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Did You Know?
By D.P. Agrawal


Did you know that the common drumstick is a cornucopia of medicinal properties?

Effectiveness of medicines depends upon their fast absorption. Recent studies have shown that the common drumstick helps such absorption of medicine. They have shown that drumstick is a bioenhancer, molecules that do not possess drug activity of their own but promote the uptake of drugs in combination therapy. The discovery is yet another addition in the anti-illness armoury of drumsticks. Almost all parts of the plant have medic­inal properties. For instance, the paste of the leaves can help fight cancer.

The scientists at the Lucknow based Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) have isolated a molecule from pods of drumstick (Moringa oleifera) that enhances the absorption of drugs and nutrients by humans. The newly discovered molecule, called niaziridin, improves the absorp­tion of drugs, particularly antibiotics such as rifampicin, tetracycline and ampicillin, through the gastro-intestinal membrane. It can also augment the uptake of nutrients like vitamin B12. This makes niaziridin a good bioenhancer. The CIMAP has filed a patent application for it with the US Patent and Trademark Office on October 7, 2004.

Niaziridin would particularly prove useful in tuberculosis (TB) therapy. Patients normally have to undergo the therapy for six to eight months. The main anti-TB drugs such as rifampicin and iso­niazid exhibit significant toxicity in the mammalian systems. Gastric irritation and hepatitis are some of the major side­ effects of rifampicin, whereas nausea, jaundice and lack of appetite are associat­ed with isoniazid. If naiziridin is used in combination with these drugs, the side effects can be minimised. Moreover, the cost of treatment will also reduce.


T.V. Jayan. 2005. Drumstick is a good bioenhancer. Down to Earth 13 (14): 24.



Posted February 17th 2006

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