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Friday, July 12, 2024

Kinkiliba tea supports blood pressure

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By Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu

In my previous article, I emphasized Mbor Mbor. This current article centered on Kin Kiliba. I found some interesting studies on Kin Kiliba, and the key area of importance has to do with managing high blood pressure.

What is kin kiliba?

KinKiliba has the botanical name Combretum micranthum. As a shrub, kinkiliba is more prevalent in the Gambia, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Mali. 

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It is used for making tea and has uses in traditional medicine, and is used by many West African Muslims during Ramadan to break their fast. The name kinkiliba is believed to come from the Fulani language. It is referred to as sekhew in the Wolof language and ??l?b? in the Bambara language.

Hearsay evidence attests to the fact that kinkiliba is normally used to treat liver ailments, improve stress, headache, weight, insomnia, and much more especially in Senegal and Mali.  Wikipedia (2022) also confirmed that the name Kinkiliba means “health tree” and the French import kinkiliba and call it “tisane de longue vie” or infusion of long life.

Wikipedia (2022) further narrates that Kinkiliba is used daily to brew a strong tea that is mixed with sugar and milk and is drunk with bread at sundown as a means of breaking the daily fast. Kinkiliba is used specifically for this purpose because of its sweet flavor and because it is believed to be an appetite stimulant, as those who have been fasting want to be able to enjoy as much rich food as possible in the evening after eating nothing from sunrise to sunset. In Burkina Faso, a decoction of the leaves is used as a medication for malaria.

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Plant ingredients

Two studies (Schmelzer, G.H., 2012; Bougma et al. 2021) found several ingredients insolated or found in Kinkiliba including orientin (luteolin-8-C-glucoside), homoorientin (luteolin-6-C-glucoside), myricetin-3-O-glucoside and myricetin-3-O-rutinoside, as well as the C-glycosylflavones vitexine and isovitexin and several flavane derivatives. The leaves contain a high amount of total phenols (13–14%), including gallic acid, rutin trihydrate, catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, and benzoic acid. From the leaves, a mixture of stereoisomers of the alkaloid betonicine has been isolated, called combetine (0.1%).  Others such as stachydrine and hydrostachydrine were confirmed. Another series of alkaloids were isolated from the leaves, called kinkeloids A–D, having a rare flavan-piperidine skeleton.

Fatty acids such as Palmitic acid (37.8%) and oleic and linolenic acids (together about 18%), potassium nitrate, tannins, the triterpenoids lupeol and ?-amyrin, sugars, sorbitol and inositol, the amine choline and the sterol ?-sitosterol were isolated.

Kin kiliba, science

High blood pressure

One recent randomized clinical trial by Bourqui et al. (2021) compared kinkiliba and wonjo to examine their clinical effectiveness in the galenic forms of tablet and brew (decoction) in noncomplicated hypertensive patients. The study involves 219 hypertensive patients with systolic blood pressure (SBP) between 140 and 180?mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) between 90 and 110?mmHg, without cardiovascular or renal complications, who were involved in a multicentric randomized clinical trial in Senegal comparing five treatment regimens: bissap tablets (2???375?mg/day), bissap brew (10?g of calyx/day), kinkiliba tablets (2???200?mg/day), kinkiliba brew (10?g of leaves/day), and captopril (2???50?mg/day) as control. During the 6 months follow-up, a significant and equivalent decrease in systolic blood pressure was observed with the herbal drug approach and control group.

For kinkiliba and wonjo, regarding the galenic forms, the study further found that the brews appeared to be somewhat more effective than tablets.  The study also notes that the rates of clinically significant effectiveness or decrease were 75%, 67%, and 65% with bissap, kinkiliba, and captopril, respectively. After 6 months, a target blood pressure of <140/90?mmHg was attained by 49% of patients with bissap, 51% with kinkiliba, and 40% with captopril. Bissap and kinkiliba appeared, at doses utilized, to be as effective as captopril over the 6-month follow-up.  This study also supports studies, especially with wonjo which beats the pharmaceutical drug captopril in terms of blood pressure management (Nurfaradilla et al. 2020).

Others did not show any significant differences to the hypotensive effect(Herrera-Arellano et al. 2004). This means that you can use the herbal kinkiliba or wonjo alone in managing your blood pressure.  The interesting thing about this study is that combining kinkiliba and wonjo could also serve as an effective herbal remedy for managing blood pressure.

A previous randomized controlled trial (Seck et al. 2017) with kinkiliba and Hibiscus sabdariffa in the galenic form of capsules of plant powder, were compared against pharmaceutical drug for blood pressure management. In this study, one hundred and twenty-five patients were randomly allocated into group 1 (kinkiliba leaves 190 mg ? 2/day), group 2 (bissap calyx 320 mg ? 2/day), or group 3 (ramipril 5 mg /day) during four consecutive weeks.

A significant natriuretic effect was observed in the kinkiliba and bissap groups but not in patients under ramipril treatment. At the end of the four weeks, 39% of patients in the ramipril group, 37% of patients in the kinkiliba group, and 21% of those taking bissap had normalized their BP.

A more recent animal study (Kpemissi et al. 2022) administered for six weeks also demonstrated that kinkiliba has a positive effect on high blood pressure.

Another study by Traore et al. (2022) also found that kinkiliba is used in the management of arterial hypertension in Guinea. Mashi et al. (2022) in vitro study also found that kinkiliba could act as a standard drug for lowering blood pressure.  A previous study in Mali also justifies the traditional use of kinkiliba in the management of hypertension (Coulibaly, Hawa, 2019).

Antimicrobial potential

The leaves of Combretum micranthum and C. racemosum are used as an herbal remedy to treat diarrhea and various skin diseases.  One study by Kola and Benjamin (2002) found kinkiliba to possess a greater antimicrobial ability.

Warnings, kin kiliba

Kinkiliba tea is generally safe. However, studies have demonstrated its ability to help lower blood pressure alone. Hence, those taking standard pharmaceutical drugs and also taking this tea should check their blood pressure as it could lead to hypotension. Consult your Physicians in case you notice any side effects using this tea.

Take home

One of the most important health conditions studies have been conducted on is hypertension. Though, more human studies are needed: Two important randomized controlled clinical trials(Seck et al. 2017; Bourqui et al. 2020) were conducted in health centers around Saint-Louis du Senegal. The research team was made up of medical doctors and pharmacists, professors and doctoral students from the University of Saint-Louis, trainees, and Swiss volunteers from the Antenna Foundation.   

Kinkiliba and Hibiscus were compared with pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of mild to moderate hypertension, with a 6-month follow-up. The plants were prepared in the form of compressed powder (tablets) or tea (decoction). Five groups were compared: 2 groups of each plant, and reference treatment as a control group. It was found that the use of either plant, in either form, was associated with a reduction in blood pressure similar to that achieved with the reference treatment.  The good news is that these studies were published in the renowned Journal of Human Hypertension. 


Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups.  My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as medical advice for treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.

The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, a Medical Journalist, and a science writer. President, Nyarkotey University College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation, Ashaiman, Ghana. Currently BL Candidate at the Gambia Law School, Banjul, Gambia. E. mail: [email protected]. +2207452652(for more information).

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