Newbouldia laevis (ogilisi) is a tropical plant belonging to the family of Bignoniaceae. It is among the most useful plants in Africa and grows up to 10 m height with a cauliflorous habit. It is an ever greenish plant with a height of approximately 7–8 m high in the west Africa and up to 20 m in Nigeria. The plant has a characteristics shiny dark green leaves with large purple flowers.
Different African countries have different names for Newbouldia laevis e.g Togo call it lifui, Ghana call it sesemasa, Hausa call it Aduruku, Igbo call it ogilisi or ògírìsì, Senegal call it gimgid, The Gambia call it kallihi, Yoruba call it Akoko, Guinea call it canhom, Urhobo call it Ogiriki, Sierra Leone call it Sherbro, Mali call it kinkin, Edo state call it íkhímì, Tiv call it Kontor, while the Ibibio call it itömö.
Newbouldia laevis is usually grown as an ornamental tree and planted by cuttings. It is a very popular plant in the African continent and is highly valuable due to its numerous immense benefits to human race. Some parts of Nigeria commonly regard this tree as the tree of fertility or the tree of life. The wood is pale brown, durable, evenly textured and hard and it tends to remain alive for a long time even after cutting it. This makes it viable for usage as posts, woodworks, yam stakes, house posts, firewood and bridges.
Newbouldia laevis has different symbols and meanings to different countries for example; Some villages in Ivory Coast and Gabon plant the tree near the tombs to act as a protective talisman. The Ibibio and Efik people of Nigeria regard the tree as a symbol of their deities thus they tend to place it in sacred places. The Igbo part of Nigeria refers to the Newbouldia laevis (ogilisi) tree as a sacred tree thus they usually plant it in front of a chief’s house.
BENEFITS OF NEWBOULDIA LAEVIS
1. Uterine Stimulant
Newbouldia laevis is categorized as an oxytocics which explains why it is effective for inducing labor. Moreover, the research by Bafor and Sanni in 2009 shows that the aqueous and ethanol extracts of Newbouldia laevis can stimulate the uterine contraction of non-pregnant rats. This suggests why some traditionalists in the African countries use this leaf to initiate labor, facilitate birth or to protect the young embryo. Newbouldia laevis can also be used to remove the placenta after delivery. Ghanaians believe that when pregnant women take Newbouldia laevis stem, leaves and bark cooked in palmoil soup will help to ease delivery and promote rich milk supply after delivery.
2. Treatment for Arthritis & Rheumatism
Newbouldia laevis bark and leaves can be used for treating arthritis and rheumatism. It acts as a painkiller.
Newbouldia laevis can serve as a laxative.
4. Gastrointestinal Treatment
Newbouldia laevis can be used for treating patients suffering from diarrhea and dysentery.
5. Anti-bactericidal Properties
Phytochemical screening of the stem bark by Akerele et al. in 2011 revealed the presence of flavonoids, tannins, saponins and alkaloid. The study revealed that the stem bark of Newbouldia laevis has antibacterial activities.
Newbouldia laevis bark and roots can be used for treating swellings, and oedema arising through dietary deficiency.
Newbouldia laevis contains anti-cancerous properties hence it can be used for treating tumors and cancers.
8. Eye Treatment
The leaf extract can be used for both eye and ear treatments.
Newbouldia laevis serves as an antidote for treating venomous stings and bites.
10. Cooking Purposes
Newbouldia laevis can be used as firewood for culinary purposes.
11. Epilepsy Treatment
Some traditionalists use the bark, root and leaves of Newbouldia laevis for treating patients suffering from epilepsy, paralysis, convulsions and spasm.
The leaves and bark can be prepared as a decoction for treating children suffering from epilepsy and convulsions especially in Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
Newbouldia laevis is antibactericidal in nature thus it can be used as an antibiotic
13. Ornamental and Decoration
Some people cultivate the Newbouldia laevis (ogilisi) plants as an ornamental and decorative plant. It can serve as territory landmarks, fence-posts, hedges, poles, sticks in farming.
14. Dysmenorrhoea Treatment
Newbouldia laevis can be prepared as an infusion or decoction for treating dysmenorrhoea and uterine colic.
15. Constipation Treatment
The bark of Newbouldia laevis tree can be used for treating stomachic, piles and constipation.
16. Analgesic Properties
Newbouldia laevis contains analgesic properties thus when the dried bark is ground together with Piper guineense fruits and palm salt (K2CO3), can be used for treating headache, sinusitis and migraine. The bark can also be boiled and patted on the head with soft cloth for treating headache.
17. Chest Pain
The bark can be decocted with chilis for treating chest-pain.
18. Toothache Treatment
The Newbouldia laevis extracts can be gargled for treating toothache.
Newbouldia laevis can be used for treating patients suffering malaria.
20. Cough Syrup
The Newbouldia laevis bark can be boiled in palm-wine or water and used for treating cough.
21. Veterinary Medicine
The Newbouldia laevis bark, roots and leaves can be used together to feed horses to improve their appetite.
22. Dermatological Properties
The Newbouldia laevis stem and bark can be used for treating skin infections due to its anti-fungal properties.
23. Heartburn Treatment
Newbouldia laevis leaf-ash when mixed with salt can be taken as a remedy for heartburn.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your health care provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
1] Akerele, J. O., Ayinde, B. A., and Ngiagah, J. (2011), Phytochemical and Antibacterial Evaluations of the Stem Bark of Newbouldia laevis against Isolates from Infected Wounds and Eyes, Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research April 10 (2): 211-217.
2] Bafor, E. and Sanni, U. (2009), Uterine contractile effects of the aqueous and ethanol leaf extracts of Newbouldia Laevis (Bignoniaceae) in vitro, Indian Journal of Pharm Sci. 71(2), 124–126.
3] Burkill, H.M. (1985), Newbouldia laevis Seem, family Bignoniaceae, The useful plants of west tropical Africa, Vol 1.
4] Egba, S. I., Sunday, G. I. and Anaduaka, E. G. (2014), The effect of oral administration of aqueous extract of Newbouldia laevis leaves on fertility hormones of male albino rats, Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp. 61-62.