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Wanton Deforestation Threatens Anti Malaria Tree Species in Kenya


Health & Wellness  (tags: disease, health, healthcare, medicine, prevention, research, protection, safety, risks, warning, treatment, science, society, children, family, ethics, environment )

JL
- 384 days ago - standardmedia.co.ke
Increased deforestation and over exploitation of trees species that have anti-malarial qualities has put them at risk of extinction.



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JL A. (269)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 2:10 pm
Wanton deforestation threatens anti malaria tree species in Kenya

Updated Tuesday, March 26 2013 at 00:00 GMT+3

By Alice Muriranja

Increased deforestation and over exploitation of trees species that have anti-malarial qualities has put them at risk of extinction.

Scientists are now warning that their potential to treat malaria could be lost forever, even as malaria continues to be among the leading killers in the country. In Kenya, more than half of the population at risk of infection and over 34,000 children dying annually due to lack of doctors or drugs.

Medicinal species

In a research released by Kenya Medical Research Institute’s (Kemri) Centre for Traditional Medicine and Drug Research, 22 trees species and shrubs were identified by traditional medicinal practitioners and scientists as having the potential for further study.

While not all species of anti-malarial trees are at risk, wanton deforestation of most species was putting efforts at making a breakthrough in malaria treatment even harder.

Without clear research or proper guidance for their sustainable use, many of the plants with medicinal properties are being over-exploited and are in danger of extinction.

One such plant is Zanthoxylum chalybeum, commonly known as “Knobwood.” It grows in dry woodlands or grasslands of eastern and southern Africa and has been found to have anti-malarial properties that need to be further explored.

An extraction process from leaves, bark or root is used to effectively treat malarial fever in many communities. Other uses for the plant include infusing tea with the leaves, making toothbrushes, and using the seeds as beads in traditional garments.

The African wild olive, Olea europaea Africana, also threatened in East Africa due to over-exploited for timber, contains organic extracts with significant levels of anti-malarial activity. It is used to treat malarial and other fevers.

Treatment of worms

The plant also acts as a natural laxative to expel parasites or tapeworms. With new research revealing that trees and shrubs in East Africa that have promising anti-malarial qualities are at risk of extinction, scientists are warning that “We’ve only scratched the surface on the potential value of these plants.’ Although widely used by farmers and people in rural communities, most of this information has never been collected in a comprehensive way by researchers.” World Agroforestry Centre (Icraf) is doing its part preserving these trees and shrubs by holding samples of most of the species with anti-malarial qualities in its gene bank and growing these trees in plant nurseries at its headquarters in Nairobi.

The Icraf gene bank holds close to 200 species, of which at least 30 are known to have antimalarial properties.

Icraf scientists conducting research across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania gathered data after they met with approximately 180 herbalists and 100 malaria patients in 30 separate communities. Kemri supported the process by supplying the information about each plant’s chemical compound make-up — research that is the result of a sophisticated laboratory process developed by Kemri for testing natural products.

One of the drugs most widely used historically to treat malaria, quinine, was derived from the bark of the Cinchona tree in South America. Today, the world’s newest, most-effective therapeutic treatment for malaria also comes from a plant, the Artemisia annua shrub.

However, access to malaria therapies based on artemisinin compounds remains low—around 15 per cent in most parts of Africa and well below the World Health Organizations’ (WHO) 80 per cent target.

Community boost

Beyond the complicated process to extract and test anti-malarial compounds from these trees, scientists have struggled to track or replicate the treatment process as it occurs in communities.

Besides the plant itself, there may be other factors contributing to a malaria patient’s recovery. For example, a healer may combine one plant with another that changes its chemical compound and boosts its effectiveness.

Unless more is done to understand these processes in the field, scientists in laboratories and researchers at major drug companies will lose that knowledge.
 

Angelika R. (143)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 3:01 pm
What a damn shame to see that also here exploitation and profit matters more than health. I wouldn't be surprised if even in Kenya trees must make room for oilpalms.. Only from those they cannot create malaria remedies.
I am quite amazed that other than that one plant you recently posted about, there are actually 22 other trees and shrubs useful for Malaria treatment. Thx JL
 

Christeen Anderson (419)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 3:18 pm
This is very sad.
 

JL A. (269)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 3:28 pm
You are welcome Angelika.
You cannot currently send a star to Christeen because you have done so within the last day.
 

Carol D. (98)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 3:46 pm
This was where i had malaria What a shame even places like this now are suffering from deforestation and to get rid of plants and trees etc that could help Malaria is a sin


Noted thanks
 

JL A. (269)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 4:17 pm
You are welcome Carol. You cannot currently send a star to Carol because you have done so within the last day.
 

Holly Lawrence (473)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 4:45 pm
Thanks right - just keep destroying and taking away all the goo dit provides:(
 

SuSanne P. (177)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 4:55 pm
TY although this is a tragedy. All plants, trees, weeds have a purpose which is medicinal in nature (IMO). This saddens me so much knowing how essential this is to a country plagued.
"ONLY WHEN THE LAST TREE HAS DIED
AND THE LAST RIVER POISONED
AND THE LAST FISH HAS BEEN CAUGHT
WILL WE REALIZE WE CANNOT EAT MONEY". Cree
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 5:03 pm
Trees, trees and more trees please. They are the most magnificent creature and I try to plant at least two a day in the Niagara peninsula; sometimes Mexico and other places around the world. We can never have enough trees.
 

Terry V. (30)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 5:09 pm
We are MURDERING our planet, thus ourselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W74aPF5cH6U
 

SuSanne P. (177)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 5:15 pm
Send a Green Star to Terry V.

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last day.
 

SuSanne P. (177)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 5:21 pm
Send a Green Star to Terry V.

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
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JL A. (269)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 9:20 pm
You are welcome Holly and SuSanne. Thanks for posting the video link Terry.
You cannot currently send a star to Holly because you have done so within the last day.
You cannot currently send a star to Theodore because you have done so within the last day.
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last day.
You cannot currently send a star to SuSanne because you have done so within the last day.
 

Bette M. (91)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 10:23 pm
Wherever you go there once was a forest.
Plant and protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.
 

Kerrie G. (135)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 3:39 am
Noted, thanks.
 

Ro H. (0)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 5:06 am
ty
 

paul m. (93)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 7:31 am

These trees are inportment so why can't they be protected ?
 

JL A. (269)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 8:33 am
You are welcome Kerrie and Ro.
You cannot currently send a star to paul because you have done so within the last day.
 

Shanti S. (0)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 12:38 pm
Thank you.
 

JL A. (269)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 12:43 pm
You are welcome Shanti
 

Alicia v. (181)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 3:46 pm
Shared.
 

Julie F. (30)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 6:27 pm
noted
 

Gloria picchetti (279)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 10:00 pm
Thank you.
 

Natasha Salgado (455)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 10:33 pm
Just a shame. So disappointing that this government cares only for the $$$$. Thx JL!!
 

Patricia H. (477)
Friday March 29, 2013, 2:15 am
sadly noted
 

JL A. (269)
Friday March 29, 2013, 9:10 am
You cannot currently send a star to Alicia because you have done so within the last day.
You are welcome Gloria
 

Ro H. (0)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 4:43 am
ty
 

JL A. (269)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 7:41 am
You are welcome Ro
 

Dale O. (176)
Tuesday April 2, 2013, 3:42 am
Frightening and so very short sighted, deforestation is a threat to us all.
 

JL A. (269)
Tuesday April 2, 2013, 8:35 am
You cannot currently send a star to Dale because you have done so within the last day.
 

Sergio Padilla (62)
Monday April 15, 2013, 10:58 am
Noted
 

s M. (0)
Thursday April 25, 2013, 4:59 am
For want of nets is pure lethargy towards the populations of every African/Indian/Asian leader. They cost pennies and have been around for years now! Tell those leaders to get organising from factory to person and educating about the facts - preventative medicine leaders! Stop being lazy, improve health and work days and get your countries on the road to improved conditions for your poor. Or are you afraid of having a more dynamic because healthier population, no weakened by regular malaria attacks - you would need to attend to your abilities of governance then!
http://nothingbutnets.net/ http://coverafrica.org/
 
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