Full Project – Evaluation of the immunomodulatory effect of oral administration of the methanol extract of gongronema latifolium (utazi) in wistar albino rats

Full Project – Evaluation of the immunomodulatory effect of oral administration of the methanol extract of gongronema latifolium (utazi) in wistar albino rats

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Gongronema latifolium is a herbaceous, non-woody plant from the family of Asclepi-adaceae. It is widespread in the tropical and subtropical regions especially in Africa and South America, with a moderate representation in Northern and South Eastern Asia (Osuagwu et al., 2013) In south eastern and South Western Nigeria Gongronema latifolium is commonly called “utazi” and “arokeke”, respectively (Ugochukwu and Babady, 2002; Ugochukwu et al., 2003). Gongronema latifolium is utilizable in many different ways in different places to prepare delicacies in homes and is primarily used as spice and vegetables in traditional folk medicine. In many situations, it is part of herbal prescriptions or preparations administered by herbalist for treatment and or management of certain health challenges. Gongronema latifolium is consumed fresh, cooked or dried and applied as powdery spice. Whichever way, it carries a moderate bitter taste that contributes tremendously to its flavor.

Immunomodulatory effect of methanol extract of Gongronema latifolium (Morebise et al., 2002) has shown that it is rich in saponins and tannin amongst others (Schneider et al., 2003). Alkaloids, glycosides were identified in phytochemical analysis of the plant (Morebise et al., 2002). Traditionally, the southern part of Nigeria uses this herb in the treatment of malaria, diabetes and hypertension as well as a laxative. Some of these medicinal effect of Gongronema latifolium are due to its hypoglycemic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, hepatoprotective, hypotensive and hypolipidemic properties (Nwangwu et al., 2009; Morebise et al., 2002; Nwanjo et al., 2005). Nwanjo et al., (2005) reported that the lipid per oxidative activity of the Gongronema latifolium. The study suggested that these phytochemicals found in Gongronema latifolium may influence cellular proteins with enzymic activities, possesses antioxidant properties and is able to mop up reactive oxygen species in the system. It can also be used as bittering agents in brewing to produce the characteristic flavor, foam stability and preservative properties in beer. (Onike, 2010) reported the use of the bitter vegetable (Gongronema latifolium), as substitutes for commercial hops in lager beer production. Thus Gongronema latifolium shares recognition in two principal capacities namely as a popular vegetable and as medicinal plant.


Gongronema latifolium is a climbing perennial shrub up to 5m long Gongronema latifolium. It climbs by twining around a support and can also run along the ground producing adventitious roots. The stem is hollow, soft and hairy with woody base and contains the latex. The leaves are green, simple opposite and occasionally whorled, usually without stipules and the margins are nearly always entire; petiole is about 3 cm long, blade is broadly ovate to almost circular with deeply cordase base, acuminate apex and 3 – veined basis (Mosango, 2011).


The flowers are bi-sexual small regular, yellow and fragrant. Pedical is 2 – 4mm long, hairy at apex. Corolla is tubular up to 5mm long, companulate at apex, hairy inside or not with five triangular ovate lobes, corona has five lobes which are fleshy, cream, brown at base and shorter than stamina column; stamen have five style apex. Filaments are connected into a tube; anthers are erect with membranous apical appendages; there are two pollinia per pollinarium; ovary is superior. Inflorescence has a terminal and auxiliary cymose panicle up to 13cm long (Mosango, 2011).


The fruit is a dehiscent seed pod called a follicle which is oblong – lanceolate. The colour of the fruit varied from green in small fruits to dark brown, then to black at maturity. During maturity stage, the fruit splits open length wise, along the stem releasing the seeds. The seeds are flat, coma shaped and attached to a white silky tuft (pappus) which aids dispersal. They are strongly compressed and

measure about 0.5cm in length (Mosango, 2011; Osuagwu, et al., 2013).



Gongronema latifolium(utazi) is a medicinal plant which is consumed by many people without knowing the nutrient present in it. There is need to examine the nutritional contents of this leave in order to enlighten the public about it.



Due to the valuable nature of Gongronema latifolium, this study is therefore geared towards the immunomodulatory effect of the leaf extract (methanol extract).

The aim of this study is therefore to:

  1. Analyze the immunomodulatory effect of the leaves of Gongronema latifolium
  2. Analyze the medicinal properties of the leave of Gongronema



This project is limited to the evaluation of immunomodulatory effect of the oral administration of the methanol extract of Gongronema latifolium in Wistar Albino Rats.



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Full Project – Evaluation of the immunomodulatory effect of oral administration of the methanol extract of gongronema latifolium (utazi) in wistar albino rats