Researchers from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cape Coast discovered that herb-based alcoholic beverages have no influence on male reproductive function, either positive or negative.
The research indicates that they are “quite hazardous to sperm.”
In a paper titled “Effects of three herb-based alcoholic beverages manufactured in Ghana on sperm characteristics and reproductive hormones in rats” published in the 2020 edition of the Scientific African journal, researchers led by Dr. Robert Peter Biney discovered the detrimental effects of three Ghanaian herb-based alcoholic beverages on rat sperm.
Alcohol is recognized to have a deleterious impact on fertility, despite the fact that the majority of ads for alcoholic beverages in Ghana use herbal ingredients purported to boost sexual function.
As little is known about the influence of herbal components in these alcoholic drinks on fertility, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of selected alcoholic beverages produced in Ghana on male reproductive function using rats.
After administering the herbal alcoholic drinks to laboratory rats for 21 days, scientists gathered blood samples, removed their testicles, and analyzed the results.
As base herbs, these drinks comprised Khaya senegalensis or ‘Kuntunkuri,’ Xylopia aethiopica or ‘hwentia,’ Anthocleista nobilis or ‘Bontodee,’ and ginger.
Various therapeutic effects have been claimed to various plants. Khaya senegalensis possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-plasmodial activities, whilst Xylopia aethiopica possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antidepressant characteristics. It has been claimed that Anthocleista nobilis possesses wound-healing and anti-plasmodial properties, while Zingiber officinale has anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombosis properties.
However, it has not yet been demonstrated if these medicinal herbs may create a therapeutic impact when used as a foundation for alcoholic beverages.
At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that the selected preparations lowered sperm count and motility in comparison to individuals who were given alcohol alone. Interestingly, Kuntunkuri-containing beverages were the most harmful to the sperm.
They indicate that K. senegalensis-containing herbal drinks led to a loss of spermatogenic cells and the architecture of seminiferous tubules, which might result in male infertility.
The study team wants to warn consumers about the possible harmful consequences of locally produced alcoholic beverages containing herbs.