A medicinal plant is any plant that contains chemicals that can be employed for therapeutic purposes or as precursors for the manufacture of effective pharmacotherapeutic drugs in one or more of its components (Da-Cheng, 2019). The synergistic bioactivity of phytochemicals in plant extracts is frequently regarded as a benefit that is difficult to duplicate with single synthesized conventional medications (Abdullahi et al., 2020). Lasimorpha senegalensis is a monocotyledonous flowering plant with blooms produced on a form of inflorescence spadix that belongs to the Araceae family. A spathe, or leaf-like bract, surrounds and protects the spadix (Bown et al., 2000). The plant is known as Swamp arum, with local names like Okwoo-bà (Ijaw/Izon/Korokorosei), Akasi-iyi (Ika), Ede mmiri (Igbo), etc., (Kay Williamson, 2012). Lasimorpha senegalensis is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows in marshy places and produces a clump of leaves from a short, thick, stoloniferous rhizome. It is found commonly in Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad, Nigeria (Bayelsa), Central African Republic, DR Congo (VanderBurg WJ, 2004).
A short, thick, strongly stoloniferous rhizome creates a clump of leaves for the plant. Each leaf has an erect, spiny petiole up to 100cm long (up to 200cm) and a 50cm long (exceptionally up to 100cm) and 30cm wide arrow-shaped leaf blade (40cm). On a spiny, single peduncle up to 150cm (250cm) long, emerging from the leaves, the inflorescence is a cylindrical, purplish spadix up to 12cm long, encircled by a spathe up to 45cm long (Protabase, 2014). The plant usually forms large populations due to its strong development of underground suckers. The plant is found /occurs in swampy forest, along streams, in ditches and ponds and they are often very abundant (Govaerts et al., 2002). The plant is gathered in the wild for usage as food and medicine in the local community. In temperate climates, it might be used as an indoor pot plant, while in warmer climes, it could be used as a garden pond decorative. Lasimorpha Senegalensis is highly abundant in nature, especially in swampy environs (DeFilipps, & Krupnick, 2018). It is however potentially impacted by agricultural development, invasion by other species (Cyperus papyrus), and water pollution. It is classified as least concern in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species (Boos et al., 2003).
Several ethnomedicinal uses of Lasimorpha Senegalensis have been reported, include the management of gonorrhea and dysentery. In southern Nigeria, the fruits are reported to be part of ingredients for many remedies (Anumudu et al., 2019). In Sierra Leone, the young leaves are eaten as famine food and as an ingredient of palaver sauce, while, the young leaves are eaten as vegetables and the rhizomes used to treat ulcers in Gabon (Adamu et al., 2005). Also, in Congo, the leaves are taken to cure cough and in larger doses to treat nervousness and agitation. It is also given to women during childbirth to accelerate delivery (Adamu et al., 2005). Furthermore, the leaf sap has been taken orally against hiccups in Côte d’Ivoire and in the Eastern part of Nigeria (Igbos). Hepatitis and feverish diseases have also been treated with it. (VanderBurg WJ, 2004; Dalziel et al., 1937). Lasimorpha senegalensis has been reported to contain calcium oxalate crystals which are toxic if consumed raw. However, the calcium oxalate can easily be broken down by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it. Moreover, caution should be taken when including this plant in the diet of people suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity as it could induce adverse side effect which can lead to death (VanderBurg WJ, 2004; Dalziel et al., 1937).
There are previous reports on Lasimorpha senegalensis, Araceae, regarding its geographical distribution, edible and medicinal uses. Various Araceae species are used to cure malaria and its symptoms throughout the world's tropical regions (Frausin et al., 2015). Antimalarial species belonging to the genus Amorphophallus Blume, Culcasia, Homalomena, and others have been discovered in the African countries of Ivory Coast, Kenya, Gabon, Benin, and Togo, according to reports. The biggest number of Araceae plants are utilized as antimalarials in the Amazon region (Pedralli G, 2002; Frausin et al., 2015). The Amerindian ethnic groups employ the Neotropical genera; Philodendron Schott and Anthurium Schott: Yanomami (Brazil), Tirios, Waypi (French), Makuna and Miraa (Colombia), as well as Secoya and Tacana (Pacific Coast, Colombia) (Frausin et al., 2015). Surprisingly, no antimalarial Araceae genus was apparently employed on both the African and American continents, indicating that the species used had a regional range (Ayoola, 2008). Decoction was the method of extraction most cited for antimalarial remedies for species of Araceae. Leaves and the tubercles were the parts most often cited (Ayoola, 2008).
Another study examined L. senegalensis (Schott) leaf extract's antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties. The findings revealed that the leaf extract contained significant levels of bioactive phytochemicals as well as free radical scavenging activities. The extract also increased endogenous antioxidants and lowered lipid peroxidase and liver enzymes considerably (Chinyere et al., 2020).
Traditional medicine, despite being an old practice in illness prevention and treatment, is still widely used around the world to treat a variety of human ailments. Methanolic and aqueous extracts of L. senegalensis were tested for antibacterial activity against human pathogens, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, in a study conducted between 2018 and 2019. (Anumudu et al., 2019). The efficacy of L. senegalensis against the test organisms at various concentrations was determined using the agar well diffusion method.
A tetrazolium chloride microtiter dilution experiment was used to establish the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). The inhibitory zone widths for both test organisms employing plant extracts ranged from 0 to 14 mm, which was less than the control (Trimethoprim / Sulfamethoxazole and chloramphenicol) which ranged from 0 to 26 mm. The MIC was 62.5 mg/ml to 500 mg/ml. Methanolic stem extract yielded the lowest MIC (Karunanidhi et al., 2013).
Preliminary phytochemical screening revealed the presence of flavonoids responsible for the antibacterial activity. As a result, L. senegalensis is deemed medicinally important because it contains physiologically active chemicals with anti-infectious disease potential (Anumudu et al., 2019). Hence, the current study was aimed to conduct phytochemical screening of the leaves and fruits of Lasimorpha senegalensis (Schott) using different solvents, determine the possible fractions present by thin-layer chromatography and screen for its potential antimicrobial properties using clinical isolates of Neisseria gonorrhea, E. coli, S. aurous, amoeba histolitica and candida albican.