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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 24  |  Page : 238-249  

Pharmacotherapeutic properties of Telfairia occidentalis Hook F.: A systematic review

Department of Biological Sciences, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication12-Oct-2018

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Olawole Odun Obembe
Department of Biological Sciences, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/phrev.phrev_12_18

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Globally, there has been a growing interest in medicinal plants by researchers. Telfairia occidentalis Hook F. (Fluted pumpkin) is cucurbitaceous vegetable grown in West Africa, particularly in Nigeria for its leaves and seeds. The curative properties of fluted pumpkin are popular in Nigerian folklore medicine, and several investigators have validated these therapeutic effects using animal models. The aim of this work therefore, was to review publicly available literature on the pharmacotherapeutic activities of T. occidentalis. Searches were performed on PubMed, Scopus, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar for related studies, with search dates set between 1990 and 2018. A total of 499 articles were retrieved and analyzed, with 38 studies ultimately retained. Studies contained in this review were carried out in Nigeria, across different locations. 13 categories of pharmacological activities for fluted pumpkin were documented after analyzing full texts of the articles retained. T. occidentalis offers myriad of healing properties that can be explored by pharmaceutical industries. As the search for potent drugs from botanical sources continues, there is need for future investigations to isolate and characterize pharmacologically active agents that confer medicinal properties on fluted pumpkin, as well as elucidate the structures of these agents and pathways by which they exert their healing properties.

Keywords: Fluted pumpkin, medicinal plant, pharmacological, Telfairia occidentalis, therapeutic

How to cite this article:
Aworunse OS, Bello OA, Popoola JO, Obembe OO. Pharmacotherapeutic properties of Telfairia occidentalis Hook F.: A systematic review. Phcog Rev 2018;12:238-49

How to cite this URL:
Aworunse OS, Bello OA, Popoola JO, Obembe OO. Pharmacotherapeutic properties of Telfairia occidentalis Hook F.: A systematic review. Phcog Rev [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Jul 23];12:238-49. Available from: http://www.phcogrev.com/text.asp?2018/12/24/238/243193

   Introduction Top

Plants are utilized by man as a source of food, medicine, energy, shelter, fodder and other forestry products.[1],[2] They are being studied and engineered particularly to produce recombinant pharmaceuticals, genetically modified foods, industrial proteins, and other secondary metabolites.[3] Many pharmaceutical products of modern times can be attributed to insights derived from local knowledge and utilization of medicinal plant resources.[4] The use of botanicals as remedies for the treatment of ailments is popular in sub-Saharan Africa, where traditional medicine is flourishing.[5] In Nigeria, over 50,000 species of plant have been reported to be used for medicinal purposes.[6]

Telfairia occidentalis Hook F. (fluted pumpkin) is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. It is native to West Africa and predominantly grown in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Nigeria.[7]T. occidentalis is one of the main vegetable crops cultivated in the Southern part of Nigeria,[8] where it is known by different names such as “iroko” or “apiroko” in Yoruba, “ubong” in Efik, “ugu” in Igbo, “umeke” in Edo, and “umee” in Urhobo.[7] It is thought to have originated from the Southeastern region of Nigeria and spread by the Igbos, who have cultivated this crop since prehistoric times. Probably, T. occidentalis was initially wild throughout its current range; however, wild plants may have been harvested to local extinction and are now substituted with cultivated types.[9],[10]T. occidentalis is a dioecious, perennial, tropical vine grown for its leaves and edible seeds.[11] It is a creeping herbaceous vegetable with lobed leaves and twisted tendrils that extends over the soil.[12] Fluted pumpkin can be grown on mounds or on flatlands. In domestic gardens, it is often cultivated beside fences or adjacent to a tree, thus enabling the suspension of the fruit from a branch.[13] It may also be cultivated along trellis of different kinds including bamboo.[7]T. occidentalis leaves possess high curative, industrial, and nutritional values. According to Akanbi et al.[8] the leaves are abundant in fat (18%), protein (29%), and minerals and vitamins (20%). The leaves are also a rich source of phosphorus, calcium, zinc, iron, and copper.[14] Phytochemical screening of fluted pumpkin leaf extracts by Oyewale and Abalaka [15] confirmed the presence of saponins, alkaloids, tannins, and phenolics. Seeds of T. occidentalis can be ground and added to soups or roasted, cooked, and eaten. The seeds contain 45% fat, 23% carbohydrates, 20.5% protein, 2.2% fibers, and 4.8% total ash.[8] In addition, the seeds contain phospholipid, glycolipid, and neutral lipid contents of 58%, 26%, and 15%, respectively. Fluted pumpkin seed oil contains 61% unsaturated fatty acids.[14] The healing properties of T. occidentalis are popular in Nigerian folklore medicine, and these curative properties have been evaluated by a number investigators. The present study was aimed at reviewing systematically, existing publicly available literature on the pharmacological properties of T. occidentalis.

   Methods Top

Search strategy

To identify keywords and subject headings, an initial scoping task was performed, after which an ultimate search procedure was carried out. Relevant literature searches were conducted on January 19, 2018 on PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Scopus, with search dates set from 1990 to 2018. To identify more studies, hand searching of articles was performed for originally considered papers from reference list of articles and Google Scholar. Search terms used to query the four databases are presented in [Table 1].
Table 1: Search terms on PubMed

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Selection criteria

We broadly searched for studies on the pharmacological activities of T. occidentalis. We specifically included studies that reported medicinal or curative or therapeutic properties of fluted pumpkin. Studies that were editorials, reviews, or viewpoints were screened out. Only studies that were written in English were reviewed.

Case definitions

According to Sofowora et al.,[16] a medicinal plant is any plant whose organs contain active principles which can be employed for curative (pharmacological or therapeutic) purposes or used as precursors for drug synthesis.

Quality criteria

For every full text evaluated, we made sure that the pharmacological properties of T. occidentalis were explicitly defined to meet the case definitions stated. Studies with ambiguous investigations and results were excluded from the study.

Data extraction

Three reviewers (OSA, OAB, and JOP) independently conducted a simultaneous search and selection of studies. To resolve any disagreement between the three reviewers over the selection of articles, a re-evaluation was conducted by a fourth reviewer, OOO. From each article, data were retrieved on country (location), specific investigation, findings, and pharmacological property. Data were double extracted by three parallel reviewers (OSA, OAB, and JOP). All data were sorted, compiled, and stored in Microsoft Excel 2013.

   Results Top

Systematic search

Our search returned a total of 477 articles from the databases, with PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Scopus recording 19, 40, and 418 articles respectively. 22 supplementary articles were retrieved from Google Scholar and hand searched reference lists of chosen articles. 46 duplicate articles were eliminated. Totally, 453 studies were scrutinized for connectedness, with 364 articles excluded from the study (24 articles that were editorials, reviews, or viewpoints and 340 studies that were not related to T. occidentalis). From the 89 papers left, 51 articles were excluded upon evaluation of their abstracts owing to nonrelatedness of studies to the pharmacological activities of fluted pumpkin. 38 articles were ultimately retained for this review [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Flowchart for the selection and screening of articles

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Study characteristics

In this review, there are 38 studies conducted in 13 different locations across Nigeria [Figure 2]. 8 studies were retrieved from Ibadan (representing ~ 19% of studies retained), 6 each from Uyo and Lagos (~16% each), 3 each from Akure and Ilorin (~8% each), 2 each from Ado Ekiti, Minna, Nsukka, and Benin (~5% each), and 1 each from Jos, Ogbomosho, Nnewi, and Zaria (~3% each). All included studies were conducted between 1990 and 2018. A summary of the study characteristics is presented in [Table 2].
Figure 2: Data map showing locations across Nigeria where investigations were conducted

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Table 2: Characteristics of included studies on pharmacological properties of Telfairia occidentalis

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   Discussion Top

The utilization of plants for the treatment of ailments is as old as human existence.[53] In many resource-poor countries, a huge segment of the populace depends on herb doctors and medicinal plants to meet their healthcare exigencies.[54] Herbal medicines are beginning to gain widespread acceptance in the global herbal drug market [55] which is estimated to worth a whooping USD 60 billion.[56]T. occidentalis have been reported in several scientific literature to possess therapeutic effects which local communities take advantage of.[47] Based on the studies retained [Table 2], we have grouped the therapeutic properties of T. occidentalis into 13 categories [Table 3].
Table 3: Categorization of the pharmacological properties of Telfairia occidentalis based on studies retained

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Hypocholesterolemic activity

Hyperlipidemia is a health condition characterized by abnormally high levels of lipid in the blood. This condition which is also referred to as hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipoproteinemia has been listed as one of the leading risk factors that contribute to the incidence and severity of cardiovascular disease.[57] Globally, there is an increasing demand for plant-derived natural products as health supplements [58] for the prevention of heart diseases. The hypolipidermic activities of fluted pumpkin have been documented in some scientific literature. Studies have revealed that cholesterol-induced heart enlargement was significantly reduced in Wistar rats fed with T. occidentalis supplemented diets.[17] Adaramoye et al.[17] further documented a dose-dependent decrease in lipid peroxidation levels and lowering of postmitochondrial supernatant fraction (PMS) and plasma cholesterol levels in rats administered fluted pumpkin-supplemented diets. Nwozo et al.[18] in their study documented the cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering effects of the methanolic extract of T. occidentalis. According to Eseyin et al.,[28] the ethanolic extract of fluted pumpkin significantly reduced blood cholesterol levels, which gives credence to the utilization of the leaf extract in the management of cholesterolemia. The hypocholesterolemic activity of fluted pumpkin may be due to the presence of flavonoids which significantly reduce blood plasma cholesterol and triglycerides.[59]

Antidiabetic activity

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disorder marked by high blood glucose levels and disturbance in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism.[60] In 2014, global estimates revealed that 422 million adults were living with diabetes.[61] Since 1980, there has been a nearly two-fold increase in the global incidence of diabetes, rising from 4.5% to 8.5% in the adult populace. In 2012, the mortality rate from diabetes was reported to be 1.5 million. Some of the complications of diabetes include stroke, cardiac arrest, kidney failure, amputation of lower limb, vision loss, nerve damage,[61] and erectile dysfunction.[62] Poorly managed diabetes in pregnant women could increase the risk of fetal death and other complications.[61] Based on several reports, it is evident that in years to come, diabetes will be one of the world's major disease.[63] Medical treatment for diabetes includes both oral glucose-lowering drugs and insulin.[64] Owing to the side effects linked with oral hypoglycemic drugs for DM treatment, attention has been shifted toward herbal remedies for its management.[65] A number of researchers have confirmed the antidiabetic properties of T. occidentalis in rat models. According to Nwozo et al.,[18] methanolic extract of fluted pumpkin showed a depressing effect on plasma glucose levels. Eseyin et al.[14] in their work, documented that ethanolic seed extract of fluted pumpkin significantly repressed blood glucose levels. Aderibigbe et al.[27] and Salman et al.[29] observed the hypoglycemic effect of fluted pumpkin leaves in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice and male albino rats respectively. Eseyin et al.[31] reported that the ethanolic leaf extract of fluted pumpkin significantly lowered blood glucose levels. The phenolic extract also inhibited activities of α-glucosidase and α-amylase (enzymes associated with type-II diabetes) in adult Wistar rats in a concentration-dependent manner.[20]

Profertility activity

Infertility is a vital aspect of reproductive health that is often neglected.[66] It is a disease that affects the reproductive system and is marked by the inability to achieve a clinical pregnancy following a year or more of constant unprotected sexual intercourse.[67] Couples worldwide, are affected by the incapacity to bear children, thus resulting in psychological and emotional uneasiness in both men and women.[66] Numerous treatment options for male infertility are emerging globally. Modern-day treatments such as assisted reproductive methods are expensive with minimal success rates of only 10%–30%. Nonetheless, the traditional medicines are attracting increasing attention as an alternative curative intervention for male infertility.[68] The findings of Christopher et al.[36] showed that T. occidentalis leaf extract preserved the histological architecture of seminiferous tubules and epididymis, improved spermatogenesis, increased sperm count, motility and livability with increasing concentration, and duration of treatment in Wistar rats. Hormonal studies also showed significant increases in testosterone and testosterone: estrogen ratio. Akang et al.[40] in their investigation, documented the prophylactic activity of fluted pumpkin on alcohol-induced testicular damage. They further reported that T. occidentalis improved semen quality, serum testosterone, and luteinizing hormone levels. In another study, Akang et al.[41] showed that fluted pumpkin leaf extract increased testicular antioxidant enzyme levels and decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) levels levels when administered alone in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. The leaf extract was also efficacious in ameliorating the harmful effects of alcohol on sperm count, sperm motility, and testicular antioxidant enzymes. The testiculoprotective activity of fluted pumpkin was reported by Saalu et al.[19] Salman et al.[29] documented that the aqueous leaf extract of T. occidentalis improved sperm quality in male albino rats. The pharmacotherapeutic effect of fluted pumpkin on male infertility may be due to its antioxidant components. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E which are present in fluted pumpkin have been demonstrated to exhibit protective activities on the testes of rat models.[41]

Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity

It has been established that cellular damage resulting from reactive oxygen species or free radicals is a fundamental mechanism that underpins inflammation, many human neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, autoimmune pathologies, viral infections, and digestive system disorders.[69] Antioxidative defense pathway is one of the most effective mechanisms to reduce and eliminate free radical-induced oxidative stress. Antioxidants are substances which possess free radical chain reaction-termination activity.[70] A number of diverse, naturally occurring antioxidants with different composition, sites of activity, and physical and chemical properties occur in plants.[71] In recent times, interest in the pharmacotherapeutic potentials of botanicals as antioxidants in inhibiting oxidative stress-induced tissue damage has been on the rise.[72] Jimoh [20] reported the free radical scavenging and antioxidant properties of the phenolic extract T. occidentalis. According to Oboh et al.,[23] the aqueous leaf extract of fluted pumpkin compared to its ethanolic extract, possessed a significantly higher free radical scavenging capacity, total phenolic content, and reducing power. The antioxidant activity of the leaf extract has also been validated by the work of Nwanna and Oboh,[34] Akang et al.,[41] Kayode et al.,[46] and Daramola et al.[45] who documented the antioxidant activity of fluted pumpkin against lipid peroxidation and tissue damage in the ovaries of female Wistar rats. Iweala and Obidoa [30] in their study, reported significant reduction in lipid peroxidation in albino rats administered T. occidentalis-fortified diet. Increase in testicular antioxidant enzyme was observed when leaf extract of fluted pumpkin was administered alone in Sprague Dawley rats.[41] According to Kayode et al.,[52] coadministration of T. occidentalis and protein inhibited PMS-induced lipid peroxidation, elevated glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities. In the same study, it was also observed that fluted pumpkin diet was capable of reversing liver damage. The therapeutic activities of vegetables such as T. occidentalis have been linked primarily to the presence of antioxidant vitamins such as α-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, phenolics, and β-carotene.[73]

Antiplasmodial activity

Malaria is a lethal disease caused by Plasmodium parasites (with Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum being the most common and P. falciparum the most precarious). The disease is transmitted from person to person through bites of infected female anopheles mosquitoes that act as vectors. Malaria is preventable and treatable.[74] In 2016, almost half of the world's populace were at risk of malaria. The majority of mortality and malaria cases are reported in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on the World Malaria Report published in November 2017, 216 million cases of malaria were reported in 2016, as opposed to 211 million cases in the previous year. An estimated 445,000 deaths from malaria was reported in 2016.[75] Medicinal plants have been employed in the treatment of malaria for many years and are the source of the two main categories (quinine and artemisinin derivatives) of recent antimalarial drugs. Medicinal plants are an important and sustainable source for malaria treatment, particularly in areas where accessibility to and affordability of antimalarial drugs are a problem.[76] Okokon et al.[21] reported significant antiplasmodial activity with the seed and leaf extracts of T. occidentalis during early and established infections. The seed extract exhibited schizontocidal activity. Antiplasmodic activity of fluted pumpkin was also validated by Adegbolagun et al.[37] who documented a reduction in parasitemia within 48 hours, when Plasmodium berghei berghei-infected albino mice were administered aqueous extract of T. occidentalis alone or in combination with artesunate.

Hepatoprotective activity

Being one of the largest organs in the human body,[77] the liver plays a key role in the regulation of variegated processes which include metabolism, storage, secretion, and detoxification of endogenous and exogenous compounds.[78] Hepatocytes are the functional cells of the liver.[79] Globally, liver disorders are a major problem. Orthodox drugs employed in the treatment of liver diseases are sometimes ineffective and can have grave untoward effects.[80] In addition, the treatment interventions are usually too expensive for resource-poor countries. Herbal medicines constitute a group of therapeutic agents with low-side effect profile. In recent times, researchers are paying more attention to plant-derived medicines for the treatment of liver diseases.[81] Some researchers have established the hepatoprotective potency of T. occidentalis. According to Oboh,[22] the aqueous extract of fluted pumpkin was more effective than the ethanolic extract in protecting hepatocytes against garlic-induced oxidative stress. Nwanna and Oboh [34] in their work found that both soluble-free and bound phenolic extracts of the leaves protected hepatocytes from oxidative stress. However, soluble-free phenolic extract showed significantly higher hepatoprotective activity compared to bound phenolic extract. The hepatoprotective property of fluted pumpkin may be attributed to its rich phenolic content as reported by Oboh et al.[23]

Antimicrobial activity

Resistant or multi-resistant strains of microorganisms are constantly emerging despite the existence of potent antibiotics, thus imposing the need for the development of novel drugs with superior antimicrobial action. Therapeutic agents from plants serve as templates for the development of more efficacious drugs with reduced toxicity.[82] The investigation of Oyewole and Abalaka [15] showed that the ethanolic extract of T. occidentalis leaves were bactericidal against Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhii. Oboh et al.[23] documented the inhibitory action of fluted pumpkin leaf extract on some members of the Enterobacteriaceae family (E. coli, Pseudomonas aeroginosa, and Proteus sp.). In furtherance, the work of Oboh et al.[23] demonstrated that the aqueous leaf extract inhibited the growth of Salmonella typhii.

Antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activity

Pain is a complex sensory episode associated with avoidance motor reflexes and autonomic output alterations.[83] It could be nociceptive, inflammatory, neuropathic, and functional, generated by different neurobiological pathways.[83] Globally, antiinflammatory drugs that are nonsteroidal in origin are used for the treatment of pain, inflammation, and fever, as well as for heart and blood vessel protection. Nevertheless, they are often associated with significant side effects, which include renal damage, gastric ulcer, bronchospasm, and cardiac abnormalities, consequently limiting their usage.[84] Since antiquity, medicinal plants have been utilized as safe antiinflammatory remedies.[85] Plant-derived antiinflammatory agents explored for their curative properties include compounds belonging to different groups of phytochemicals such as glycosides, terpenoids, alkaloids, polysaccharides, flavonoids, cannabinoids, phenolics, and steroids.[86] The antiinflammatory and antinociceptive properties of T. occidentalis have been validated by several researchers. The findings of Oluwole et al.[24] revealed that carrageenan-induced edema in the subplantar hind paw of adult male albino rats was significantly repressed by the methanolic extract of fluted pumpkin. Fractions and seed extract of T. occidentalis have also been reported to exhibit significant antiinflammatory action against xylene- and egg albumin-induced edema in mice ear.[32] According to Akindele at al.,[43] fluted pumpkin hydroethanolic leaf extract inhibited acetic acid-induced writhing in a dose-dependent manner. In the same investigation, Akindele et al.[43] demonstrated that the extract significantly repressed the development rat paw edema in the three phases of carrageenan test, with antiinflammatory activity most apparent in the third phase. T. occidentalis contains nonsteroidal molecules. Such nonsteroidal compounds are favoured as antiinflammatory agents compared to their steroidal counterparts which are known to cause various contraindications like atherosclerosis, hypertension, and osteoporosis.[24]

Antianemic and hematological improvement activity

Anemia is common blood disorder that affects people of all age groups.[35] It is marked by reduced red blood cell (RBC) count or packed cell volume (PCV) and hemoglobin (Hb) levels.[87] Iron deficiency-induced anemia negatively affects motor and cognitive development, thus results in fatigue, and low productivity. During parturition, it may be linked with reduced birth weight and increased risk of maternal and perinatal death.[88],[89] In 2013, iron deficiency anemia accounted for approximately 90,000 deaths in both sexes of all age groups in developing nations.[90] Anemia is one of the several maladies asserted to have been successfully treated with plant principles by herb doctors.[35] In recent past, an assortment of natural compounds from plant extracts has been studied by different researchers [91] for their antianemic activities. It was reported that consequent upon administration, the methanolic leaf extract of T. occidentalis stimulated significant erythropoietin and leukopoietin in mice.[47] Atabo et al.[44] demonstrated that leaf, seed, and stem extracts of fluted pumpkin have the capacity to lower endogenous methemoglobin (metHb) concentration by converting metHb to Hb at a high rate. Ogbe et al.[35] found that oral daily dose of T. occidentalis showed significant antianemic activity in phenylhydrazine-induced anemia in rabbits. Significant increase in Hb was also reported by Iweala and Obidoa.[30] Dina et al.[26] documented the hematinic activity of the aqueous crude extract. According to the findings of Alada,[25] preparations of fluted pumpkin significantly increased PCV, Hb concentrations, RBC, and white blood cell (WBC) counts. The antianemic property of T. occidentalis extracts validates its use in folklore medicine for the treatment of anemia.[35] Fluted pumpkin has also been reported to significantly increase erythrocyte count and repress erythrocyte osmofragility in albino rats.[49] Oboh et al.[50] in their work, documented that unprocessed leaf extract of fluted pumpkin significantly suppressed the activities of enzymes associated with type-II diabetes.

Anticancer activity

Cancer is a general term for a vast group of diseases that can affect any organ of the body. The term cancer is used interchangeably with malignant tumors and neoplasms. It is characterized by rapid proliferation of aberrant cells that grow uncontrollably and can spread to invade nearby organs (A process known as metastasis). Mortality from tumors is mainly due to metastasis. As one of the leading causes of death worldwide, cancer was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015.[92] Inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables, high body mass index, lack of physical activities, alcohol, and tobacco use have been implicated as the five leading dietary and behavioural risks that cause cancer.[92] The utilization of herbal medicines in chemoprevention is considered as an ideal treatment that is efficacious with few side effects compared to orthodox drugs.[93] Tropical plants are known to be potential sources for the screening of anticancer compounds.[94] Adetutu and Tijani, 2013[38] reported the anticlastogenic property of the leaf extract of T. occidentalis in bone marrow of mice exposed to sodium arsenite. Ejike and Ezeanyika, 2011[33] studied the benign prostatic hyperplasia-inhibiting potential of the seed extract of fluted pumpkin. From their study, it was observed that diet fortified with T. occidentalis seeds repressed growth of abnormal prostatic cells. Okokon et al.[32] in their findings, demonstrated that the seed extract and fractions of fluted pumpkin exhibited significant antitumor activity against HeLa cell lines. T. occidentalis is rich in polyphenols and flavonoids which have both been documented to possess anticancer properties.[95]

Anxiolytic and sedative

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders associated with feelings of fear and anxiety. Symptoms may vary from mild to severe. Anxiety disorder is more a chronic than an episodic disorder due to the duration of symptoms experienced by people.[96] Benzodiazepines are presently the most largely prescribed drugs for anxiety disorder. Nevertheless, contraindications such as psychomotor impairment, potentiation of other central depressant drugs and dependence liability have been reported with the medical use of benzodiazepines. Medicinal plants are potential sources of novel remedies for anxiety disorders.[97] The hydroethanolic extract of T. occidentalis has been reported to possess anxiolytic activity at lower concentrations and sedative activity at higher concentrations.[39]

Renal protection activity

Over one-fifth of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 years are living with chronic kidney disease.[98] Oxidative stress has been implicated as a key factor that contributes to renal damage.[98] Antioxidants from medicinal plants have the capacity to mitigate oxidative stress-induced kidney damage by enhancing the free radical scavenging activity of antioxidant defense systems and reducing lipid peroxidation.[98] The work of Maduka et al.[48] showed that the aqueous leaf extract of T. occidentalis was capable of reversing gentamycin-induced renal damage in Wistar rats when administered concomitantly with gentamycin.

Anticonvulsant activity

Seizures are caused by excessive electrical impulses in a group of cells located in different parts of the brain. It can range from brief lapses of attention or muscle jerks to prolonged and severe convulsions.[99] From time immemorial, medicinal plants have been used for the treatment of epilepsy and convulsive disorders.[100] Albeit different kinds of anticonvulsant drugs are available for the treatment of convulsion, they are not suitable due to their side effects and interactions. Several medicinal plants have been investigated for their anticonvulsant activity.[101] According to Akindele et al.,[42] fluted pumpkin ethanolic leaf extract exhibited anticonvulsant and muscle relaxation properties in mouse models.

   Conclusion Top

African indigenous leafy vegetables possess a reservoir of healing properties that sick and recuperating persons can take advantage of.[102] Currently, the use of herbal remedies for the treatment of diseases is gaining popularity. Drugs obtained from botanical sources have been demonstrated to be efficacious, with low side effect profiles compared to their synthetic analogs. This review has highlighted the many potentials that T. occidentalis has to offer as a medicinal plant. As the search for potent medicines from herbal sources continues to attract growing interests, future prospects would be to identify, isolate, and elucidate the structure of pharmaceutical principles responsible for the curative properties of fluted pumpkin. Furthermore, the mechanisms by which these compounds exert their therapeutic effects is another area of research that would be worth investigating.

Financial support and sponsorship

The authors are thankful to the Management of Covenant University for the financial support provided.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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