A recent study revealed that neem oil can help to mitigate the risk of sleeping sickness. The study was published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines. A team of researchers from the Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, led the study. A series of in vitro and in vivo assays determined the beneficial effects of neem oil on sleeping sickness models.
Tsetse fly is the causative agent for the disease. The disease is promptly seen in tropical African countries including Angola, Central African Republic, and Chad. The disease is also widespread in Congo, Malawi, and Tanzania as well as Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia.
The symptoms of the disease include insomnia, irritability, slurred speech, severe headache, weight loss, and seizures. Moreover, the patient experiences long periods of sleep, personality changes, difficulty in walking and talking, loss of concentration, and a confused state of mind. If the patient is left untreated, he/she may die within several weeks to months.
The results of the in vitro trials showed neem stem bark extracts to be highly effective against three strains of the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma (the causative agent behind the disease).
During the in vivo trials, the researchers examined 35 mice models. All of them were randomly divided into seven groups. Three of the groups were given varying amounts of neem oil extracts. However, the other two received either suramin or melarsoprol. One group served as the control population.
The treatment groups demonstrated a delay in the appearance of the parasite. Taking even more precisely, animal models fed with up to 400 milligrams of neem extract per kilogram of weight maintained significantly low levels of parasitemia throughout the trial.
The researchers observed no animal mortality during the 14 days of experimentation. Furthermore, the researchers reported no visible signs of acute toxicity among the animals treated with the extract at the doses used in the study.
The study led to the fact that the methanol extract of A. indica stem bark holds both in vitro and in vivo anti-trypanosomal activity against T. brucei rhodesiense. It is possible to Isolate and characterize the constituents of the extract. However, it is an on-going research and is anticipated to yield a potential anti-trypanosomal lead compound.
Health experts at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have confirmed that, at present, there are no medications available to keep the condition at bay. Similarly, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) media center published an article that highlights the fact that some of the most commonly used drugs to deal with sleeping sickness often stimulate the adverse effects of the disease.
It serves as a first line remedy for sleeping sickness. However, the WHO confirmed that Pentamidine may elevate non-negligible effects.
The WHO reveals Suramin promotes serious side effects including severe allergic reactions and urinary tract conditions etc.
The WHO reveals that Melarsoprol is derived from arsenic. It is said to promote reactive encephalopathy or encephalopathic syndrome. Both of the conditions are found to have a fatality rate of up to 10 percent.
The health experts from the world health organization warned that Nifurtimox was neither studied nor tested for other forms of sleeping sickness.