African soap berry

African soap berry (Endod) Phyolacca dodecandra
Phyolacca dodecandra or the African soap berry a member of phytolaccaceae. It is found mostly in sub- Saharan Africa andMadagascar. It is a climbing shrubwith stems up to 10-20m long and a taproot. The small flowers are on a raceme.
Phytolacca dodecandra are widely used by people of Ethiopian highlands,for instance, use Endodberries to launder their traditional shamas the glistening white shawls characteristic of the region. Endod is also well known and, traditionally, people in rural communities use endod as an intoxicant to collect edible fish. Fig.1 describes how the Endod looks like:

Fig 1. The leaves of the Endod
Fig 1. The leaves of the Endod
The plant's roots, leaves, and seeds are used as medicine for humans and animals to destroy parasitic worms and to treat watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body (dropsy) and intestinal problems such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. The leaf sap are also used for wounds and skin illnesses, cicatrizing and haemostatic and causes a burning sensation on the skin an infusion of the fruit or the root uses widely taken to treat different diseases like bilharzias, rabies, malaria, sore throat and other respiratory problems, rheumatic pain, jaundice, as well as anthrax and leeches in animals the fruits, when dried powdered and mixed with water, yield a foaming clothes, and also to wash the body.

In 1994, The Ethiopian biologists Aklilu lemma observed that where women used the river for washing, no snails could be seen in the water. The women used full- grown green berries of the endod plant as soap. Without snails transmission of schistosomiasis to humans is not possible, and lemma realised that if the Endod berries were active at the laundry sites, they could be used more specifically for snail control.application of a local plant as a snail-killing agent may reduce the burden on local authorities for purchase of expensive synthetic molluscicides other wise needed for schistosomiasis control.
For Africa, where one of the most serious tropical diseases, schistosomiasis is transmitted by fresh water snails.
The discovery of a low- cost and biodegradable snail-killing agent represents a major breakthrough. According to The World Health Organization (Who) schistosomiasis, adebilitating and eventually fatal disease, is endemic in 76 countries in topical Africa, Asia and Latin America. Only malaria causes more sickness and debility in the developing World. Over 600 million people are at risk of infection and another 200 million infected. Some 200,000deaths per year a because of schistosomias .Although chemical molluscicides are available to eliminate the parasite-carrying snails that transmit schistosomiasis, the cost is prohibitive. A chemical molluscicide called Bayluscide, manufactured by the Bayer Co. of Germany, sells f or US $25,000-30,000 per ton. Despite the fact that this expensive chemical lcompound is out-of-reach for many developing nations, it is the only molluscicide currently recommended by the World Health Organization for global use. Fig 2 describes the stages of schistosomiasis.

Fig 2 Schistosomiasis cause swimmer itch and clam digger itch species of schistosomiasis
Fig 2 Schistosomiasis cause swimmer itch and clam digger itch species of schistosomiasis

In addition to the use of Endod to control the spread of a tropical disease afflicting millions of people in the Third World, the traditional African soapberry plant promises to become one of the most effective means of preventing zebra mussels from clogging water intake pipes in North American waters. In other words, a Third World technology comes to the rescue of industrialized nations. Ironically, the need to de-clog mussel-infested water pipes may seem petty in comparison to the value of controlling schistosomiasis, but the economic incentives for controlling zebra mussels are enormous.


Endod will become a positive example of a sustainable technology for both FirstWorld problems and Third World development (Rafi- Communique ). The most potent variety of Endod, the Ethiopian variety E-44, has already been cultivated on a large-scale by Ethiopian researchers, yielding approximately 1.5 metric tons per hectare of the berries.


Argen Newsletter (2004, January). Retrieved from
Zeitung, N.Z. (2008, March). Retrieved from
Fig 2.Rafi Communique (May 1993), 'Endod: A case study of the use of African indigenous knowledge', Third World Resurgence, No.33
**J Ethnopharmacol.** 2003 Apr;85(2-3):269-77, Howard and A. Lemma, H. Bennett, 1993, "Towards Control of Zebra
Mussels: The Use of Endod, (Phytolacca Dodecandra)" in Zebra Mussel: Biology,
Impact and Control, eds. T.F. Nalepa and D.W. Schloesser.
Lemma, A.(15 June 1990), "Overcoming Obstacles to Science from the Third World: The Story of Endod", a paper presented at the Biology Department of the University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio