Plants have used as an alternative herbal medicine since centuries in different parts of world. Looking for natural therapeutic medications has led scientists to study the traditional plants and scientifically prove their curative efficacy.
Similarly in Indonesia, researchers have studied many traditional medicinal plants to use for treatment in modern world. This country has almost 1845 traditional medicinal plants enriched with certain healing properties. In this context, scientists studied the potential efficacy of Myrmecodia tuberosa Jack., commonly known as Ant nest plant1.
Myrmecodia spp. is known to possess certain flavonoids, triterpenoid, tocopherol, polyphenol, glycoside, tannin as well as calcium, sodium, calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorus and magnesium with some anti-diabetic and anti-diarrheal properties2.
Previously it has been reported that the ethyl acetate fraction of Myrmecodia tuberosa (Ant plant) can amplify the phagocyte activity of macrophages and boost lymphocyte production in vitro3. It is deliberated that these effects are associated with phenol and flavonoid activities. There is hope that by increasing lymphocyte cell proliferation these compounds could have anti-cancer properties and could prevent active cutaneous nephrotoxic reactions4.
Anemia results from lack of red blood cells or erythrocytes in the blood. It occurs due to malnutrition, deficiency of iron, folic acid or vitamin B12. In some cases it can also result in damaging stomach or kidneys.
The ant plant has already its traditional effectiveness in treating anemia but with no scientific proof and approach which could determine its dosage efficacy or treatment duration. As flavonoids are thought to be the active ingredient in this plant in stimulating erythrocyte production, so the scientists studied these extracted from Myrmecodia tuberosa Jack. using ethyl acetate and their effect on anemic mice. Parameters measured were erythrocyte and reticulocyte counts, hemoglobin level1.
Researchers conducted the study for 3 months by treating with acetate fractions at 3 dosing levels. Anemia was induced in the mice using chloramphenicol in the laboratory. Chloramphenicol served as an anemia inducer. It works to suppress the bone marrow so that it inhibits proliferation and differentiation. Thus, the formation of erythrocyte components can be inhibited and cause anemia. The Ethyl acetate fraction was induced and blood samples were taken for analysis.
At the end of experiment it was observed that the erythrocyte count after dosing with ethyl acetate fraction of Myrmecodia tuberosa Jack. (Ant plant) increased significantly for all doses and durations of treatment. The reticulocyte count was also significantly high. The increase in hemoglobin due to the ethyl acetate fraction indicated an improved ability of the blood to transport oxygen.
Authors conclusively said that:
“The conclusion of our study is that the ethyl acetate fraction of Myrmecodia tuberosa Jack. at doses of 40, 63.2 and 100 mg kg–1 b.wt., can increase the formation of erythrocytes in anemic mice. The higher the doses of ethyl acetate fraction faster erythrocytes are produced. This suggested that Myrmecodia tuberosa has potential as an economic and effective source of treatment for some types of anemia.”
Written by: Rabeeia
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