Today, researches are focusing on the discovery of new therapeutic substances of natural origin with possible low or no toxicity to human, animal and environment, based on ethnomedical and ethnoveterinary practices.Vernonia amygdalina is a shrub that has been commonly known as bitter leaf due the bitter taste of the leaves. It is widely used as a daily green vegetable or herb to treat malaria and diabetes. The potential of V. amygdalina was first noted when scientists observed chimpanzees use the pith of this shrub for self-deparasitization. Since that discovery, subsequent researches had unveiled more and more bioactivities possessed by different extracts of this plant such as antidiabetic, antibacterial, antimalaria, antifungal, antioxidant, liver protection and cytotoxic effects which are beneficial to health. Compounds including steroid glucosides, sesquiterpene lactones and flavonoids which contributed to its bitter taste and bioactivites have also been isolated from this plant. Toxicology studies documented on this plant shows that V. amygdalina has low or no toxicity thereby supporting the safe use of this plant for the benefits of health.
Keywords: Vernonia amygdalina, bioactivities, antidiabetic, antioxidant, liver protection.
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