(Natural News) Researchers have found that black-jack (Bidens pilosa), commonly used in African traditional medicine to treat various diseases, can keep the heart healthy by preventing hypertension. The study, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, assessed the protective effects of ethylene acetate extract of black-jack leaves on hypertension in mice.
For the study, a research team from the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon induced hypertension in mice by giving n(w)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), a non-specific nitric oxide (NO) inhibitor. Primary hypertension is mainly due to endothelial dysfunction which results from nitric oxide deficiency. During treatment, some of the mice also received 75 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of black-jack leaf ethylene acetate extract every day, 150 mg/kg of black-jack leaf ethylene acetate extract per day, or 25 mg/kg of losartan daily. All treatments lasted for four weeks.
After the treatments, the research team took note of the hemodynamic parameters. In addition, they analyzed the effects of black-jack extract on lipid profile, kidney and liver functions, and oxidative stress markers.
Based on the results, the treatment of black-jack leaf ethylene acetate extract prevented the increase of blood pressure induced by L-NAME without affecting the heart rate. The findings of the study also confirmed that black-jack extract has the ability to regulate lipid profile, ward off oxidative stress and cell damage in liver and kidney, and boost endothelial function in hypertensive mice. These benefits may be attributed to the presence of flavonoids like quercetin in black-jack extract.
Thus, the research team concluded that black-jack leaf extract possesses anti-hypertensive and antioxidative properties, keeping the heart healthy. (Related: Herbs for effective blood pressure management.)
Black-jack and its other health benefits
Aside from hypertension, black-jack has also been used for treating various conditions. Listed below are some of the health benefits of black-jack plant, in addition to heart health:
- Cancer: The fiber content of black-jack may be one of its most important components. Because of its fiber content, it can help fight cancer by preventing insulin resistance, a condition found to raise the risk of certain cancers, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. Its antioxidant properties also play a role in its anticancer effects. Antioxidants protect cells against damage from cancer-causing radicals. Antioxidants can also help treat cancer as it helps stop growth and kill cancer cells. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E are some of the antioxidants and nutrients found in black-jack. These nutrients also boost the immune system, enabling the body to quickly detect and destroy cancer cells.
- Diabetes: Black-jack can help prevent and treat diabetes because of its nutrient content. It is rich in fiber, which makes insulin efficient in managing blood sugar. It is also rich antioxidants, which help enhance the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
- Digestion: The abundance of fiber in black-jack promotes healthy digestion. Fiber is known to enhance bowel regularity and prevent and ease constipation. Consumption of fiber stimulates digestive muscle movements and enhances the functioning of these muscles. As a result, acid reflux, bloating, and other digestive disorders are prevented. Fiber also promotes healthy digestion by hampering the growth of colon polyps, which are abnormal growths on the inside of colon that may turn cancerous. The fiber in black-jack also wards off piles or hemorrhoids and acts as a prebiotic, helping to promote good gut bacteria.
Read more news stories and studies on herbs that keep the heart healthy by going to Herbs.news.