Summary of Aframomum melegueta Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details Aframomum melegueta Alligator Pepper, Grains of Paradise is a herb where the seeds have traditional usage mostly as a pungent spice to season foods with. This herb is botanically in the same family as Ginger and shares many bioactives, and has been medicinally speaking traditionally used mostly for digestive and intestinal health with some other sporadic uses not related to food. When looking at the evidence, most of it is preliminary and a full compositional analysis does not appear to exist at this moment in time. It seems very related to Ginger, and has many of the same bioactives. Aframomum melegueta appears to have some anti-diabetic and anti-obese mechanisms, although neither are remarkable the one human study conducted in humans has confirmed an increase in metabolic rate, but required both cold exposure as well as brown fat on the person in question as prerequisites. The aphrodisiac and testosterone boosting properties are both preliminary with the former not appearing too potent, relative to other herbs and the anti-estrogen mechanisms are still fairly preliminary and of unknown practical relevance.
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Additionally, the seeds contain gingerols and related compounds that may be useful against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and inflammation. Aim of study A day sub-chronic toxicity study in male and female Sprague Dawley rats was conducted to evaluate the safety of a Grains of Paradise extract. Materials and methods An ethanolic extract of the seeds was evaluated for toxicological effect on rats.
There was a corresponding increase in alkaline phosphatase with no signs of steatosis or cirrhosis. At the same doses, there was a significant decrease in blood glucose in male rats.
Conclusions This study shows that Grains of Paradise extract may be useful as a treatment for diabetes, however liver toxicity should be considered. Keywords: Aframomum melegueta, gingerols, liver toxicity, alkaline phosphatase, dietary supplement 1.
It is a herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 1. In the region of West Africa the seeds are used as a spice for flavoring food and have a wide range of ethnobotanical uses.
They are used as a remedy for treating stomachache, diarrhea, and snakebite Akendengue and Louis, ; Umukoro and Ashorobi, Also it has been shown that aqueous seed extract had anti-inflammatory and peripheral analgesic activity Umukoro and Ashorobi, Grains of Paradise are very rich in the non-volatile pungent compounds gingerols, shogaols, paradols, and related compounds Connell, ; Connell and McLachlan, ; Tackie et al.
Similar compounds are found in many species of the Zingiberaceae family including ginger Zingiber officinale Roscoe , turmeric Curcuma longa Linnaeus , and cardamom Amomum cardamomum Linnaeus. Gingerols have reported blood glucose lowering Al-Amin et al.
Therefore, toxicology studies were initiated to evaluate the safety of using Grains of Paradise extract as a botanical therapeutic. Materials and methods 2. Struwe, Rutgers University. Data were collected and analyzed with the Waters Millennium v. The mobile phase consisted of 2 components: solvent A 0. The mobile phase flow was adjusted at 0. The gradient points were for time 0.
A column equilibration time of 15 min was set between subsequent injections. Fifty Hsd: Sprague Dawley SD rats 25 males and 25 females were obtained from Harlan, Haslett, Michigan and were designated by the supplier to be 6—7 weeks old.
The rats were individually housed in suspended stainless steel caging with mesh floors which conform to the size recommendations in the most recent National Institute of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Animals were allowed to acclimate to the environment for 1 week and were supplied with PMI Lab Diet Purina Certified Rodent Meal and filtered tap water ad libitum during the acclimation and study periods. The dose selection was based on the planned human exposure in the potential nutritional supplement.
Individual doses were calculated based on the most recent weekly body weights of each animal. Extract concentrations were adjusted each week to maintain the targeted dose level for each animal i.
The control animals received the vehicle only at the same volume as the test groups. The test article was administered as a 2. On each day of dosing, for each concentration, an appropriate amount of the test article was weighed into a 50 ml volumetric flask.
To facilitate the mixing process, approximately 5 g of ethanol was added to the flask and vortexed. The mixture was diluted to 50 ml with corn oil and vortexed again. Dose preparations were used within approximately 2 h and maintained on a magnetic stir plate during administration. The first day of administration was considered day 1 of the study. Cage-side observations were made daily during the study and any abnormal findings recorded. Detailed observations were recorded on day 1 prior to administration of test article and weekly thereafter on all animals.
These observations were conducted both while handling the animal and with the animal placed in an open field.
Observations included, but were not limited to: changes in skin, fur, eyes, and mucous membranes, occurrence of secretions and excretions and autonomic activity e. Changes in gait, posture and response to handling as well as the presence of clonic or tonic movements, stereotypes e. Animals were fasted overnight prior to blood collection on day 1, 15, 29 and prior to terminal sacrifice on day Individual food consumption was measured, adjusting for spillage, and recorded weekly to coincide with body weight measurements.
Mean body weight gains were calculated for each group at each interval and for the overall days 1—28 testing interval. Animals were also weighed immediately prior to sacrifice fasted body weight for calculation of organ to body weight and organ to brain weight ratios.
Blood samples for hematology except prothrombin time and partial thromboplastin time and clinical chemistry from the test and control groups were collected via orbital sinus bleeding under isoflurane anesthesia on study day Fasting blood glucose was measured on days 1, 15, and Blood samples used to determine the prothrombin time and partial thromboplastin time were collected via the inferior vena cava under isofurane anesthesia for all groups at terminal sacrifice. All blood samples were evaluated for quality by visual examination prior to analysis.
Upon completion of clinical chemistry, remaining serum samples were pooled for serology. Pooled serum samples from test animals were evaluated for the absence of viruses near the end of the in-life portion of the study. Isoflurane 5—10ml was placed on gauze and administered to the rats enclosed in a bell jar.
The animals were placed on the perforated surface above the gauze so they were never in contact with the liquid. The animals were monitored until anesthetized by checking for the absence of reflexes pain response to pinch test and that respiration was even and unlabored.
Blood collection was performed via the vena cava. Once this procedure was done the exsanguination was performed. All rats were sacrificed on day Gross necropsy included an initial examination of external surfaces and orifices, as well as the cranial, thoracic and abdominal cavities and their contents.
Rats were examined for gross lesions. The liver, kidneys, adrenals, brain, heart, thymus, spleen, uterus, ovaries, testes, and epididymides of all animals sacrificed by design were weighed wet as soon as possible after dissection to avoid drying. Histological examination was performed on the preserved organs and tissues of the animals from the control groups and test high dose groups.
The fixed tissues were trimmed, processed, embedded in paraffin, sectioned, placed on glass microscope slides, and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Slide preparation and histopathological assessments were performed by Histo-Scientific Research Laboratories.
Results 3. They are putatively identified as 6-gingerol, 6-shogaol and 6-paradol. These compounds make up the bulk of extract and were most likely responsible for the biological activity. The most abundant were putatively identified as -gingerol
Characteristics[ edit ] Aframomum melegueta is an herbaceous perennial plant native to swampy habitats along the West African coast. The pungent, peppery taste of the seeds is caused by aromatic ketones , such as 6 -paradol systematic name: 1- 4-hydroxymethoxyphenyl -decanone. Essential oils , which are the dominating flavor components in the closely related cardamom ,  occur only in traces. The stem at times can be short, and usually shows signs of scars and dropped leaves.