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Banana stem possibly novel drug for epilepsy —Scientists

Many people are aware that bananas have numerous health benefits for the body, including lowing of blood pressure and reducing the risks of developing cancer and asthma. But, the stem of the banana plant has even more beneficial properties and can help to cure various disorders.In a new study, the researcher, for instance, found that it contains chemical substances that may be eventually developed into new medications for treatment of seizure or convulsions in persons with epilepsy. The 2018 study was published in the ”Pharmacognosy Research”.

The researchers tested the water extracts of banana stem on animals and found that it was able to reduce the onset and duration of seizures in animals with some forms of epilepsy under laboratory conditions.

The water extract was made by crushing the central pale-white inner part of the stem and sieving it through a sterile muslin cloth.

Although the mechanism by which the water extract of banana stem works on the brain to reduce the onset and duration of seizures is not clear at this stage of experiments, they said that it may also help to prevent damage to the brain due to oxidative stress during seizures.

In India and other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, banana stem extracts also used to treat kidney stones. Aside from its stem and flowers cooked and eaten; it is also used to treat urinary tract infection, constipation and to lose weight.

Banana stem juice is rich in iron and vitamin B6, which are responsible for increasing the haemoglobin content in blood. This property makes banana stem juice a crucial part of the diet for anaemic persons. Drinking this juice regularly also helps to regulate the acidity level in the body, and it is a natural remedy for heart burns and irritability.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have recurring seizures. The seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain send out the wrong signals.

People may have strange sensations and emotions or behave strangely. They may have violent muscle spasms or lose consciousness.

Epilepsy has many possible causes, including illness, brain injury, and abnormal brain development. In many cases, the cause is unknown.  However, oxidative stress is regarded as a possible mechanism involved in the gradual process by which a normal brain develops epilepsy.

People with epilepsy and their doctors are expressing growing interest in alternative therapies. Although antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) help most people control their symptoms, these do not work for everyone.

The prolonged use of antiepileptic drugs is also associated with various types of mild-to-severe, established, and unavoidable adverse effects in the patients. Furthermore, apart from the burden of cost, some people are concerned about the long-term safety of these drugs.

Meanwhile, researchers have identified other local herbs and spices that could be used to effectively manage neurological disorders like convulsion, epilepsy, and seizures. The local plants include Tetrapleura tetraptera, ginger, cowhage, cloves, tumeric, thyme, and Cannabis sativa.

Tetrapleura tetraptera is locally known as aridan among the Yoruba, osakirisa or oshosho among the Igbo, dawo among the Hausa, all in Nigeria.

Results of a study published in Phytotherapy Research, for instance, concluded: “Tetrapleura tetraptera fruit aqueous extract (TTE) possesses analgesic and anticonvulsant properties. These findings lent pharmacological support to the suggested folkloric uses of the plant’s fruit in the management and/or control of painful, arthritic inflammatory conditions, as well as for the management and/or control of epilepsy and childhood convulsions in some tropical African countries.”

Similarly, a study published in Indian Journal of Pharmacology has confirmed the anticataleptic and antiepileptic activity of ethanolic extract of leaves of Mucuna pruriens.

Commonly called Velvet bean or Cowhage, Mucuna pruriens is known as werepe in Yoruba and agbala or agbaloko in Ibo. Its seed contains high levels of dopamine, a neuroprotective agent in epilepsy.

Nigerian researchers have found that extracts of cloves could be used to treat convulsion, seizures, and sleeplessness. The study was published in Nigerian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Commonly called konofuru in Yoruba, researchers said that cloves contain some chemical substances that are useful in the treatment of epilepsy.

Diet is one of the earliest forms of treatment for epilepsy and is used with contemporary variations to make it easier for children and adults to adopt.

The ketogenic diet, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, studies have found to help in reducing seizures in children who cannot tolerate or benefit from antiepileptic drugs. It requires extensive commitment and monitoring.- Tribune

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