The Therapeutic Effects Of Red Palm Oil Tree: Plants are of great importance in the environment and to the living things. They help in conserving soil fertility, prevention of erosion, recycling of oxygen and water. They also provide shade, seeds, fruits, timber, vegetables and medicines for man and his livestock.
Traditional Herbal Medicine, Naturopathy, Aromatherapy etc forms the aspect of their medicinal uses. According to WHO (2001) 80% of the world population or roughly two thirds of the world’s population, rely almost exclusively on traditional medicines using natural substances mostly derived from plants in the treatment of diseases. In African countries, this rate is much higher.
Hence, the need to study medicinal plants cannot be overemphasized for a number of reasons including
- Widespread use of plants in folk medicine
- Rescuing traditional medicinal plants and knowledge about them from imminent loss (extinction) as well as
- Their role in attaining the health for all target.
A lot of work has been undertaken to ascertain and document the medicinal properties of indigenous plants in Nigeria. Among the commonest species were the Oil Palm tree botanically known as Elaeis guineensis, Igi Ope in Yoruba, Odetin in Gún and in Igbo I think Nkwu originates from West Africa where it grows in the wild and later was developed into an agricultural crop.
Is one of most precious tree in the world due to it all encompassing uses. From the leaves to the stems, the fruits and to the roots etc.
Is dense with various therapeutic actions like:
- Immune booster
- Laxative etc
And phytochemicals like:
- Caprylic Acid
- Crude fiber
- Laurice Acid
- Myristic Acid
- Palmitic Acid
- Stearic Acid
- Capric Acid
- Linoleic Acid
- Fatty Acids
- Vitamin A or Retinol
- Vitamin E
All the above make Palm tree one of most used plant for medicinal purposes. There are many products we can get from Palm tree, apart from its medicinal uses and they are:
1. Broom, for sweeping
2. Palm wine, the type of palm wine from Palm tree is more richer than Palm wine from other source, that’s why some tribe still request for it in bride price.
Apart from it pleasurable taste, this palm-wine is good for infertility, glaucoma, urinary tract infections etc. And in traditional herbal medicine, we use it to extract various remedies. Palm-wine and Tinosporia cordifolia (Epa ikun in Yoruba) is very good for gonorrhea.
3. Palm oil, the most used oil in the world. For ages, palm oil has remained major cooking oil worldwide and it deserved to be due to it’s wonderful health benefits. It contains antioxidant properties and it can be drop directly to the eyes for eye infection due to it antibiotics contents.
In herbal traditional medicine, the oil is used traditionally for the treatment of headaches, pains, rheumatism, cardiovascular diseases, arterial thrombosis and an atherosclerosis due to its rich phyto-nutrients.
Some normally drop it in the eyes of new born babies (it has pepperish sensation though) and also rub on their body for prevention of eye diseases and body odor later in life. It has many other unscientific uses but are very effective for such usages.
To prevent future eyes disorders, one of my father in herbal medicine told me to go to big market where they are selling palm oil and ditched my finger in the spillage of oils on
ground drop it in my eyes.
4. Palm kernel oil, this is obtained from the kernels enclosed in the endocarp and can be administered as poison antidote and used externally with several other herbs as lotion for skin diseases. Palm kernel oil is applied to convulsing children to regulate their body temperature.
It can be consumed to prevent stroke caused by arteriosclerosis and hypertension. Folk remedies of oil palm also include treatment for cancer, diarrhea, dysentery, seizures and liniment.
The kernel husk can be use for cooking/smoking fish and the fruit inside can be consumed. The fruit, when have not been used for red oil is used to cure hemorrhoids permanently with Aframomom meleguta and also used for many herbal remedies for breast diseases, infertility etc.
The fruit with the kernel found on busy farm roads has a lot of uses in traditional herbal medicine against negative spirits.
5. Frond stalls are used for roofing house. Is very good for lumbago too, you will use it to measure the height of the person having the lumbago and then use it to prepare the remedy for only that person (I prefer going on chiropractic manipulation than this because it might not be generally acceptable and since am a chiropractor 💪 I don’t need to refer such case).
Furthermore, there are soft substances attached to the fronds at back, it’s very good in stopping bleeding ( external wound) just spread some into the bleeding site and more.
6. The leaves are also used for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes (leaves ethanolic extract), kidney diseases (decoction) and wound healing (pound the leaves without adding water and drop the juice in the wound).
7. Roots decoction is used in Nigeria for headaches. The pulverized roots are added to drinks for gonorrhea, menorrhagia and as a cure for bronchitis and also the root have been demonstrated in in vitro analysis to have anti-microbial activity and fungitoxicity activities due to it syringic acid, caffeic acid and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid contents.
In conclusion, Oil palm, Elaeis guineensis parts and products have been used in various parts of the world for different purposes. The traditional uses of the different parts of the plant have been well documented in many articles which we can do well to search for them and get ourselves acquainted with their various therapeutic interventions.
Virtually all the different parts of the plant have one or more therapeutic effects. The plant has been used extensively in local treatment of various ailments while the scientific uses of the plants have also been documented.
The therapeutic effects of this plant have been attributed to the abundant anti-oxidants present in various parts of the plant.
However investigations on the actual mechanisms by which the anti-oxidants of this plant and other plants perform their functions are still ongoing and that’s our primary responsibility as practitioners of natural medicine to expand ourselves more in research aspect of the profession.