Experts Confirm Herbal ‘Cures’ for Multi-drug-resistant Typhoid Fever

Experts confirm herbal ‘cures’ for multi-drug-resistant typhoid fever.
Many medicinal plants have been claimed by traditional medical practitioners to be effective when used separately and/or in a mixture of two (decoction) for the treatment of fevers, particularly typhoid fever. Many of these plants have been reputed through experience inherited from one generation to the next.

In a new study, experts have substantiated the claims that six of the medicinal plants used by traditional healers in Ondo State for the treatment of typhoid fever (caused by Salmonella typhi) are effective by providing a scientific basis for their efficacy. It is in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy.

These are Terminalia avicennioides, Momordica balsamina, Combretum paniculatum, Trema guineensis, Morinda lucida, and Ocimum sanctum.

Terminalia avicennioides, commonly called Bambara, is kpaca in Nupe, kpayi in Gwari, baushe in Hausa, igiodan in Yoruba, and edo in Igbo. It is a yellowish brown, hard and durable wood. The roots, which are used as chewing sticks, have been claimed to cure dental caries and skin infections.

Momordica balsamina is also called balsam pear, African pumpkin, or “bitter cucumber.” It is also known as “Okvvunulo” (Igbo), “Daddasu” (Hausa), or “Ejirin” (Yoruba). It has been used to reduce and relieve period pain in young girls. The whole plant extract has insecticidal properties. The pulverised plant is applied externally against malignant ulcers.

Combretum paniculatum, commonly called burning bush or forest flame-creeper, has been demonstrated to be effective in treating chronic diarrhoea, ulcers, flatulence, and enlarged spleen and liver in traditional medicine. It is also effective in the treatment of ringworm infections and wound healing.

Trema guineensis is commonly referred to as pigeon hood, telem-ugwu (Igbo), or afafe (Yoruba). In Ivory Coast and parts of Ghana, a water decoction of the bark is used as a remedy for cough, bronchial congestion, and asthma. A gargle prepared from the bark and leaves has been used for sore throats, toothaches, and mouth infections.

Morinda lucida, commonly referred to as brimstone tree, oruwo (Yoruba), ogere (Igbo), or Njisi (Hausa), is widely used in the treatment of malaria, diabetes, typhoid fever, jaundice, analgesics, and as a laxative.

Ocimum sanctum is popularly known as a scent leaf; it is known as efinrin (Yoruba), nchanwu (Igbo), and daidoya (Hausa). This plant is well known for its medicinal and spiritual properties in Ayurveda, which include aiding cough, asthma, diarrhoea, fever, dysentery, arthritis, eye diseases, indigestion and gastric ailments.

Currently, typhoid fever is a major health problem in developing countries, with limited success in treatment with antimicrobial agents.

Typhoid fever is now becoming a deadly danger disease day by day because of the resistance power developed by Salmonella typhi, Salmonella paratyphi A, and Salmonella paratyphi B, which cause typhoid fever, paratyphoid A, and paratyphoid B fevers, respectively. This situation has created a need to find more effective drugs.

They had tested both the water and ethanol extracts of the 10 Nigerian medicinal plants used traditionally for the treatment of several ailments on multi-drug-resistant Salmonella typhi (MDR) strains and found these six efficacious.

The MDR-S. typhi used for the antibacterial screening in this study was isolated from stools and blood samples of patients clinically diagnosed as having typhoid fever.

Also, S. typhi from the Department of Medical Microbiology of the University College Ibadan was used.

The ethanol extracts of Terminalia avicennioides, Momordica balsamina, Combretum paniculatum, and Trema guineensis were effective against the MDR-S. typhi strains, whereas only the water extracts of Morinda lucida and Ocimum gratissimum were found to be active against this pathogen.

In addition, the decoctions (consisting of two plants) of 5 out of 6 plant extracts found to be effective against MDR-S. typhi were combined as follows: O. gratissimum and T. avicennioides; O. gratissimum and M. balsamina; C. paniculatum and T. gratissimum; T. guineensis and T. avicennioides; and M. balsamina and C. paniculatum. The decoctions were made by mixing equal amounts of the extracts of these medicinal plants.

The results of this study showed that the extracts of these plants are bacteriostatic (preventing the growth of bacteria) at lower concentrations and bactericidal (killing bacteria) at higher concentrations.

Another study published in the International Journal of Tropical Disease also had researchers assess herbal medicines used in the treatment of typhoid in the Ga East Municipality of Ghana.

These are anti-typhoidal herbal medicinal formulations that are for sale on the Ghanaian market, with their contents indicated on their product labels.

In all, 34 different plant species belonging to 25 families were found to be present in these products.

The most frequently occurring active plant constituents of these products were Carica papaya (pawpaw), Morinda lucida, Citrus aurantifolia (lime), Vernonia amygdalina (bitter leaf), and Azadirachta indica (neem tree).

In the study titled “Herbal Medicines Used in the Treatment of Typhoid in the Ga East Municipality of Ghana,” the researchers investigated anti-typhoidal herbal medicinal formulations that are for sale on the Ghanaian market based on the product labels.

Earlier studies had demonstrated how a herbal preparation made predominantly with garlic, ginger, onions, scent leaf, lemon grass, unripe pawpaw, lime/lemon, African pepper (Uda in Igbo), clove, Gongronema latifolium (Utazi in Ibo, Arokeke in Yoruba), and West African black pepper (Uziza in Igbo) could be effectively used to prevent and treat malaria and typhoid.