A team of local and German scientists have confirmed 12 extracts from local medicinal plants to have high potential of treating blood cancers or leukemia.
The study investigated the capacity of 145 plant parts from 91 medicinal plants in treating leukemia. Most of these extracts are used in the management of cancer and related diseases by different communities in Kenya.
The study dominated by researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany, also included others from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, Kisii University, Kenya and University of Khartoum, Sudan.
The findings published on 17 February in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology singled out 12 extracts which it said showed strong action against cancerous cells.
The study says this is prove that community healers could prove valuable in the fight against cancers. “The reported data helped to authenticate the claimed traditional use of these plants.”
On top of the 12 most effective extracts was the root bark of the tree Erythrina sacleuxii (pictured) found at Kenya’s coast, through Tanzania to Zanzibar and Pemba Islands. The Giriama call the tree Mulungu while it is known as Mbambangoma in Kiswahili,
A few of the other trees identified in the study as top candidates for the treatment of cancer included Albizia gummifera known in English as the peacock flower and mshai, mkenge or mchani in Kiswahili.
Strychnos usambarensis or the blue bitter berry found in Kakamega and Mt Kenya forests. Zanthoxylum gilletii or the East African satinwood or white African mahogany.
Another plant winning high marks was Solanum aculeastrum otherwise known as the Apple of Sodom in English or Osigawai by the Maasai of Kenya.
A full copy of the study can be purchased on line for US$35.95.