Xylopia aethiopica is normally used as a major spice in pepper soup for post parturient women. Their spouses are advised to eat the nutrient-rich pepper soup with their wives. The aim of this study is to investigate how this spice affects the hormone profile of male and female vertebrates using albino rats. To do this, aqueous extraction of two varies of Xylopia was done and assessment of the compounds that comprise the two varieties was done. In vitro experiments to ascertain the effect of Xylopia on isolated rat uteri was considered necessary. Also, haematology and histopathology of the testis was also considered important. The two varieties of Xylopia used; Xylopia Ripe Fruit Extract (XRFE) and Xylopia Unripe Fruit Extract (XUFE) extracts were applied to strands of rats isolated uterine smooth muscle preparation in De Jalon solution and bubbled with air. In vivo, thirty rats of fourteen weeks of age were used. Fifteen males were divided into three groups of five each. Group A was control given 2ml/kg of distilled water while groups B and C were given XRFE and XUFE at a dose of 800mg/kg for thirty days. The fifteen females were divided into three as in males and treated accordingly. After thirty days, the rats in all the groups were sacrificed using mild ether for sedation and blood collected through cardiac puncture for haematology in heparinized bottles and serology in test tubes.
Result: In vitro experimentations show that Xylopia relaxes the uterus in dose dependent manner. Hormonal profiling of the sera from in vivo experimentation in males revealed that Xylopia treatment reduces testosterone levels. The rate of testosterone reduction is more expressed in XRFE (P ≤ 0.01) treated than in XUFE (P ≤ 0.05) treated males. At the other hand, oestrogen secretion is significantly (P ≤ 0.01) enhanced in the females in XRFE treated females and significantly (P ≤ 0.05) reduced in XUFE treated females.
Conclusion: Xylopia treatment in the females lead to induced secretion of oestrogen which suppresses the secretion of Mono Amine Oxidase thereby averting Post Parturient Depression (PPD) while in the males Xylopia treatment is postulated to be a handy male contraceptive. However more work should be done to confirm whether Xylopia treated males becomes temporarily infertile or not.