Scientists find potential medical benefits in guinep

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Scientists find potential medical benefits in guinep

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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A The University of the West Indies (UWI) team of scientists and international collaborators have conducted an interdisciplinary study that found that there are potentially beneficial medicinal properties in a favourite Caribbean fruit — the guinep.

The study was published in the highly respected Nature Research Journal Scientific Reports.

The study — 'Hypotensive and antihypertensive effects of an aqueous extract from guinep fruit (Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq) in rats' — showed, among other things, that guinep reduced blood pressure in rats through its effects on cardiac output and heart rates. The study's authors noted that it did this by way of “its endothelium dependent vasorelaxation properties involving the nitric oxide (NO) and guanylyl cyclase, but not prostaglandin signaling pathways”.

The study found that the guinep extract did not show signs of toxicity, suggesting the potential for safe medical usage. These results complemented those of a prior study which established that guinep also reversed and even prevented experimentally induced damage to the muscular tissue of the heart. Advanced analysis further revealed the presence of several medicinal compounds in guinep extracts with exciting cardiovascular and biological activity responses. These included antioxidants like vitamin C and related compounds, phenolic acids, flavonoids, fatty acids (oxylipins), and terpene derivatives.

The recent study, according to a UWI release, is part of an ongoing effort by the university's scientists and international collaborators from Chile and United States to highlight the medicinal benefits of indigenous natural products and scientifically validate folkloric evidence of their properties. The effort included drawing on available scientific expertise to analyse and isolate active chemical components and deciphering the mechanisms of how these act to yield physiological or pharmaceutical benefits, whether through orthodox or alternative medicine applications.

The guinep study was led by Dr Chukwuemeka Nwokocha (Department of Basic Medical Sciences) with UWI collaborators from The Natural Products Institute, the Department of Chemistry, and the Department of Pathology.


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