Ethnobotanical survey for potential anti-malarial plants in south-western Nigeria

Author(s): Dike IP, Obembe OO, Adebiyi FE


Aim of study: The ethnobotanical study surveyed the different types of medicinal plants used for the treatment of malaria in the south-western region of Nigeria.

Materials and methods: Information was collected by interviewing indigenous people, using a semi-structured questionnaire. Collected plant samples were identified and authenticated in Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Results: A total of 151 respondents were interviewed of which 64% were females and 36% males. This population comprised of herbal medicine sellers (39%), traditional doctors (15%), housewives (24%) and farmers (22%). Twenty two plants species used in the treatment of malaria belonging to 18 families were identified and compiled detailing information such as common and vernacular names, parts used, methods of preparation and previous scientific reports. Of the plants identified during the survey, Azadirachta indica (12.9%), Alstonia congensis (11.9%) and Cymbopogon citratus (11.3%) showed the highest incidence of encounter whereas Nauclea latifolia recorded the lowest incidence of encounter (0.2%). The traditional usage of Persea americana and Ludwigia peruviana in the treatment of malaria is reported here for the first time.

Conclusion: Though a large number of traditionally used plants for the treatment of malaria were identified, scientific validation of the traditional claims of anti-malarial properties is imperative. This would establish their candidature for any possible future research for active principles and the possible development of new cheaper and more effective anti-malarial drugs, as well as in the conservation of this rich diversity of anti-malarial plants.

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