Tag Archives: ethnobotany

Anti-Diarrheal Mechanism of the Traditional Remedy Uzara

Share

Schulzke JD, Andres S, Amasheh M, et al.
Anti-diarrheal mechanism of the traditional remedy Uzara via reduction of active chloride secretion.
PLoS One. 2011 Mar 30;6(3):e18107.
Free full text via PubMed Central.

Investigators from Charité, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and Ulm University studied the effects on the human colon of the traditional remedy Uzara, a traditional African medicine that has been used to treat diarrhea in Europe for a century.

From the Introduction:

“Uzara originates from the root of the South African plant Xysmalobium undulatum (family Asclepiadaceae) which is also known as wild cotton, milk bush or bitterhout…. X. undulatum has been used internally and externally, as decoction or as root powder, in traditional African medicine. Treated symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, afterbirth cramps, and headache, but also wounds and abscesses. In Germany, Uzara was introduced into the pharmaceutical market in 1911.”

The authors found that Uzara “exerts its antidiarrheal effects through [previously reported] inhibition of intestinal motility and also through effects on the intestinal epithelium via inhibition of active secretion.” They concluded that the data infer that Uzara is “suitable for treating secretory diarrhea caused e.g. by bacterial toxins as well as motility-related diarrhea, but may not be effective against chronic malabsorptive diarrhea” with possible exceptions yet to be studied.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants Used by Sabaots of Mt. Elgon, Kenya

Share

Okello SV, Nyunja RO, Netondo GW, Onyango JC.
Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by Sabaots of Mt. Elgon Kenya.
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009 Oct 15;7(1):1-10
Free full text via PubMed Central

Researchers from Maseno University conducted an ethnobotanical study of medicinal plant species used to manage human ailments by the Sabaot people in Kopsiro Division, Mt. Elgon District, Kenya. The study documented 107 plants reported to be of medicinal value in a forest region that is in danger of being completely destroyed.

From the conclusion:

“Traditional medicine in Kopsiro division offers cheap, accessible and convenient remedy that suits the traditional lifestyle of the local community in comparison to the conventional medicine. Most medicinal plant species reported in this study were found to be under threat and this calls for urgent conservation measures so as to maximize the sustainable use of these vital resources in the study area.”

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal plants used by Kavirajes of Chalna area, Khulna district, Bangladesh

Share

Rahmatullah M, Ferdausi D, Mollik AH et al.
A survey of medicinal plants used by Kavirajes of Chalna area, Khulna district, Bangladesh.
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009 Dec 30;7(2):91-7.

Free full text via PubMed Central

Researchers at the University of Development (Bangladesh) and New York City College of Technology conducted an ethnomedicinal survey of traditional healers (Kavirajes) of the Khulna District in southern Bangladesh. The team obtained information on 50 plant species used for a variety of conditions including skin diseases, intestinal tract disorders, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, animal and snake bites, diabetes, leprosy, and sexually transmitted diseases, impotence, heart disorders and helminthiasis.

Noting that many of the medicinal plants are gathered in the Sunderbans mangrove forest, which is under great threat by deforestation, the authors urge that modern scientific studies of these plants be conducted as soon as possible, to make possible discoveries of novel pharmacologically active compounds and also to provide incentive for preservation of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Ethnobotanical study of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plant use by traditional healers in Oshikoto region, Namibia

Share

Cheikhyoussef A, Shapi M, Matengu K, Ashekele HM.
Ethnobotanical study of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plant use by traditional healers in Oshikoto region, Namibia.
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2011 Mar 9;7:10.
PubMed PMID: 21388534.

Investigators from the University of Namibia did an ethnobotanical survey in 2008 to collect information from traditional healers in the Oshikoto region. A total of 47 respondents were interviewed with most of them aged 66 and above.

They found that traditional healers in Oshikoto region possess rich ethno-pharmacological knowledge on the use of medicinal plant species for the treatment of various diseases and disorders, with the highest number of species being used for mental diseases followed by skin infection and external injuries. This study allows for identifying many high value medicinal plant species, indicating high potential for economic development through sustainable collection.

Free full text is available via PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants in Oyam district, Northern Uganda

Share

Kamatenesi MM, Acipa A, Oryem-Origa H. Medicinal plants of Otwal and Ngai Sub Counties in Oyam district, Northern Uganda. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2011 Jan 17;7:7. PubMed PMID: 21241484; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3029220.
[Free full text via PubMed.]

Investigators at Makerere University undertook an ethnobotanical study in four parishes in Oyam district, Northern Uganda, where insurgency has been prevalent for the past 20 years.

They report 71 plant species used in the treatment of various diseases, with Asteraceae being the most represented.

From the Conclusion:

“The use of medicinal plant species in primary health care is still a common practice in Ngai and Otwal Sub-County. The inadequate health services and abject poverty still make these people dependent on herbal medicine for their day to day health needs. The generation gap caused by the over 20 years of insurgency in the area has brought about knowledge gap between the young and the old with regard to medicinal plant species.”

Importantly, the authors include recommendations:

  • There is need for ex-situ conservation of the useful medicinal plant species.
  • There is need for community awareness and education concerning the values of medicinal plant species of the area especially among the young people.
  • Further studies should be done on the medicinal plant species to determine their pharmacological potentials.
  • Government should develop policy to integrate use of medicinal plant species in health care at national level.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Ethnobotanical Survey in Canhane Village, Mozambique

Share

Ribeiro A, Romeiras MM, Tavares J, Faria MT. Ethnobotanical survey in Canhane village, district of Massingir, Mozambique: medicinal plants and traditional knowledge. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2010 Dec 3;6:33. PubMed PMID: 21129187; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3016261. [Free full text.]

Investigators from the Tropical Research Institute, Lisbon, Portugal, gathered information on 53 plant species used to treat 50 different human health problems by people of Canhane village, district of Massingir, in Gaza, Mozambique. Most of the village inhabitants belong to the Valoyi tribe of the Changana ethnic group.

More than half of the reported species were used for stomach and intestine related disturbances, notably diarrhea and dysentery. Four species with therapeutic applications are reported here for the first time: Blepharis diversispina, Guibourtia conjugata, Hermannia micropetala, Loeseneriella crenata.

Free full text is available via PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Traditional Herbal Medicine in Far West Nepal: A Pharmacological Appraisal

Share

Kunwar RM, Shrestha KP, Bussmann RW. Traditional herbal medicine in far-west Nepal: a pharmacological appraisal. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2010 Dec 13;6:35. PubMed PMID: 21144003; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3012020. [Free full text]

Investigators from the Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal evaluated ethnomedicinal plants in far-west Nepal and their uses following a literature review, comparison, field observations, and analysis. The authors cataloged major uses of the medicinal plants, their chemical constituents, and latest common pharmacological findings.

Free full text is available via PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Antibacterial Activity of Medicinal Plants Used by Haudenosaunee Peoples, New York State

Share

Frey FM, Meyers R. Antibacterial activity of traditional medicinal plants used by Haudenosaunee peoples of New York State. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Nov 6;10:64.
[PubMed PMID: 21054887; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2989932.]

Observing that the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance, as well as the evolution of new strains of disease-causing agents, is of great concern to the global health community, biologists from Colgate University explored the antibacterial properties of plants used in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) traditional medicine as a potential source of novel drugs.

The authors begin by noting that in Upstate New York, the Haudenosaunee peoples used approximately 450 plant species in traditional medicine. After identification and harvesting, they prepared aqueous extractions from 15 plant species and tested them against four bacterial species (Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium [Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhimurium], Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus [Lactococcus] lactis).

From the Conclusions:

“Growing antibiotic resistance among human pathogens and new data showing that antibiotic-resistant E. coli can protect antibiotic-sensitive S. typhimurium without gene transfer, emphasize the importance of finding new antibacterial molecules. Our data suggest that investigating traditional Haudenosaunee medicinal plants may yield promising new leads. The degree of concordance between traditional use and observed antibacterial properties suggest that there may be some truth to these remedies. In particular, our results suggest that A. millefolium, [Hieracium] pilosella, [Ipomoea] pandurata, and [Sanguinaria] canadensis warrant further study, as does the previously undocumented [Hesperis] matronalis, especially in the context of S. typhimurium. Elucidating the mode of action behind these observed antibacterial properties, as well as exploring other pharmacological activities is currently underway in our lab.”

Free full text is available via PubMed and PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Cytotoxic Activity of Thai Medicinal Plants Against Human Carcinoma Cells in vitro

Share

Mahavorasirikul W, Viyanant V, Chaijaroenkul W, et al. Cytotoxic activity of Thai medicinal plants against human cholangiocarcinoma, laryngeal and hepatocarcinoma cells in vitro. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Sep 28;10:55.
[PubMed PMID: 20920194; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2956707.]

Noting that cholangiocarcinoma is a serious public health problem in Thailand with increasing incidence and mortality rates, researchers from Thammasat University investigated cytotoxic activities of crude ethanol extracts of a total of 28 plants and 5 recipes used in Thai folklore medicine against human cholangiocarcinoma (CL-6), human laryngeal (Hep-2), and human hepatocarcinoma (HepG2) cell lines in vitro.

From the Conclusions:

“Results obtained from this study indicate that 6 out of a total of 28 plants and 5 recipes (Atractylodes lancea, Kaempferia galangal, Zingiber officinale, Piper chaba, Mesua ferrea, and Pra-Sa-Prao-Yhai recipe) used in Thai folklore medicine exhibited promising cytotoxic activity against CL-6 human cholangiocarcinoma cell line… Further investigation of all the six extracts for their cytotoxic activity against cholangiocarcinoma in hamster model is underway to fully assess the anticancer activity in vivo.”

Free full text is available via PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Plants Used to Manage HIV/AIDS Opportunistic Infections in Katima Mulilo, Namibia

Share

Chinsembu KC, Hedimbi M. An ethnobotanical survey of plants used to manage HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections in Katima Mulilo, Caprivi region, Namibia. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2010 Sep 11;6:25.
[PubMed PMID: 20831821; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2944155.]

Noting that Katima Mulilo has the highest burden of HIV/AIDS in Namibia, and that many HIV-infected persons in the region use ethnomedicines to manage AIDS-related opportunistic infections, biologists from the University of Namibia surveyed plant species used by traditional healers to treat AIDS-related opportunistic infections.

They identified 71 plant species from 28 families, mostly the Combretaceae (a family of tropical trees and shrubs, 14%), Anacardiaceae (cashew or sumac family, 8%), Mimosaceae (a family of spiny woody plants, 8%), and Ebanaceae (persimmon or ebony family, 7%), used to treat conditions such as herpes zoster, diarrhea, coughing, malaria, meningitis, and tuberculosis.

The authors note that harmonization of the use of ethnomedicines with HIV/AIDS policy “remains a sensitive and contentious issue… because traditional medicines can easily become a scapegoat for denial and inertia to roll-out ART [antiretroviral therapy] as was the case during President Thabo Mbeki’s South Africa [and that] because in many resource-poor settings in Sub-Saharan Africa, government-sponsored ART programmes discourage the use of traditional medicines, fearing that the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs may be inhibited by traditional medicines … that their interactions could lead to toxicity [or that] reliance on traditional medicines can also lead to a discontinuation of ART therapy.”

“Thus many African governments including Namibia still have contradictory attitudes towards traditional medicines for AIDS, discouraging it within ART programmes, and supporting it within their initiatives of public health and primary health care. Despite this contradictory scenario, indigenous plants and mushrooms have been embraced as potential reservoirs that may contain a large repertoire of novel anti-HIV active compounds.”

The article contains a comprehensive list of plants used to treat HIV/AIDS-related disease conditions, including scientific name, common name, local name, parts used, disease conditions treated, and mode of application. Issues of intellectual property and ecological sustainability are discussed.

Free full text is available via PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.