EVALUATION OF THE TOXICITY, MEDICINAL USE AND PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIONS OF CALOTROPIS PROCERA
*Innocent O. Imosemi
The African continent is one of the continents endowed with the richest biodiversity in the world, with an avalanche of many food plants used as herbs, health foods and for therapeutic purposes. Higher plants as sources of medicinal compounds continue to play a dominant role in maintenance of human health since antiquities. Calotropis procera (C. procera) also known as the giant milk weed is one of the flowering plants commonly found in the tropics world over. It is known as sodom apple, calotrope, French cotton, small crown flower (English) and algodón de seda, bomba (Spanish). The plant is used as arrow poison and the latex is toxic to the skin and poisonous to the eyes, which can lead to blindness. Inspite of the toxicity of C. procera, it has been used in traditional medicine as a purgative, antihelmintic as well as in the treatment of leucoderma, ulcer, rheumatoid arthritis and diseases of the spleen, liver and stomach. C. procera possesses anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antipyretic, antidiabetic, anticancer and antioxidant properties. This review, consisting of literature search of journals and chapters in books aims at evaluating the toxic effects, medicinal use and pharmacological actions of C. procera.
Keywords: herbs, Calotropis procera, traditional medicine, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory.
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