Garden eggs and its medical uses
Garden egg [Solanum aethiopicum (S. aethiopicum)]also known as African eggplant, Ethiopian eggplant or scarlet eggplant is a vegetable crop belonging to the family Solanaceae.
The genus Solanum includes both the edible and non-edible species. The family is one of the largest and most important families of vegetable grown for their edible fruits.
They are native to sub-Saharan Africa and are essentially tropical in origin. S. aethiopicum is of high edible quality. The fruits can be eaten fresh without cooking and have a long history of consumption in West Africa.
Depending on the type, either the leaves and young shoots or the fruits or both are eaten; they may be consumed raw, dried, cooked or in salad form.
The fruit is berry; the seeds have large endosperm, and are grown mainly for food and medicinal purposes. Inflammation is a complex biological response of vascular tissues to invasion by an infectious agent, antigen challenge, physical, chemical or traumatic damage.
Although inflammation is a defence mechanism, the complex events and mediators involved in the inflammatory reactions can induce, maintain or aggravate many diseases.
The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) possess anti-inflammatory action for treating several inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal disorders, but prolonged use of NSAIDS has some associated adverse effects such as nausea, fluid retention, bleeding and gastric lesion.
Therefore, new anti-inflammatory drugs devoid of these side effects are being researched on as alternatives to NSAIDS.
Report has shown that S. aethiopicum possesses ulcer protecting properties against experimentally induced ulcers in rats. They are used to treat colic; severe pain resulting in periodic spasm in an abdominal organ and blood pressure.
Other reports on the pharmacological activity of the plant show that it has purgative sedative and anti-diabetic effects but none have reported on its anti-inflammatory activity.
Some observations and oral reports though, show that people with high consumption of garden egg have relief in arthritic pains and swelling. Lack of scientific data to support these claims prompted this study which was therefore aimed at assessing the possible anti-inflammatory activity of garden egg (S. aethiopicum) in both acute and chronic inflammatory models using rats.