 served as the negative control, positive control and experimental group, respectively, while the other four groups served as dosage group.

At the onset of the study, the PCV of all groups were measured and recorded. All groups were then inoculated with Plasmodium berghei and the parasite was allowed to fully develop in the hosts before commencing measurement of their PCV again at intervals of 24 hours.

Two milligrammes per kilogramme body weight artesunate was dissolved in distilled water and administered to groups 2 and 3 followed by the administration of 200 mg/kg ‘ugwu’ extract only to the experimental group over a five-day period. The aqueous extract doses administered were 100, 200, 300, and 400 mg/kg to the groups, respectively. All groups were monitored closely and their PCVs determined.

While the PCV in the negative and positive control groups declined progressively from day one to five, that in the experimental group which had the plant extract increased progressively from day one to five in a dose-dependent fashion in the rats with malaria-induced anaemia.

The researchers said that the high level of iron in the extract is indicative of its potential ability to boost iron levels in the experimental subjects and hence red blood cell production in animal subjects with malaria-induced anaemia.

According to them, “The results of this study indicate that the aqueous extracts of the leaves of T. occidentalis may boost RBCs production during infection with Plasmodium. This suggests that the water extracts of the leaf possesses haematinic (blood-building) properties, which are potent in boosting and enhancing PCV of a rat with malaria-induced anaemia.”

Previously, researchers had stated that the incorporation of ‘ugwu’ in infant weaning foods had significant effects on iron status indices. Also, anaemic pregnant women served the mixture of ‘ugwu’ with milk and eggs, or even ‘ugwu’ extract sweetened with milk had experienced a significant rise in their average PCV.

In addition, the leaves extract of ‘ugwu’ is believed to have beneficial health effects and is used in tradomedical preparations.  The study suggests that ‘ugwu’ helps to stabilise normal and sickled red blood cell membrane, making it also beneficial for persons with sickle cell disease.


Court Threatens To Revoke Shehu Sani’s Bail
The Federal High Court, Abuja, Monday, said it would revoke the bail granted Senator Shehu Sani if he fails to appear in court on the next adjourned date for the trial of the two-count criminal charges preferred against him by the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission… Read Full Story

Buhari Appoints New Chief Personal Security Officer
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Aliyu Abubakar Musa, as his Chief Personal Security Officer (CPSO). He replaces Commissioner of Police (CP) Abdulkarim Dauda, who was recently redeployed… Read Full Story

APC: Buni-Led Caretaker Committee Promises True Reconciliation
As part of measure to make progress on its mandate in reconciling all factions in the ruling All Progressives Congress, the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led committee has promised to embark on genuine reconciliation of all party leaders and members ahead of the planned convention… Read Full Story

NITDA Can Finance Nigeria’s Annual Budget ―Reps Public Account
The House of Representatives says the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has the wherewithal to finance the country’s annual budget if given the necessary environment… Read Full Story

No Fee Is Charged For NIS Recruitment ― CG
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has warned applicants against patronising fake recruitment sites as no fee was charged for NIS recruitment. The Comptroller General, NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, gave the warning in a statement by the Service Public Relations Officer (SPEO), Mr Sunday James… Read Full Story

Inside Ibadan Slums Where Water Scarcity, Open Defecation Thwart Efforts At Ending COVID-19 Pandemic
Ibadan, Nigeria’s third most populous city, wears rusted zinc-roof like a royal hat. Weak bricks, cracked and patchy walls are strewn all about the outskirts of the city. The waft of open sewage soaks the air… Read Full Story

Buhari To Perform Virtual Flag-Off Of Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline Tuesday
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, conduct a virtual flag-off of the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline construction project, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said… Read Full Story

Whistleblower Allegation Of $1bn In Unity Bank Account False ― NPA
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has refuted claims that it has an account containing $1bn in Unity Bank Plc. In a statement signed by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of the NPA, Jatto Adams, the agency said that the account number being peddled in public glare by the whistleblower… Read Full Story

COVID-19: Over 2 Million Transport Workers In Critical Condition —Wabba
The President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has cried out that over two million of the congress affiliate members in the road transport sector are worst hit by the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown; and are in critical condition, dying in silence… Read Full Story

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More