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THE EFFECTS OF WATER EXTRACT OF Telfairia occidentalis ON THE GUINEA-PIG ILEUM
The effects of water extract of telfairia occidentalis on the guinea-pig ileum were studied.
Thus, the water extract of T. occidentalis can be said have acetylcholine like effects on the muscarinic receptors of the guinea-pig ileum
Telfairia occidentalis Hooker
Telfaira hooker, in the Cucurbitaceae, has only 2 species, Telfairia occidentalis Hooker of west Africa, and T. pedata (sims) Hooker of east Africa. Telfairia Occidentalis is grown along the edge of the forest zone, it does not occur wild but may be encountered as an escape from cultivation (Irvine, 1969). The crop is extensively cultivated in sourthern Nigeria spherically by the Igbos among whom it is fast becoming an important vegetable crops.
The leaves are compound, usually 3-5 foliolate and rarely 7-foliolate. Like the stems, the leaf blades and petioles are convered with multicellular hairs, which apparently help confer on the plant the drought resistance reported by Oomen and Grubben (1977). Certain nodal stipules were observed to be centres of extra floral nectar secretion. These nectar-producing glands are also abundant on the abaxial (dorsal) surfaces of the leaves especially when young. Since nectarines are known to be sites for the production of amino acids in addition to sugars (baker Baker, 1973), the high nutritive value Telfairia leaves (Oyenuga, 1968) is apparently due to the amino acids, at least in part.
The staminate plant, flowers in about 14 weeks from the date of planting, the pistillate flowers a few weeks later. The staminate flowers are borne in recemose (cluster) inflorescenences while the pestillate flowers are solitary.
The fruits of the fluted pumpkin (as Telfairia is alos called) are among the largest known, comparable in size with the fruits of Artocarpus spp. And some Lagenaria, citrullus and cucurbita spp. They may measure up to 105cm in length and 9cm in diameter. They are outwardly marked by 10 conspicous longitudinal ridges, pal green when young, but convered with a dense white wax-like convering. On maturity a yellowish ripe-epicarp is revealed. Embedded within a bright yellow fibrous endcarp are numerous seeds which may number up to 196.
Telfairia is propagated solely by seeds. In most parts of sourthern Nigeria, it is grown close to trees, fences, walls, or special platforms on which the shoots are allowed to climb freely.
It may also be grown on special mounds (as in rivers state) in much the same way as yams (Dioscorea spp.) This latter method is used when they are cultivated particularly for their leaves rather than their fruits.
The emergence of the plumule of a mature and viable seed takes 1 -2 weeks from the date of planting. However, some seeds germinate to an advanced stage even while still within the fruit. Germination is hypogeal.
Toxicity tests of several of roots and leaves of Telfairia Occidentalis were carried out by akubue, Kar and Nnachetta (180), their findings are summarized in the Tables below.
Summary of the toxicity and chemical tests on various extracts from Telfairia occidentalis root
|Extract||% Extractives||Chical test||Toxicity in rat (upto 1g/kg)|
|1. Petroleum Ether (40’ – 600c)
a) 0.68 (Bolid)
b) 6.41 (Liquid)
Bitter Principle and Resin
Summary of the toxicity and chemical tests on various extracts obtained from the dried leaves of Telfairai occidentalis
|Extract||% Extractives||Chemical tests||Toxicity in mice (up to 100mg/kg)|
|1. Petroleum Ether
Toxic (500mg/kg) i.p.
Their results indicate that the root of Telfairia Occidentalis contain substances which are lethal to small animals. The leaves which were obtained during the dry season, were the old, non-edible ones, they were also found to be toxic to the animals. The use of fluted pumkin are numerous and varied, it is grown primary as a leafy vegetable in southern Nigeria. The pleasant-tasting leaves and tender shoots are picked continuously. The leaves are added to soups along with egusi (citrullus colocynthis) seeds, or sometimes cooked with yam and plan oil. When compared with other tropical vegetables, its nutritive value is high, for example, it is rich in oil (about 13%) and its protein content (21%) is higher than that of water leaf (Talimum), Okra (Abelmoschus) and cassava leaves which are other commonly used leafy vegetables.
The large, highly nutritious sees (Joinson and Johnson, 1976) are roasted or boiled and eaten like the seeds are sometimes powdered and added to thicken soups in the same way that the seeds of citrullus colocynthis are used. The oil content of the cotyledons is high and upon extraction may be used as cooking oil.
It has been suggested to further explore the possible use of the4 leaves as folder because they are very much sought after by sheep and goats (Oyenuga, 1968). Also suggested is the possibility of using the non-drying oil in the seeds in soap making (Irvine, 1969).
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