Morinda Lucida: Africa’s Antimicrobial Tree

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Toenail fungus also known as onychomycosis is an infection that occurs underneath the nail surface and is caused by various types of fungi. Once these microorganisms take hold of the nail, it becomes darker in color and starts to smell bad. It is also possible for debris to accumulate underneath the nail plate while the nail plate starts to have white marks. This type of infection can spread to the skin, other toenails, and in some cases even the fingernails. When left untreated, the infection can spread and worsen, impeding your ability to work or walk. The nail also becomes thicker and more difficult to trim.

Causes and Risk Factors

A toenail fungal infection is more commonly caused by fungi that belong to the group called dermatophytes. Yeasts and molds may also cause this infection. The same microorganisms can cause jock itch, ringworm, and athlete’s foot. Some factors increase the risk of getting infected. These include walking barefoot in damp and warm public areas like swimming pools, wearing inappropriate footwear, and sharing personal items like nail clippers. Those who have chronic conditions like diabetes and blood circulation disorder are more prone to infection.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Nail fungal treatments may differ depending on the nature (symptoms) and level of severity. A nail clipping or sample may be sent to a lab to determine the exact cause of the infection. This will serve as a basis for the doctor’s treatment plan. Most often, a nail fungus treatment can be in the form of an oral antifungal which has to be taken for several weeks. An alternative treatment would be a topical antifungal in the form of a cream or nail lacquer.

In some cases, surgical treatment may be necessary. This can be a temporary or permanent nail removal. Permanent nail removal is necessary for infections that don’t respond to any treatment.

2All about the Morinda Lucida

Morinda lucida (botanical name) is commonly known as oruwo leaves in the Yoruba language, Eze-og in the Igbo language, or its English name brimstone tree. It is a popular tree because of its medicinal value and versatility of use. Its roots have a bitter taste, but they are used as a food or alcoholic beverage flavoring.

In Nigeria, the stems of the brimstone tree are used as chewing sticks. The infusions made from the tree’s bark, stem, and roots have been used as a remedy for various ailments like malaria, fever, trypanosomiasis, yellow fever, and the feverish feeling after giving birth.

The Morinda lucida is small to a medium-sized tree or an evergreen shrub that has slender and crooked branches.

Nutritional Composition

This powerful herb contains vitamins E, A, and K. It is also loaded with phytochemicals and alkaloids. The phytochemicals contain potent antioxidant bioactive components such as flavonoids. These are known for having immense health benefits due to their anti-allergic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and antiviral properties. The brimstone tree also has major constituents such as anthraquinols and anthraquinones.

As an Antimicrobial

Experimental studies conducted on the different extracts, isolated compounds, and fractions of Morinda Lucida provide bearing to the acclaimed medicinal and pharmacological benefits of the plant-like antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, hypotensive, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, muscle relaxant, and anti-leishmanial properties. These evidence-based reports provide credibility to the efficacy of the brimstone tree as traditional medicine.

Other Health Benefits

Because the oruwo leaves are loaded with medicinal properties, the herb is also rich with medicinal benefits and it can remedy various common ailments.

Anti-malarial

Based on several research studies, the Morinda Lucida possesses potent antimalarial activities. Research on the efficacy of the brimstone tree as an antimalarial remedy showed positive results. It has properties that kill the malarial parasite and prevent it from multiplying, meaning it can be used to cure malaria.

Anti-anemia

Drinking a decoction made from oruwo leaves can help in preventing the shortage of red blood cells also known as anemia. The extract from the Morinda Lucida leaves contains anti-anemia properties. This is because of its ability to increase erythropoietin and osmotic resistance of the body’s red blood cells.

Cures Fever

The oruwo leaves tree also possesses certain antipyretic properties, making it a potent treatment for fever and fever-induced ailments like trypanosomiasis, yellow fever, feverish condition after childbirth, and fever from malaria. This plant’s roots and bark have been used as a remedy for fever for years.

Analgesic

The brimstone tree has been used for years as an analgesic because of its ability to soothe the pain. This is because of the phytochemicals it contains which give it analgesic properties.

Antithrombotic

The oruwo leaves have the properties to prevent blood clots. This property makes it helpful in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

Anti-Aging

Premature aging is caused by the skin’s constant exposure to free radicals and pollution coming from the environment. With a poor diet, the risk of premature aging becomes even greater. This can be addressed by a diet change, regular exercise, and by taking herbal supplements or the use of some traditional plants like the brimstone tree.

Antibacterial

The oruwo leaves tree is also known as a powerful antibacterial. This is because it contains steroids that can effectively get rid of bacteria. Morinda lucida works as an antibiotic on its own. It can help treat diseases that are caused by bacteria.

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