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J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 4;96(1-2):49-55.

Ethnomedicinal uses of Momordicacharantia (Cucurbitaceae) in Togo and relation to its phytochemistry and biological activity.

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Biology Department, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont., Canada K1N 6N5.


Investigation of the traditional uses of Momordica charantia (Cucurbitaceae) in Togo (West Africa) showed that it is one of the most important local medicinal plants both for ritual and ethnomedical practices. There was a high degree of consensus (>50%) for use in the treatment of gastrointestinal and viral disease among 47 groups of village informants in the general population, while 19 traditional healers reported a larger and broader set of uses. The use by informants in Gaur and Kwa language groups was not significantly different. Lyophilized Momordica charantia extracts prepared from accessions collected in Togo showed high antiviral activity (<5 microg/ml) against Sindbis and Herpes simplex type 1 viruses and anthelmintic activity against Caenorhabditis elegans at 500 microg/ml. Presence in the leaves of the triterpene glycosides momordicins I and II follows biological activity of the plant extracts. However, momordicins were found to be anthelmintic but not antiviral. Traditional healers collected plants in dry areas where momordicin content is greater.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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