Scientific classification of Morinda lucida Benth Family: Rubiaceae

  • Subfamily:       Rubioideae 
  • Tribe:              Morindeae
  • Genus:               Morinda
  • Species:              Morinda lucida Benth

Vernacular names English: Brimstone trees. Igala: Ọgẹlẹ

Yoruba: Oruwo Ibo: Nfia Ebira: Ugigo

The family, Rubiaceae 

Rubiaceae is a family of flowering plants, variously called the madder family, bedstraw family or coffee family. The family takes its name from the madder genus Rubia. The plants included in the family are Cofea arabica, Morinda lucida, Cinchona (whose bark contains quinine). The Rubiaceae is one of the five largest plant families, including Orchidaceae, Compositae, Leguminosae, and Gramineae. The family includes trees, shrubs, climbers, herbaceous plants and ant plants. Rubiaceae is subdivided into four subfamilies, namely Rubioideae, Cinchonoideae, Ixoroideae and Antirheoideae with about 50 tribes. According to the world Rubiaceae checklist, there are 611 genera and 13,143 species (Davis et al., 2009). Psychotria, with 1834 species is the largest genus in the family. With many large and poorly defined genera, the family was not extensively researched as others. According to Karou et al. (2011). Rubiaceae are used as ornamental trees and in African folk medicine to treat several diseases including malaria, hepatitis, cough, hypertension, diabetes and sexual weakness. Following leads supplied by traditional healers, biological screening have shown many of the plants to possess antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antihypertension, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. The family consists of many genera that serve as valuable medicinal plants. According to Karou et al. (2011), great attention has been paid to species such as Nauclea latifolia, Morinda lucida, Mitragyna inerms and Crossopteryx febrifuga but these plants have not been systematically studied and so, several compounds should be waiting to be discovered.

Phytochemicals are non-nutrient plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing and curative compounds capable of bringing about physiological changes((Liu A G, Volker S E, Jeffery E H, Erdman J W Jr (2009). Feeding tomato and broccoli powders enriched with bioactives improves bioactivity markers in rats. Agric. Food Chem. 1: 22-28)) ((Abo K A, Ogunleye V O, Ashidi J S (1991). Antimicrobial potential of sporidias mombin, croton zambericus and zygotritonia crocea. Pharmacol. Res. 5 (13) : 494-499)) Woody plants and herbs synthesize and accumulate in their cells large variety of these phytochemicals ((Close D C, Arthur C (2002). Rethinking the role of many plant phenolics protection from photodamage. Oikos, 99: 166-172)).Phytochemicals have been isolated and characterizedfrom fruits such as grapes and apples, vegetables such as broccoli and onion, spices such asturmeric, beverages such as green tea and red wine, as well as many other sources((Cousins D, Huffman M A (2002). Medicinal Properties Evaluation. African Studies Monographs 23 (2) : 65-89)). These phytochemicals in traditional medicinal plants are capable of curing ailments like fever, asthma, constipation, oesophageal cancer and hypertension etc.Different plant parts and components have been employed in the treatment of infectious pathologiesin the respiratory system, urinary tract, gastrointestinal and biliary systems, as well as onthe skin ((Adekunle A S, Adekunle O C (2009). Preliminary Assessment of Antimicrobial Properties of Aqueous Extract of Plants against Infectious Diseases. Med. 1 (3): 20-24))


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