The risk of developing hepatic diseases is highest in developing countries, due to exposure to mycotoxins. Also, synergistic interaction of mycotoxins with hepatitis B virus has been implicated as a major risk factor in the etiology of hepatocellular carcinoma, which has one of the poorest 5-year survival rates and accounts for 15% of total cancer mortality (Premalatha & Sachdanandam, 2000). At present certain drugs are used to treat liver diseases, but alternative therapies for this purpose are desirable. Moreover, since the increase in the use of synthetic chemicals in cancer therapy has led to many toxic effects, there is a worldwide trend towards exploiting naturally occurring plant sources that are therapeutically effective, culturally acceptable, and economically within reach of the general population.
Identification of naturally occurring modulators for hepatocarcinogenesis that can be incorporated in the human diet at minimal cost would be relevant, because the economic limitations of the majority of the populace, especially in third world countries, may not allow for the purchase of prophylactic drugs. Coincidentally, the edible Garcinia kola nut occupies a prominent position in the social customs of the people in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. In spite of its very bitter taste, this nut is consumed recreationally; it is commonly offered to guests and shared at social gatherings.
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