Garden Egg: Another Way of Beating Glaucoma and Heart Diseases.
By Chukwuma Muanya
NIGERIAN researchers have demonstrated how a meal of garden egg would be of benefit to patients suffering from raised intraocular pressure (glaucoma) and convergence insufficiency, as well as in diseases associated with hyperlipidemia such as ishcaemic heart diseases and arteriosclerosis.
Botanically called Solanum melongena, garden egg or bitter tomato is an economic flowering plant belonging to the family Solanaceae and widely distributed throughout the temperate and tropical regions. Members are mostly herbaceous plants, and the fruit is berry and the seeds have large endosperm and are grown mainly for food and medicinal purposes.
Several cultivars of Solanum fruits (Garden egg or egg plant) are found throughout Nigeria and cultivated domestically. Phytochemical analysis indicates that Solanum contains steroid alkaloid flavonoids. Solanium fruits contain approximately 92.5 per cent of water, one per cent of protein, 0.3 per cent fat and six per cent carbohydrate.
Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve and involves a loss of retinal ganglion cells in a characteristic pattern. It is a type of optic neuropathy. Raised intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for developing glaucoma (above 22 mmHg or 2.9 kPa).
One person may develop nerve damage at a relatively low pressure, while another person may have high eye pressure for years and yet never develop damage. Untreated glaucoma leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve and resultant visual field loss, which can progress to blindness.
Hyperlipidemia is an elevation of lipids (fats) in the bloodstream. These lipids include cholesterol, cholesterol esters (compounds), phospholipids and triglycerides. They are transported in the blood as part of large molecules called lipoproteins.
Ischemic heart disease is a spectrum of diseases of the heart caused by decreased oxygen supply to the myocardium (muscle of the heart). Ischemic heart disease is a sequela of coronary artery disease.
Arteriosclerosis refers to stiffening of arteries. Arteriosclerosis is a general term describing any hardening (and loss of elasticity) of medium or large arteries (from the Greek Arterio, meaning artery, and sclerosis, meaning hardening).
It has been shown that the prevalence of atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease is on the increase in the world and recently in Africa.
Researchers suggest that the clinical consequences of these conditions are serious and exert major research efforts to improve knowledge of its pathogenesis and thereby provide a more rationed approach to its prophylaxis and therapy.
The study on garden egg and glaucoma is titled "Effects of Solanum melon¬gena (garden egg) on some visual func¬tions of visually active Igbos of Nigeria". The study was published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology by S. A. Igwe of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Abia State University, Uturu; Dora N. Akunyili of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu; and C. Ogbogu of the School of Optometry, Abia State University, Uturu.