In a new study, researchers found that the pulp juice and seed of African star apple contain chemical substances that can protect from developing malaria and so its consumption should be encouraged especially in pregnancy.

The researchers said these substances possess both suppressive and curative properties for malaria, and thus could be valuable in pregnancy where it may possibly serve as an intermittent preventive therapy against malaria.

Pregnant women are at increased risk for malaria infection. Commonly, malaria causes anaemia in the mother, and low birth weight in the unborn baby. The risk inherent from untreated malaria in pregnancy outweighs the adverse effects arising from treatment.

For the study, researchers evaluated the suppressive and curative antimalarial properties of extracts made from pulp juice and seed of African star apple in Albino mice inoculated with Plasmodium berghei.

The 2017 study documented by the journal, Anc Sci Life involved Chibueze Peter Ihekwereme; Frances Kaosiso Okoye; Sandra Chinenye Agu; and Angus Nnamdi Oli, all at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

The seed extract suppressed early infection by 72.97 percent and 97.30 percent, at 500 and 1000 mg/kg, respectively. The pulp juice recorded 72.97 percent and 81.08 percent, at 500 and 1000 mg/kg, respectively. At 500 mg/kg dose, the level of parasite control on Day seven was the same (96.10 percent) for both seed and pulp.

On comparison, Artesunate produced an average percentage reduction of 93.24 percent on day four and 98.64 percent on day seven, similar to that of 1000 mg/kg of C. albidum seed extract.

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