UWI scientists part of inter-disciplinary study exploring the Medical Beneficial Properties of Guinep


A University of the West Indies team of scientists and international collaborators have conducted an interdisciplinary study that found that there are potentially beneficial medicinal properties in a favorite Caribbean fruit - guinep. The study was published in the highly respected Nature Research Journal Scientific Reports.

The study entitled "Hypotensive and antihypertensive effects of an aqueous extract from Guinep fruit (Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq) in rats” showed among other things that guinep (Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq) reduced blood pressure in rats through its effects on cardiac output and heart rates. The study authors noted that it did this by way of “its endothelium dependent vasorelaxation properties involving the nitric oxide (NO) and guanylyl cyclase, but not prostaglandin signaling pathways.”

Of importance, the study found that the guinep extract did not show signs of toxicity, suggesting the potential for safe medical usage. These exciting results complemented those of a prior study which established that guinep also reversed and even prevented experimentally induced damage to the muscular tissue of the heart. Advanced analysis further revealed the presence of several medicinal compounds in guinep extracts with exciting cardiovascular and biological activity responses. These included antioxidants like vitamin C and related compounds, phenolic acids, flavonoids, fatty acids (oxylipins), and terpene derivatives.

The recent study is part of an ongoing effort by The UWI scientists and international collaborators from Chile and USA to highlight the medicinal benefits of indigenous natural products and scientifically validate folkloric evidence of their properties. The effort includes drawing on available scientific expertise to analyse and isolate active chemical components and deciphering the mechanisms of how these act to yield physiological or pharmaceutical benefits, whether through orthodox or alternative medicine applications. The guinep study was led by Dr. Chukwuemeka Nwokocha (Dept. of Basic Medical Sciences) with UWI collaborators from The Natural Products Institute, the Department of Chemistry, and the Department of Pathology. 

To read the studies visit: nature.com and mdpi.com