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Indian walnut fruit beneficial in preventing periodontitis

Owing to its various health-promoting properties, Terminalia chebula is called the “King of Medicine” in Tibet. Researchers have now assessed the plant’s use in the prevention of periodontitis. (Photograph: Shutterstock/P00NG PEED)

Thu. 11. May 2017


SEOUL, South Korea: Ethanol extracts of the fruit of the Terminalia chebula tree, commonly known as Indian walnut, may be an effective means to prevent oral inflammation and bone resorption, new findings of a South Korean study have suggested.

T. chebula is a plant found throughout South East Asia. The properties of various extracts of its fruit have been widely studied and include antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral effects. Consequently, T. chebula is one of the most commonly used plants in traditional medicines on the Indian subcontinent.

In the study, the researchers investigated the effect of an ethanol extract of T. chebula in the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease. The antibacterial effect was analysed using the disc diffusion method, and the anti-inflammatory effect was determined by molecular biological analysis of cultured cells mediated by bacteria associated with dental plaque formation. In addition, the prevention of osteoclastic bone resorption by the plant extract was explored using osteoclast formation and pit formation assays.

The findings showed that the plant extract suppressed the growth of harmful oral bacteria and reduced the induction of inflammatory cytokines and proteases while not showing cytotoxic effects. Moreover, it inhibited osteoclast formation in osteoclast precursors, thereby contributing to the prevention of bone resorption, the researchers found.

In light of the findings, ethanol extracts of T. chebula may be an effective botanical chemopreventive agent that can modulate bacteria-induced inflammatory factors involved in gingivitis and periodontitis, the researchers concluded. However, further studies are needed to isolate and identify the beneficial chemical constituents in the extract that could be exploited for pharmaceutical use, such as in mouthwash and other oral hygiene products.

The study, titled “Use of ethanol extracts of Terminalia chebula to prevent periodontal disease induced by dental plaque bacteria”, was published on 16 February in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal.

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