According to a research carried out between 2011 and 2013 on the ability of some indigenous vegetables to relieve cyanide poisoning, one of the vegetables tested have been noted to have that property.
The researcher, Abiodun Dada, carried out the experiment at the Institute of Advance Medical Research and Training, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, on two vegetables namely Bassela alba and Solanum macrocarpon. They were used to treat experimental rats that were fed potassium cyanide.
Of the two vegetables, Basella alba, commonly referred to as “efo amunu tutu” in Yoruba parts of Nigeria, was found to have an alleviating effect on the experimental rats, while Solanum was not effective. The vegetable was found to have strong detoxification effect in the experimental rat because it contains certain amino acid antioxidants necessary for cyanide detoxification.
According to Dada, “Basela alba is not really a cure for cyanide poisoning, it only relieve the effect and reduce its activity pending proper treatment”. He stated that it significantly reduced the effect of cyanide poisoning in rat by about 75%.
On why rats were used he had this say, “Rat were used because there is 96% DNA homology (similarity) with human, and whatever is obtainable within the rat body system is replicable within human.”
He however warned that the vegetable should not be treated as a cure for cyanide poisoning. It should only be used as an immediate antidote during an emergency situation involving cyanide poisoning.