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Product Name Scientific Name Common Name Local Name (Akan) Ecology and Botany

: Voacanga : Voacanga Africana : Voacanga : Obonawa

Voacanga Africana is an evergreen shrub native to Western Africa, specifically Ghana and Ivory Coast. The plant is widely distributed over the secondary forest and transitional zones.The tree is between 10-30 feet tall with white or yellow flowers. The seeds are numerous, dark brown and ellipsoid in shape, embedded in pulp. It is mostly found in the wild and as a shade plant around communities but occasionally cultivated on commercial basis in certain parts of Ghana. The plant is distributed over the southern and the middle belt of the country. Very high concentrations exist in Agona. Asikuma, Ejumako, Assin, and Abura-Asebu districts of the central region; Birim South and Fanteakwa districts of the Eastern Region: Amansie East and Effiduasi districts of Ashanti Region: Sunyani and Dormaa districts of the Brong Ahafo region; and WassaAmenfi district of the western region. The plant flowers in May and fruits mature in July

Fig 1: Voacanga inflorescence and Active Constituents/ Medicinal Uses

Voacanga seeds

Voacanga contains 10 alkaloids as well as edible oil. Some of the important alkaloids fall into three categories; a) Vincamine and Vinburnine they are alkaloids used in the cerebrovascular and geriatric markets (mainly in Japan). In the U.S., they are known as memory



enhancers and considerable research is being done with these alkaloids in the treatment of Alzheimers diseases and Parkinson diseases. Voacamine, Voacangine, Voacangerine and Vobtusine these are also alkaloids in the pharmaceutical industry. They are hypotensive and as such have ventricular cardio-stimulant action and a slight action on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Ibrogramine, Ibogaine, Ibolutine and Iboxygaine these alkaloids are certified compounds which are used to treat drug addicts.

Extracts of the seeds are used in commercial phyto-pharmaceutical production of several interesting cognitive-enhancing compounds. Traditional Uses Some folks are said to ingest the root bark as a cerebral stimulant and the seeds for visionary purposes. A root-decoction prepared from boiled root is used for painful hernia, dysmenorrhoea, heart troubles (spasm, angina), and blennorrhoea. The bark sap is used for treating sores, furuncles, abscesses, fungal infections, filarial and eczema. A decoction of the leaves is taken by enema for diarrhoea, in baths for general oedema, by frictions and draughts for leprosy and in lotions for convulsions in infants. The sap of the leaves is given as nose-drops to control the level of aggression common in patients. It is also used for the treatment of fatigue due to shortness of breath. Selected references Acquaye D. 1997; Feasibility studies on economic and export potential of some selected Medicinal Plants in Ghana (Griffonia, Voacanga and Annatto) PORSPI 1992. Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Advance Press, Accra. Ghana. Mshana, N.R. et al; 2000. Traditional Medicine and Pharmacopoeia. Contribution to the Revision of Ethnobotanical and Floristic Studies in Ghana. Organization of African Unity/Scientific, technical and Research Commission. Pp.87

GRIFFONIA SIMPLICIFOLIA Common name Scientific name Local name (Akan) : Griffonia : Griffonia Simplicifolia : Kajya, Atooto, Poopoo

Origin Griffonia simplicifolia plant is found principally in the West African countries of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo. The plant is adapted to wide a range of agro climatic conditions. It is common in the coastal plains as well as secondary forest. It thrives well on termite hills and on mountain slopes. Ecology and Botany In the coastal plains it grows as a shrub to a height of about 2 metres whilst in the forest zones it takes the form of climber around tall trees. There is no commercial cultivation of the plant but it is common to find Griffonia covering several hectares of land in the wild. Griffonia is widely distributed in the country. The highest concentration is found along the coast from Komenda to Kasoa. Other areas of concentration include Dodzi, Akatsi, Agbezume and Nkonya areas of the Volta region, Bomaa, Nsoatre and Ahafo areas of the Brong Ahafo region: Nyinahini, Kokofu, Ejisu areas of the Ashanti region: Akwamu, Somanya, Kwahu areas of the Eastern region and Sefwi, Enchi and Asankragua areas of the Western region. Though no cultivation of the plant exists, it can be seen stretching over several hectors of land in the Gomoa and Mfantsiman districts of the central region Griffonia normally flowers between August and October and matures in DecemberFebruary.

Fig 1: Griffonia pods and

partially dried Seeds

Uses of Plant by Locals Traditional African uses for the plant include use of the stem and roots as chewing sticks, leaves for wound healing, and leaf juice as an enema and for the treatment of bladder and kidney ailments. A decoction of the stems and leaves is also used to stop vomiting and to treat congestion of the pelvis. Griffonia Seed is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac, as well as an antibiotic and a remedy for diarrhea, and stomachache, dysentery and as a purgative. Pharmacological Activities L-5-Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) is decarboxylated "in vivo" to yield serotin, a neurohormonal transmitter released by neurons in the brain, spinal cord and symphatetic ganglia. Therapeutic Applications L-5-Hydroxytryptophan is reported to be of greatest benefit in psychiatric and neurological disorders where there is a deficiency of neurol serotonin. L-5Hydroxytryptophan is also indicated for its uses in alleviating the symptoms of a number of common syndromes such as anxiety and depression. L-5-Hydroxytryptophan is also cited as a natural relaxant, to help alleviate insomnia by inducing normal sleep, for the treatment of migraine and headaches and to aid in the control of cravings such as in eating disorders. L-5-Hydroxytryptophan is also thought to assist and strengthen the immune system and may help to reduce the risk of artery and heart spasms. L-5Hydroxytryptophan has also been cited in the management of Parkinsons disease (PD) and epilepsy. Recent research suggests that Griffonia Seed raises serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is important in regulating brain chemistry and is especially important in problems such as depression, insomnia, and eating disorders. Theoretically, supplementing with Griffonia Seed can raise serotonin levels and provide relief from depression and insomnia. Griffonia Seed should also regulate appetite through the increase in serotonin, leading to weight reduction in obese persons, while helping normalize the weight of people suffering from anorexia nervosa. Griffonia Seed has also been used in treating fibromyalgia and chronic headaches in order to reduce pain. Selected references Acquaye D. 1997; Feasibility studies on economic and export potential of some selected Medicinal Plants in Ghana (Griffonia, Voacanga and Annatto) PORSPI 1992. Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Advance Press, Accra. Ghana. Mshana, N.R. et al; 2000. Traditional Medicine and Pharmacopoeia. Contribution to the Revision of Ethnobotanical and Floristic Studies in Ghana. Organization of African Unity/Scientific, technical and Research Commission. Pp.322

Botanical name Family Commercial name Vernacular name : Cryptolepis sanguinolenta : Periplocaceae : Ghana quinine : Nibima (Twi), Kadze (Ewe), Gangamau (Hausa)

Traditional and Modern Medicinal Uses The roots of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta is an herbal plant widely used by manufacturers of herbal medicine in Ghana, to prepare anti-malaria drugs. It is also used for antiinflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-hypertensive purposes. The dried Cryptolepis sanguinolenta roots have a sweet odour and a bitter taste. To treat malaria, use dried and powdered roots, boil, strained and drink the decoctions three times daily. The parasites are reduced by up to 60% in 3 days and by 100% in 5 days. In the Volta region, the plant is a medicine for virility, herbalist use the plant to treat genitourinary and upper respiratory tract infection. The leaves are also known to be as potent as the roots.

Fig 1: Cryptolepis farm

Dried Cryptolepis Roots

Agro chemistry The plant consists of some important chemical properties like: Alkaloids, cryptolepine, quindoline, a phenolic derivative of cryptolepine and two other uncharacterised alkaloids. The roots of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta have been tested for different biological activities (Paulo et al, 1994; Silva et al, 1996) Ethanol, aqueous extracts and four minor alkaloids (Quindolines, hydroxycryptolepine, cryptoquindoline and cryptoheptine). It has also been tested for inhibitory activities against bacteria species of E. coli, Pseudomonas

aerruginosa, Shigella dysenteriae, Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus faecalis and Vibro cholrae.

Nutrient content of the roots The nutrients present in the roots of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta are Nitrogen, Potassium, Magnesium, Carbon, Calcium, Sodium and phosphorous. The respective mean percentages of the nutrients are 1.42-N, 1.23 K, 0.36-Mg, 37-C, 0.84-Ca, 0.02-Na and 0.03-P, the mean C/N ratio is 27.43. Ecology and Botany Cryptolepis sanguinolenta is native to West Africa. It occurs in forest clearings, around mountainous regions and stony areas. It is rather rare. Cryptolepis is sparsely populated and only few areas have population of about one plant per 4m2. In Ghana, Cryptolepis is found in the transitional Zones, forest Savannah semi-deciduous forest zones, mostly wild harvested around Kwahu Pepease, Hwehwee, Abonse Peduasi (Eastern region); Kumawu, Woraso and Dagomba via Drobonso (Ashanti). The plant is a thin-stemmed, slender climber, up to 8 metres high; with blood-red exudates; leaves elliptic, oblongelliptic, or ovate, acutely and shortly acuminate, rounded 2.5-7cm long and 1-3cm broad; flowers greenish-yellow on lateral, laxly few-flowered cymes; fruits in the form of a per of linear follicles and horn-like; seeds small, pinkish embedded in the long follicle with silky hairs (PORSPI 1992) Stem and root show bright yellow surface when cut. The texture of the roots is hard and brittle, longitudinal rigid with occasional cracks and striations. Rootlets are not present. The herb flowers from July to September, fruits from September to December and can be harvested a year after planting. Most of the roots are harvested from the wild. Cultivation and Harvesting of Cryptolepis Cryptolepis is cultivated by seed propagation; however root cuttings can also be used for the vegetative propagation. Matured seeds of Cryptolepis collected from the field are nursed for 1month then transferred to the fields. It takes about two years for the roots to mature for sustainable harvesting. For medicinal preparation, roots of the plant are harvested by digging out the roots using hoes, and clean by shaking of the soil. After harvesting the roots are cut into pieces with a cutlass on a pieces of clean wood log placed on a tarpaulin spread on the ground. Drying must be done within 24 hours after harvesting. The roots are allowed to dry for 7-10 days if the sun is shinning and there is relatively low humidity. The temperature of the solar dryer should not exceed 55oC. Moisture content of dried material must not exceed 8 to 10%. The dried roots are stored in polythene bags. The yield of fresh root per ha is 4500kg and dry root per ha is 1600kg Selected references Acquaye, Daniel and Quansah, Charles. 2000. Harvesting and drying of Lippia multiflora and Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, Pp. 14-18. ASNAPP and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Crop Science Department, Ghana.

Addae-Mensah, I. 1992. Towards a rational scientific basis for herbal medicine. A phytochemists Two-Decade contribution, Ghana University Press, Accra, Ghana. Ayitey-Smith, E., 1989. Prospects and Scope of Plant Medicine in Health Care, Ghana University Press, Accra, Ghana PORSPI 1992. Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Advance Press, Accra. Ghana. Mshana, N.R. et al; 2000. Traditional Medicine and Pharmacopoeia. Contribution to the Revision of Ethnobotanical and Floristic Studies in Ghana. Organization of African Unity/Scientific, technical and Research Commission. Pp.473, &718

MONDIA WHITEI Botanical Name Family Name Commercial Name Vernacular Names Background and Uses: Mondia Whitei is a shrub grown in the wild in Africa and other parts of the world. Mondia roots contain zinc, iron and calcium which are essential minerals as well as vitamin K, A, D and E which are also antioxidant vitamins. The roots also contain isovanillin, a food flavoring agent. It has enormous nutritional value, and ongoing studies show it may be effective against many diseases. The roots are chewed or used in alcoholic beverages as an aphrodisiac. Though this claim is disputed, it remains the most popular application of the root. It is however believed to be a stimulant. Its constituent; 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzaldehyde is a potent inhibitor of tyrosinase activity and is claimed to make the skin lighter, smooth and shiny when ingested. It could potentially be used in cosmetic formulations as topical application. It is also used as dietary supplement and in pharmaceutical preparation for the prevention of browning. In Malawi, the roots are also used for the treatment of headaches, diarrhea, stomach upsets and gonorrhea. Its leaves can be boiled and the fusion taken to stop vomiting. Mondia can be used as a tea. It has a sweet vanilla-like flavor. It can also be used as spice since it has a slightly peppery taste. : Mondia whitei : Perplocaceae Schltr. (- Asclepiadaceae) : Mondia, White Ginger : Asasehuam (Akan), Gyaefitpa (Krobo)

Fig1: Mondia inflorescence

Mondia Plant

The Ecology and Botany of Mondia Whitei Mondia Whitei is a 3-6m vigorous climber, attractive heart-shaped leaves, panicles of yellow and reddish-purple fl Sp, med. It is a woody climber with the leaves arranged equidistantly along the vine. The roots are slightly tuberous in form, sweet and have a characteristic flavor. The roots are bristle and very light in weight when dry. It is cream in color. Dry roots are normally 1cm to 2cm in diameter. The leaves are petiolate, broadly oblong, ovate, obovate or almost rotund, shortly acuminate, rounded to deeply cordate at the base, up to about 17cm. The flowers are pale greenish-white or cream. Geographical distribution The plant occurs as undergrowth in cocoa farms, often found climbing the cocoa trees. They may also be found in forest clearings where cassava is cultivated. Some localities where Mondia was encountered include Pepease, Suhum, Asesewa, Apeguso (Eastern region); Kumawu, Kumasi, Nyinahin (Ashanti region); Bomaa, Wawasua-Nsuatre (Brong-Ahafo) and Buem Nsuta and Kadjebi (Volta region). It is also found in sandy loam soils and in between rocks. At Kwahu Pepease for example, the climber forms a significant cover of the vegetation. It is one of the few plants that are able to sprout after bush fires Propagation Its propagation is by seed and root cuttings. Some of the roots are left in the soil during harvesting and these sprouts into new shoots. Harvesting of Mondia Whitei The roots are dug out of the soil using cutlass, hoe or chisel. The soils around the roots are loosened with these implements. The roots are either pulled out or cut off from the soil. It is easier to harvest Mondia in the rainy season than in the dry season. Selected References Acquaye, D., Quansah Charles and Asare E. 1999; Feasibility study on Lippia, Cryptolepis, Desmodium, Cassia alata and Mondia

GINGER Common Name: Ginger Rhizomes Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale, Roscoe Family : zingiberaceae Local Names : Botany Zingiber is shaped like a horn, because of the resemblance of the rhizomes to a deer antler. Officinale from latin officina meaning workshop in the pharmacy that it had a medicinal use. It is a perennial herb from the zingiberaceae family, with the thickened fleshy subterranean rhizome and with one aerial leafy stem. The rhizome is fleshy up to 2-5cm thick, irregularly branched, covered with deciduous thin scales, pale yellow or light brown in color, fibrous, on dried rhizomes scars of leafy stems visible as shallow cup-like holes. Culinary uses Ginger can be used as a flavoring in the preparation of a lot of food and beverages (gingerbread, biscuits, cakes, puddings, soups and pickles, ginger beer, ginger wine, ginger vodka, curry, etc.) In Ethiopia Ginger is among the most frequently used spice in the preparation of wot in fresh form or dried powdered. Ginger mixed with tea is traditionally used to teat cold, cough and allergic rashes. Medicinal and cosmetic uses The essential oil obtained from the dried or fresh rhizomes is used in the manufacture of flavoring essences, perfumery, and salves for skin care. An oleoresin (with pungent principles, gingerol and shogaol) is used for flavoring and preparation of tonics. Fresh or dried ginger is recommended as a food supplements for colds/flu, indigestion and appetite stimulant, nausea (either during pregnancy or usual) and motion sickness, seasickness. Fresh ginger is purported to breakdown high protein foods such as meat and beans making them more digestible and available.

Flowering ginger plant

Dried ginger root

Major supply Ginger is mostly known as a cultivated plant and is origin is not clearly known. However major commercial cultivation is known from Nigeria, China, India, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Mauritius, Australia, Taiwan and Ethiopia. Madagascar is also growing to become a supplier of Ginger. The best quality of ginger in terms of taste, pungency and efficacy is known to originate from Jamaica and Ethiopia. This may be due to distinctive cultivars (initial genetic material used) and suitability of the growing conditions (ecology). Ecology Ginger is generally cultivated in the tropics from sea level up to 1500 m.a.s.l. However in Ethiopia and Jamaica it is cultivated under sub optimal conditions, varying from 1800 to 2250 m.a.s.l, with rainfall often less than 1200mm per year and temperatures sometimes reaching as low as freezing point during the evenings. Ginger exhausts soil, therefore newly cleared land is used, but many commercial growers in the tropics use large dressings of manure. Ginger extracts Essential oil obtained by hydro distillation from freshly harvested rhizomes (may vary from 1.3%) is more valuable than the dried due to the loss of some valuable volatiles during the drying process. According to OAB or Ph. Helv. VII, a minimum content of 1.5 essential oil with Zingeberen, Zingeberol, Zingerol and Shogaol is considered appropriate for the industrial application. Zingerone is the pungent principle present in the oleoresin. However ginger originating from various countries has different compositions of the essential oil. Solvent extracts and liquid CO2 extracts Similarly powdered extracts obtained using solvents have been found to loose much of the volatile components decreasing the potency of the product. Therefore liquid CO2 extraction or SFE is more desirable in terms of minimizing the loss of the volatile components. Recent studies show that ginger extracts have strong inhibitory effects on human platelet aggregation. Adulteration Adulteration in the trade is very rare. Storage Must be stored in a cool dry area and protected from direct sun light. Tightly closed glass or metal vessels should be used for transportation or storage. Avoid plastic bottles.

Some specifications for the dried rhizome Product name Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) Appearance Whitish to pale yellow Standard 1.5 min. essential oil content Moisture Not more than 10% Aroma Characteristic, slightly sweet and attractive Plant part Rhizome Heavy metals Negative Pesticides Negative Microbial accounts Negative Shelf life Two years when properly stored.