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NGA Press: Snake bite vs mango kernel

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Posted by: W von Papineu at Wed Dec 22 11:24:00 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papineu ]  

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE (Lagos, Nigeria) 02 September 10 Tackling snake bite with mango kernel extract (Sade Oguntola)
Snake bite constitutes a relevant public health hazard in remote areas of many counties of the world, especially in communities’ whose economic activities are mainly agricultural. In such communities, poisonous venom from such snakes as viper, rattlesnake and cobra causes a high number of deaths.
All snakes will bite when threatened or surprised, but most will usually avoid people if possible and only bite as a last resort. Although snakes found in and near water are often mistaken as being poisonous, most species of snake are harmless. However, with the poisonous snakes, a bite could be deadly if not treated quickly.
Bites by venomous snakes result in a wide range of effects, from simple puncture wounds to life-threatening illness and death. Usually, symptoms of snake bite, depending on the type of snake, may include bleeding from the wound, blurred vision, convulsion, diarrhea, dizziness and increased thirst. Some individuals beaten by a snake may experience other symptoms such as excessive sweating, weakness, loss of muscle coordination, rapid pulse and fever.
Statistics from the Federal Government Snake Bite Treatment Center, Kaltungo, Gombe State, show that three deaths and 189 reported cases of snake bites were recorded in March in Kaltungo and its environs. Due to the hotness of the climate during hot periods from March, the cases of snake bites are expected to escalate because this is the period when reptiles, particularly snakes, come out.
In 2009, statistics from Comprehensive Health Centre, Zamko, owned by the Jos University Teaching Hospital, indicated over half of the patients on admission were victims of snake bites, some of whom also came from Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Taraba and Nasarawa states.
Although death by snakebite is not common in temperate parts of the world, it is estimated that, every year, it accounts for as many as 40,000 fatalities throughout the world, particularly in tropical countries where access to hospital stores of antivenin is very difficult because of distance, and it is usually not possible to accurately identify the species of snake that bit the person.
In contrast to the difficulty of availability of this modem treatment in large areas of the developing world, many societies that live in such places use plants to treat snakebite. Meanwhile, the plants used to treat snake bite have attracted the attention of several scientists. One of such is the mango kernel extract found to be helpful in treating snake bite in Thailand.
To many, all there is to mango is the flesh part that is relished because of its sweetness. But much more than this, one of the medicinal uses of the leftover of a mango after its fleshy part has been consumed is its kernel.
Researchers assessing the effectiveness of the ethanol extract from the seed kernels of Thai mango (Mangifera indica) stated that it exhibited potent and dose-dependent inhibitory effects on venoms of Malayan pit viper and Thai cobra under laboratory conditions.
They reported that some chemical constituents of the extract of the kernel of mango bind themselves to the snake venom, thus preventing local effects of the venom at the site of the snake bite, which is painful, tender and also kills the tissue around the site of the bite.
Thailand researchers reporting the efficacy of the extract of the kernel of fully grown unripened mango as antivenom in the 2009 edition of the journal, Molecules, stated that the extract of the kernel of mango could serve as an alternative approach that could be applied in the field to complement antivenom therapy in the neutralisation of venom-induced local effects.
In addition, the neutralising effects of methanol extracts of Indigofera pulchra, Aristolochia albida, Guiera senegalense and Sterculia setigera which were investigated by researchers from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, validated the traditional claims of their usefulness in management of poisonous snakebites.
The study entitled, “Ethnomedical Treatment of Poisonous Snakebites: Plant Extract Neutralized Naja nigricollis” and carried out by M.S. Abubakar, E. Balogun, E.M. Abdurahman, A.J. Nok, M. Shok, A. Mohammed and M. Garba, was documented in the 2006 edition of the Pharmaceutical Biology.
They reported that “extracts of Indigofera pulchra and Aristolochia albida gave 33.3% and 44.4% protection to mice treated with minimum lethal dose of venom; some gross pathologic symptoms of envenomation were alleviated. However, minimal activities were shown by Guiera senegalense and Sterculia setigera
While both Indigofera pulchra and Aristolochia albida were found to neutralize the anticoagulant, hemolytic, and phospholipase activity of crude venom, the study showed that Indigofera pulchra and Aristolochia albida are useful in some pathologic effects of Naja nigricollis.
Though medicinal plants remain largely unnoticed and neglected, other plant extract confirmed under laboratory conditions for treatment of snake bite include Cissus assamica, Parkia biglobosa extracts and Mucuna pruriens seed extract.
Meanwhile, experts explained that many plants used for treating snake bites work through two mechanisms — the chemical in the plant interact with one or more of the venom constituents so that they cannot bind to the receptors in the body, or pharmacological inhibits the venom at the receptor site itself.
Tackling snake bite with mango kernel extract


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