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Ethnobotanical study of nutri-medicinal plants used for the management of HIV/AIDS opportunistic ailments among the local communities of western Uganda
Makerere Univ, Sch Biosci, Kampala, Uganda.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Organic Chemistry.
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2013 (English)In: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, ISSN 0378-8741, E-ISSN 1872-7573, Vol. 150, no 2, 639-648 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Herbal remedies are a source of therapeutics for nearly 80% of the population in Uganda. Poor health facilities and limited access to antiretroviral drugs have perpetuated and increased the use of traditional medicine especially in rural areas for the treatment of opportunistic ailments of HIV/AIDS. To document the traditional uses of nutri-medicinal plants in the management of immunocompromised ailments associated with HIV/AIDS. To document the parts and growth forms of plants used, methods of preparation and administration of the herbal remedies. Materials and methods: The study was conducted in Mbarara and Isingiro districts of western Uganda between December 2010 and May 2011. Ethnobotanical information was collected from 64 respondents who were sampled based on recommendations of local elders and administrators. Ethnobotanical data on the use of nutri-medicinal plants for traditional treatment of HIV/AIDS opportunistic ailments were collected by employing semi-structured interviews with selected respondents, house hold visits and field observations as described by (Martin, 1995a). The respondents were mainly traditional medical practitioners who treat patients who are already receiving antiretroviral drugs. Fidelity levels of plant species and informant consensus factor were determined to show the percentage of informants claiming the use of certain plant species for the same major purpose and to analyse people's knowledge of plant use. Results: The study revealed 81 plant species most of which were herbs (49%). Leaves (71%) were the most frequently used parts in remedy preparations which were mainly administered orally (85%). The majority of plants (54%) were harvested from wild populations. Hibiscus sabdariffa L, Plumeria obtusa L, and Abutilon guineense (Shumach.) Baker. F and Exell were the nutri-medicinal plants that scored the highest Fidelity level values. The informant's consensus about usages of plants ranged from 0.75 to 0.80. Plants that are presumed to be effective in treating a certain disease have higher informant consensus factor (ICF) values. Family Asteraceae accounted for 18% of the total species recorded. Thirteen species (16%) of the plants are edible and provide nutritional support. Conclusion: The study recorded plant species with potential to treat ailments associated with immunocompromised people living with HIV/AIDS in western Uganda. Such studies can help stimulate confidence in traditional medicine and enhance appreciation of herbal medicine among the people and to appreciate the value of the plant resources and therefore enhance conservation efforts of the plant species. The high consensus means the majority of informants agree on the use of plant species and this reflects the intercultural relevance and the agreement in the use of the nutri-medicinal plants to the people. We recommend the documented plants for further Ethnopharmacological studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 150, no 2, 639-648 p.
Keyword [en]
Ethnobotanical study, Nutri-medicinal plants, HIV/AIDS, Immunocompromised, Uganda
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-139204DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.09.017ISI: 000327567900028ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84887427142OAI: diva2:686844
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

QC 20140113

Available from: 2014-01-13 Created: 2014-01-08 Last updated: 2015-09-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Nutri-medicinal plants used in the management of HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections in western Uganda: documentation, phytochemistry and bioactivity evaluation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Nutri-medicinal plants used in the management of HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections in western Uganda: documentation, phytochemistry and bioactivity evaluation
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As a result of the AIDS epidemic, many people are immunocompromised and opportunistic infections are common. Medicinal plants constitute one of the fundaments of HIV treatment and are commonly used in management of HIV–related ailments, and also to counteract the side effects of antiretroviral therapy. This study documents and evaluates nutri-medicinal plants traditionally used in the management of opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS in western Uganda. A six-stage process of documentation, evaluation and analysis of results was conducted: (1) ethnobotanical studies leading to identification and documentation of medicinal and nutritional plants most frequently used in the treatment of opportunistic infections of HIV/AIDS  (2) Collection of plant samples and preparation of the extracts of each of the selected plants needed for bioactivity evaluation; (3) Phytochemical analysis of crude plant extracts (qualitative and GC/MS analysis); (4) pharmacological evaluation of the crude plant extracts (antimicrobial, antioxidant and mineral nutrient evaluation); (5) safety evaluation of the active extracts using animal models, and (6) Statistical analysis of the results.

The study recorded 324 plant species distributed in 75 families, with potential to treat ailments associated with immuno-compromised people living with HIV/AIDS in western Uganda. The study revealed that folk medicine is still widely practiced. Fidelity level values indicated the most preferred plant species for particular ailments. The high consensus values indicated that there was high agreement in the use of plants for various ailments. The selected preferred plant species were subjected to chemical screening to ascertain their pharmacological activities and they could be prioritized for conservation. The study allows for identifying high value medicinal plants indicating high potential for economic development.

Phytochemical screening of the aqueous and ethanol extracts of selected twenty plant species revealed the presence of tannins, saponins, flavonoids, anthocyanins, coumarins and steroid glycosides. Some of the major chemical compounds identified by gas chromatography mass spectrometry of the essential oils include α- phellandrene, linalool, carvacrol, geraniol, β-eudesmene, β-cubebene, α-caryophyllene, 1-8 cineole and caryophyllene oxide. The essential oils of Plectranthus amboinicus, Erlangea tomentosa, Plunchea ovalis and Crassocephalum vitellinum were highly active against Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. One of the essential oil fractions of Crassocephalum vitellinum (1.56 mg/ml) was highly active against Cryptococcus neoformans. Antioxidant activities of the plant species were also tested. The antioxidant activity of Pseudarthria hookeri (43.68%) and the ferric reducing power of Symphytum officinale (10.48 Mm/L) were the highest values. The ability of the plant extracts to scavenge free radicals may partly justify the traditional use of these plants to boost immunity in HIV/AIDS patients. Mineral nutrient analysis revealed high amounts of iron in Plectranthus amboinicus (5.8 mg/kg dry weight), zinc in Pseudarthria hookeri (6.9 mg/kg dry weight) and selenium in Plunchea ovalis (1.14 mg/kg dry weight). These elements are essential in maintenance of the immune system. Hematological analysis of the aqueous extract of Plectranthus amboinicus showed that the plant has immunostimulating properties by increasing the number of lymphocytes in the test animals. Further ethnopharmacological studies are needed for the documented plants particularly the most active ones.



Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. 71 p.
TRITA-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2015:34
Ethnobotanical study, Medicinal plants, HIV, AIDS, opportunistic infections, bacteria, fungi, GC-MS, phytochemistry, SPME, antioxidant, histopathology, biochemistry, hematology, western Uganda.
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-173635 (URN)978-91-7595-649-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-07, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Sida Phase III Bilateral program 2010-2015
Swedish Institute, Sida Phase III Bilateral program 2010-2015

QC 20150916

Available from: 2015-09-16 Created: 2015-09-15 Last updated: 2015-09-16Bibliographically approved

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