AN OVERVIEW OF ETHNOBOTANICAL, MEDICINAL AND PHARMACOLOGICAL POTENTIAL OF TELFAIRIA OCCIDENTALIS HOOK.F. (CUCURBITACEAE) IN CAMEROON
Tamanji V. L.*, Tembe-Fokunang E. A. F., Mbong Grace Annih, Koffi G. Y., Agbor M. A., Njinkio B. N., Akinali E. T., Moody J. O. and Fokunang C. N.
Telfairia. occidentalis commonly known as fluted pumpkin belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and widely distributed in regions of West and Central Africa. In Cameroon, the vegetable has become an economic crop of non-timber forest product mostly cultivated and used as staple food primarily for soups and herbal cocktails, essential oils for aromatherapy and in most cases exported out of the country. Although the fruit is not edible, the seeds have high protein and fat content, and can contribute significantly to a well-balanced diet. T. occidentalis constitute a staple and traditionally used by an estimated 2 million people in Cameroon, and more in neighbouring countries like Nigeria and Ghana. It is mainly consumed by the population in the forest savannah zones of Cameroon. Ethnobotanic studies in Cameroon and elsewhere has demonstrated that in the South West Regions of Cameroon, the crop is noted to have healing properties and has been used as a blood tonic, to be administered to the sick. The high nutritional value complimented by its antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, anticonvulsant antiplasmodial, anxiolytic, sedative antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and testiculoprotective properties of the leave and seed of the plant, has increased its consumption potential. This review paper attempts to give an overview of the ethnobotanic, medicinal and pharmacological uses of the plant. It also attempts to explore the issues on toxicity, medicinal values, pharmacological actions and morphological effects (on some organs/systems) of the plant.
Keywords: Vegetables, Telfairia occidentalis, ethnobotany, nutrition, Toxicity, Pharmacological actions, Morphological effects, fluted pumpkin.
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