Man has relied on plants and plant products for healthy living from the earliest days, it is still debatable what led man to select plants for food and medicine.
All the plants and plants parts are discovered by trial and error or by observation from various traditional healers around the world (Ojinnaka 1985). Medicinal plants are the “spine” of traditional medicine, which implies that more than 3.3 billion individuals in the less developed nations use medicinal plants on a continuous basis (Tsabang N et al.
, 2016). The folkloristic concepts of a wide range of medicinal plants have been scientifically proven and have led to the discovery and development of various drugs to fight against several infectious diseases in human life (Lacmata et al., 2012). A plant is set to be a medicinal plant, when its biological activity has been ethnobotanically or scientifically reported.
Myrianthus arboreus is one of those multipurpose trees with potential biological activity, where every part of this plant is found to have medicinal property to cure human ailments. M.arboreus (P.Beauv) family Utricaceae is a dioecious tree with enormous leaves reaching 70cm in diameter, with 7 to 9 leaflets uo to 50cm long and 25cm across. Commonly known as the soup tree, young leaves are an ingredient of a very popular soup in Southeast Nigeria (Alalor et al.,2017).
The sweet pulp around the seed is edible and the young leaves are eaten as vegetables. The leaves, fruit, bark, and sap are parts of the plant used for traditional medicine (Okafor, 2004). The decoctions of the leaves, roots, and bark are used in Nigeria and in other parts of West, Central and East Africa for the treatment of several sicknesses and diseases including fever, pains, diarrhoea, dysentery, and heart problems. Euscaphic acid, tormentic acid, ursenolic acid, ursolic acid, pentacyclic triterpenoids, myrianthic acid have been isolated from its bark, roots and stem (Ojinnaka 1985).