Combretaceae are mainly plants from warm regions of Africa and Asia.
Of the twenty or so genera included in this family, at least two are useful in herbal medicine, Terminalia and Combretum which has almost 40 species.
In West and Central Africa, Combretum micranthum is a widely used medicinal tree, but other species are also part of the local pharmacopoeia, some examples:
- in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Combretum molle,
- in southern Africa Combretum erythrophyllum and Combretum cafrum,
- in southeastern Asia Combretum quadrangulare,
- in South America Combretum leprosum.
Combretum micranthum, Kinkeliba or quinqueliba or kinikiniba or kankaliba is probably an appellation of Fulani origin .
It has other common names in the current African languages : talli in Fulani, sereo or sexo or keseu in Wolof, patakaro in Mandingo, kokobe in Bambara, geza in Hausa, sesed in Serere , ngolobé in Malinké and Bambara.
Kinkeliba is a common tree in the shrub savannah of West and Central Africa (Sudano-Sahelian region) particularly in the following countries: Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Benin.
In good soil conditions and without human intervention, the kinkeliba can reach 15 to 20 m high, but it is also often found in the form of a bushy shrub or more stunted trees that are stump shoots (after cutting or following burning).
The twigs of Kinkeliba are reddish, the leaves opposite (5 to 9 cm long by 2 to 5 cm wide) green, leathery, have a short petiole and end in tip, the flowers small and white as in most Combretaceae are grouped , the fruit has 4 membranous wings.
The parts of Kinkeliba or combretum micranthum traditionally used in Africa and which have medicinal properties are especially GREEN LEAVES and more incidentally bark and root.
The leaves are found in West African markets, often wrapped and packaged to protect them from desiccation or to facilitate their transport.
The kinkeliba leaf is included in the French pharmacopoeia.
In some parts of Africa, especially in Ivory Coast, there may be name confusion between Cassia occidentalis (or false kinkeliba) and Combretum micranthum, the true kinkeliba.
kinkeliba leaves in packages: Wikipedia credit, Kinkeliba leaves sometimes appear "packaged" in African markets>
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
COMBRETUM MICRANTHUM LEAVES, KINKELIBA OR QUINQUELIBA
The green leaf of the kinkeliba tree is the most interesting part, it contains compounds that have been the subject of recent chemical and pharmacological studies :
- PHENOLIC COMPOUNDS, mainly tannins and flavonoids: epigallocatechin and epicatechin (two compounds also present in green tea), vitexin and isovitexin and less well known compounds that are part of flavans and glycosylflavones.
- ALKALOIDS which are largely responsible for the leaf bitterness.
They exist in variable proportion according to the geographical origin of kinkeliba: stachydrine, betaine, choline combretine, tetramethylammonium and 4 kinkeloids recently discovered.
- NON-specific SUGARS ALCOHOL : sorbitol and inositol.
- Abundant mineral salts, especially potassium nitrate (diuretic).
- Compounds that are often found in plants: phenol-acids, sterols.
Phenolic compounds are protective of tissues, antioxidants, and antiinflammatories.
Recent studies show that they are potentially antidiabetic (in type 2 diabetes) .
The TOTAL EXTRACT OF KINKELIBA has:
- ACTION ON THE LIVER, cholagogue and choleretic action (increased secretion and excretion of bile): regulation of digestion, including fatty foods; improvement of intestinal transit (slight effect against constipation).
- ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY particularly on gut bacteria. -
A DIURETIC EFFECT due to the potassium salt.
- A PROTECTIVE EFFECT ON THE LIVER, especially in case of viral hepatitis, and classically in cases of bilious fever due to malaria.
- A HEALING POWER in case of wounds.
- There is no anti-malarial effect laboratory studies , although kinkeliba leaf is traditionally considered useful for treating malaria .
The methanolic extract has an antiviral action on the herpes viruses HSV 1 and HSV 2, but apparently after maturation of this extract for at least a week.
THE ROOT AND BARK OF COMBRETUM MICRANTHUM, KINKELIBA
The root and bark of the branches have properties similar to those of leaves by their content of phenolic substances (anti-infectious, healing) but have no effect on liver activity.
The alcoholic extract (ethanol) root is anti-epileptic in animals.
INFUSION-DECOCTION of kinkeliba leaves, HEALTH TEA and MEDICINAL INFUSION
TO OBTAIN A GOOD KINKELIBA INFUSION OR TEA keep the leaves or bags of broken leaves or powdered leaves in very hot or slightly boiling water for 10 minutes, then let infuse and cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
The infusion takes on a reddish color because of its polyphenol content.
EXAMPLE OF PROPORTION AND DOSAGE: 20 to 30g of leaves per liter of water, one cup 2 to 4 times a day, the first can be taken, fasting in the morning.
This gives a slightly bitter drink that can be consumed as an infusion of tea that is to say, in the absence of disease, just like a hygienic drink, A TEA TO REMAIN IN GOOD HEALTH.
The combination of phenolic substances and mineral salts promotes both an antioxidant effect at the cellular level by free radical scavenging and a depurative effect of the body by increasing urinary elimination and hepatic elimination (flow of bile ).
The kinkeliba tea can be sweetened, but to preserve its medicinal qualities it is better not to add milk to it because of its interaction with the polyphenols.
As a precaution, and because of the content of alkaloids whose effects on the developing child are not well known, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming kinkeliba tea.
This infusion-decoction of Kinkeliba leaves is also very useful for healing.
KINKELIBA TO TREAT DIGESTIVE AND HEPATIC DISORDERS
- IN CASE OF INSUFFICIENT SECRETION AND EXCRETION OF BILE BY THE LIVER (difficulty to digest fat, slow digestion, digestive migraine, chronic constipation, and even signs of irritable bowel syndrome or mucous colitis).
Kinkeliba can be combined with other active plants on the hepatobiliary system, eg artichoke leaf, boldo leaf, dandelion root, rosemary leaves and flowers.
In people who suffer from gallstones the action of kinkeliba can be positive when the stones are very small BUT BE CAREFUL!
IF THE GALLSTONES ARE TOO LARGE to transit through the common bile duct there is risk of blockage which is a serious problem.
- IN PERIOD OF RAMADAN, this infusion helps to mitigate the digestive effects due to fasting.
At the break of the fast in the evening the meal is often too rich at a time (the night) where the digestive system does not work well.
We then observe a bad digestion followed sometimes by an obstinate constipation.
- TO ATTENUATE THE SUITES OF A viral infectious HEPATITIS or a bout of malaria.
- TO TREAT DIARRHEA related to an intestinal infection but without high fever.
- The linkeliba infusion is traditionally used to promote weight loss, but in practice, this effect is not always obtained.
THE KINKELIBA LEAVES IN INFLAMMATORY DISEASES, DIABETES, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
- INFLAMMATORY AND PAINFUL DISEASE: rheumatic or osteoarthritis-related pain.
- IN CASE OF MODERATE DIABETES TYPE 2 and in association with a hypocaloric diet: this pathology related to a diet too rich and unbalanced is currently developing in all countries including Africa where it was rare.
Kinkeliba lowers blood sugar (the blood glucose level) and alleviates the effects of diabetes on the kidneys or the cardiovascular system.
- TO PREVENT AND SLOW DOWN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES related to overweight, obesity, diabetes, or more simply to aging: arteriosclerosis, coronary insufficiency (angina pectoris), cerebrovascular insufficiency, arterial hypertension.
OTHER PREPARATIONS OF KINKELIBA COMBRETUM MICRANTHUM.
Some French herbalists or laboratories supply kinkeliba leaves in bulk or as ethanolic tinctures, sometimes diluted for homeopathic preparations.
EXAMPLE OF DOSAGE of thetincture: 50 drops 2 to 4 times a day.
It is of course much easier to obtain in Africa kinkeliba leaves or tea bags of broken or powdered leaves.
Some distributors of medicinal plants in West Africa are present on the internet and can provide Kinkeliba to people living outside Africa.
EXTERNAL USES OF KINKELIBA LEAVES
The concentrated decoction of Kinkeliba leaves (50g per liter), applied twice a day, can be used to clean a wound or burn and promote healing.
In Africa, an ointment is prepared by pounding the dry kinkeliba root and mixing the powder with a fatty substance, vegetable oil (palm) or shea butter.
This anti-inflammatory preparation is used on bruises, sprains and muscle pain.
OTHER USES OF COMBRETUM MICRANTHUM.
Kinkeliba wood is renowned for making a good charcoal as well as for lumber, joinery and baskets.
A study in Côte d'Ivoire shows that the ethanolic (alcoholic) extract of leaves of Combretum micranthum is toxic and repellent to termites.
The recommended dose in this experimental study to obtain an insecticidal or repellent effect in the field would be 1.5 kg of ethanolic extract per hectare.
However, according to this study, this bio-pesticide is less effective than extracts of neem or papaya seeds.
The leaves of Combretum micranthum, kinkeliba or quinquéliba, contain alkaloids whose effects on the pregnant woman or the developing child are not well known.
The use of this plant in pregnant women, breastfeeding or in young children is therefore contraindicated.
THE KINKELIBA, MEDICINAL PLANT AND HEALTH HERBAL TEA
The leaves of Combretum micranthum, kinkéliba or quinqueliba, are used to prepare in West Africa a drink known first of all for staying healthy but also for its digestive properties, its action on the liver, as anti-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory infectious digestive and more incidentally to lose weight.
Recent research confirms the majority of these properties as well as a hypoglycemic effect in type 2 diabetics.
Copyright 2018 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel