Medicinal Plants Used for the Treatment of Diarrhea in Ethiopia


Medicinal Plants Used for Treatment of Diarrhoeal Related Diseases in Ethiopia

Woldeab B, Regassa R, Alemu T, Megersa M
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Mar 18;2018
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5878875

Investigators from Jimma University and Hawassa College of Teacher Education conducted an inventory of plant species used in the treatment of diarrheal diseases by indigenous people of Ethiopia.

Writing in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the authors note that the World Health Organization has initiated a diarrhea disease control program to study traditional medicine practices and prevention approaches to the condition. Diarrhea is a leading killer of children, accounting for 9 percent of all deaths among children under age of five worldwide, with Sub-Saharan Africa having one of the highest child death rates due to diarrhea.

Allopathic study of antidiarrheal properties of medicinal plants used in Ethiopian traditional medicine is in early stages:

“Although there are a range of medicinal plants with antidiarrhoeal properties that have been widely used by local communities of Ethiopia, the effectiveness of many of these antidiarrhoeal traditional medicines has not been scientifically evaluated. Recently, a few of these medicinal plants have attracted considerable attention and studies being conducted to scientifically evaluate their antidiarrhoeal activities.”

The team recorded 132 plant species used to treat diarrheal diseases in Ethiopia, based on a review of studies published between 1965 and 2017.

Citrus limon
Citrus limon [Photo: WAH]
Among the most commonly used plants were Amaranthus caudatus, Brucea antidysenterica, Calpurnia aurea, Citrus limon, Coffea arabica, Cordia africana, Indigofera spicata, Lepidium sativum, Leucas deflexa, Rumex nepalensis, Stereospermum kunthianum, Syzygium guineense, Verbascum sinaiticum, Verbena officinalis, Vernonia amygdalina, and Zehneria scabra.

Most of the remedies were prepared from fresh parts of the medicinal plants, followed by dried forms, and a smaller group prepared either from dry or fresh plant parts. Additives like honey, salt, sugar, beer, milk, and butter were used to help make the plants suitable for oral administration.

The authors note that sufficient studies have not been conducted in the Afar, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, and Somali regions for the inventory to be considered complete.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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