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Documentation and consensus of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plants used by 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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2014 (English)In: Journal of Natural Product and Plant Resource, ISSN 2231-3184, Vol. 4, no 1, 34-42 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

An ethnobotanical study was conducted to document the uses of medicinal plants among the local communities of western Uganda. The aim of the study was to identify and document plant species used for treatment of various ailments in the study areas, identify the commonly used plants, parts used, preparation and administration of herbal drugs. To find out the level of consensus or agreement between informants regarding the uses of plants for particular disease categories. Information on the plants was gathered between December 2010 and May 2011 from 124 informants using semi-structured interviews and discussions. For analysis of general use of plants, factor informant consensus (Fic) was used. The reported plants were collected and identified. The study revealed 231plant species belonging to 72 families and 164 genera. These plants were used to treat various diseases and ailments grouped under 14 ailment categories, with the highest number of species (127) being used for gastrointestinal disorders followed by reproductive health disorders (75). The factor informant consensus highlighted low agreement in the use of plants. The highest Fic (0.61) was scored for the digestive problems, such as intestinal worms, stomachache and constipation. Aloe vera was used for malaria with the highest frequency of mention (26 mentions). Herbs (55%) were the main source of medicine followed by shrubs (18%). Leaves (65%) and roots (19%) were the main plant parts used in remedy preparation while decoction was the major form of preparation. Family Asteraceae accounted for 16% of the total species recorded. The majority of plants (53%) were harvested from wild habitats. The most important species according to their fidelity are Senna occidentalis (L.) Link for deworming, Aloe vera L. for malaria, Maytenus senegalensis (Lam) Exell for syphilis and Senecio hadiensis Forssk for miscarriages.The low consensus means the majority of informants do not agree or exchange information on the use of plant species and this may require bioactivity screening to justify the use for the reported ailments. The documented information regarding therapeutic uses provides basic data for further studies focused on pharmacological studies and conservation of the most important species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 4, no 1, 34-42 p.
Keyword [en]
Documentation, indigenous knowledge, medicinal pla nts, consensus, Uganda
National Category
Other Chemistry Topics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-173636OAI: diva2:854119

QC 20150916

Available from: 2015-09-16 Created: 2015-09-16 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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