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Table 3 Plants used to treat different diseases/conditions and how they are used

From: Ethnopharmacological practices by livestock farmers in Uganda: Survey experiences from Mpigi and Gulu districts

Relative availability*; IUCN statusa

Voucher number


Species and common name***

Vernacular name (Luganda, Acholi)

Habit; part used****

Preparation method (Amounts vary with species and age of animal)

Disease/condition: Helminthosis in all livestock and poultry

Common weed, invasive: +++; NE

NI 039


Euphorbia heterophylla Linn. Klotzsch & Garcke (Milk weed)


H; L

- Boil leaves and drench (too much causes diarrhoea)

Rare weed by road sides: +; NE

NI 002


Senna occidentalis (L.) Link (Stinking weed)

Muttanjoka; Ayila

S; L, R

- Pound roots, add water and rock salt then drench

- Crush fresh leaves, or use dried powder, add water and drench

Ubiquitous, easily located: ++; NE

NI 003


Vernonia amygdalina Delile Kuntzea (Bitter leaf)

Mululuza; Labwori

S; L, R, B

- Crush fresh leaves, add water and drench

- Boil roots with water and give to drink

- Give animal that has just delivered fresh leaves to eat

Rare due to restrictions: +; NE

NI 036


Cannabis sativa (Lam.) E. Small & Cronquist b (Hemp, Marijuana)

Njaga; Lakera

H; L, S

- Crush fresh leaves or add dried powder and mix with water

- Crush, mix with water and crude lake salt and give to drink

Wild, some grow it: ++; NE; APP II*

NI 038


Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f (Babados aloe)


H; L

- Slice and boil the leaves and give to drink

- Slice fresh leaves and add to feeds

Commonly grown for sale: +++; NE

NI 021


Nicotiana tabacum L. (Tobacco)c,d

Taaba; Muvuavui

H; L

- Crush leaves and mix with water then drench

- Boil dried leaves, leave to cool and drench

Commonly eaten in households: +++; NE

NI 040


Capsicum annuum (Dunal) Heiser & Pickersgill

Kamulali; Obolo

H; L, Fr

- Crush fruits or leaves, mix with ash and water then drench

- Crush fruits or leaves and mix with tobacco or cannabis and ash then drench

Common fruit: +++; VU

NI 037


Carica papaya L. Linn. (Pawpaw)

Papaali; Owak

T; R, S

- Roots crushed, boiled with water and little paraffin, then drench

- Dried seeds crushed and boiled with water, then drench

Ubiquitous: ++; NE

NI 005


Tetradenia riparia (Hochst.) Codd (Ginger-bush)

Kyewamala; Omwombyer

S; L

- Crush leaves, mix with water and give to drink

- Crush leaves and put on the wound

- Drench with decoction before calf suckles (ECF)

Ubiquitous by roadsides: +++; NE

NI 001


Senna hirsuta (L.) H. S. Irwin & Barneby (Stinking cassia)

Gasia; Coga macon

S; L

- Boil dry leaves with little rock salt and drench or crush fresh leaves and drench.

- Cut and give the animals as fodder

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 004


Tephrosia vogelii Hook f. (Fish-poison bean)

Muluku; Kineke

S; L

- Crush fresh leaves and drench

- Boil dried leaves, cool and drench

Cultivated: ++; NE

NI 032


Jatropha curcas Linn. McVaugh (Purging nut)

Kiloowa; Olwiro

S; L, Fr

- Crush fresh leaves and fruits then drench

- Crush leaves and put on the wound

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 033


Ricinus communis Linn. (Castor oil)

Nsogasoga; Laliya

S; L, S

- Decoction by boiling leaves and crushed seeds; cooling and drenching

Wildy growing or planted: ++; NE

NI 006


Azadirachta indica Linn. A. Juss. (Neem tree)

Niimu; Nyakanyaka

T; L

- Crush fresh leaves and drench

- Crush fruits, boil them, cool and drench

Rare herb: +; NE

NI 031

Leguminosae –Papilionoideae

Pseudarthria confertiflora (A. Rich.) Baker


H; L, B

- Boil leaves or bark for one hour, cool and drench

Common weed, invasive: +++; NE

NI 027


Digitaria abyssinica (A. Rich.) Stapf (Couch grass)

Lumbugu; Coga macon

G; L, R

- Boil leaves and roots, cool then drench

Wildly growing, rare: +; NE

NI 034


Senna didymobotrya (Fresen.) H. S. Irwin & Barneby (Peanut butter cassia)

Mukyula; Lakera/Lurogo

T; L

- Boil leaves, mixed with Senna occidentalis and drench

- Crush fresh leaves, mix with water and spray on skin (ectoparasites)

Grown in some homes: ++; NE

NI 007


Moringa oleifera Lam. (Horseradish tree)


S; L, Fr

- Crush fresh leaves, add ash and red pepper then drench

- Boil dried leaves then cool and drench

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 026


Erythrina abyssinica Lam. ex DC.e (Flame tree)

Jirikiti; Lucoro

T; B

- Pound the bark and leave to dry. Soak 3 handfuls of pounded dried bark in water (2 hours) and drench 1 cow or 2 goats.

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 028


Phytolacca dodecandra L'Her. (Endod)

Luwoko; Olango

H; L, Fr

- Infusion of the leaves, fruits then drench

Disease/ condition – African Swine Fever

Practice 1


Human urine


- Collect, add ash and ethanol, give orally

Disease/ condition - New Castle Disease

Practice 2


Human urine


- Mix with ash and rock salt, give to drink

In homes: ++; NE

NI 008


Capsicum frutescens L. Kuntze (Red pepper)

Kamulali; Pilipili

H; L, Fr

- Add ash + water to freshly squeezed leaves then drench

- Mix with Cannabis sativa, sisal (Agave sisalana) juice and ash then drench

- Mix with Aloe spp (Flower and leaf)+ Opium.

Disease/condition: Bovine Ephemeral Fever

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 022


Acanthus pubescens (Thomson ex Oliv.) Engl. (Grey goddess)

Amatovu; Achika

S; L

- Beat the legs with ends of the leaves until animal stands

Wildly growing: +; NE

NI 016


Cyphostemma adenocaule Descoings. ex Wild & R. B. Drumm. (None specified)

Kibombo; Ogali

H; L

- Crush leaves, add ash and drench

In grazing lands: ++; NE

NI 018


Albizia anthelmintica Brongn (Cherry-blossom tree)

Mweramanyo; Owak

T; L, B

- Decoction from leaves and bark then drench

Common weed: ++; NE

NI 029


Leonotis nepetifolia (L.) R. Br. (Sun-bird flower)

Kifumufumu; Okwero/ Achika

H; L

- Drench with warm decoction twice daily for three days

Practice 3



-Drench with decoction from boiled grass hoppers

Disease/condition: Constipation

Rare herb: +; NE

NI 035


Lagenaria sphaerica (Sond.) Naudin (Wild calabash)

Kifuula; Lango

H; L

- Drench of decoction made by boiling leaves, adding little rock salt and cow ghee

Practice 4


Cooking oil


Use large bore tube e.g. horse pipe to give orally

Practice 5


Omo liquid/very soapy water


Give animal to drink

Disease/condition: Theileriosis/ East Coast Fever

In grazing lands: +;


NI 009


Euphorbia candelabrum Tremaux ex Kotschy (Toothbrush tree)

Enkukuulu; Acak-Acak

T; La

- Break and drop sap onto the lymph node or wound

- Decoction drench removes afterbirth

Around paddocks: ++; LC

NI 010


Euphorbia tirucalli L. Klotzsch & Garcke (Pencil tree)

Lukoni, Labuka

S; La

- Break the leaves and put sap on the lymph nodes or wounds

Rare, in grazing lands: +; NE

NI 025


Clerodendrum myricoides (Hochst.) Moldenke Butterfly weed

Mukuzanyana; Okwero

S; R

- Pounded roots put in boiling water for one hour, cooled then drench

- Same to treat Bovine Ephemeral Fever

- Same for helminthosis

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 030


Microglossa pyrifolia (Lam.) Kuntze (Secondary bush)


S; L, R

- Decoction of the roots then drench to relieve respiratory distress in ECF

Wildly growing: +; NE

NI 012


Euphorbia umbellata (Pax) Bruyns (African milk bush)


H; L, Fl

- Break leaf and put sap on lymph node; irritate and dry the skin

Condition - Lice, fleas, mites, mange and wounds

Commonly grown: +++; NE

NI 020


Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench (Sorghum) - Fermentation residue

Muwemba; Any wagi - Enkanja

G; S

- Mix crushed fruits with roots of Cyphostemma adenocaule and apply on wound

- Smear on the skin

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 023


Momordica foetida Schumach. (Snake food)

Bombo; Bomo

H; L

- Water extraction of the leaves, drench

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 015


Hoslundia opposita Vahl (White-tipped hemizygia)

Kamunye; Odwongo

S; L, Fl

- Decoction applied daily externally with pressure on the wound for a week or more

Practice 6


Methylated Spirit


- Apply topically on wounds

Practice 7


Soapy water


- Add OMOR and wash the skin

Disease/condition: Parturition failure

Grown food: +++; NE

NI 013


Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam (Sweet potato)

Amalagala; Maku

H; L

- Give animal the vines to eat

- Crush leaves without water and smear on the vulva

Disease/condition: Retained placenta

Grazing land weed: ++; NE

NI 014


Hyparrhenia rufa (Nees) Stapf (Jaragua grass)


G; R

- Remove roots from stump, boil for one hour, cool and drench animal

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 019


Rhus natalensis Bernh. ex Krauss (Red cape beech)

Kakwansokwanso; Atakarach

H; L; Fr

- Fresh fruits and leaves are crushed and mixed with water, sieved and drenched

Rare, in forests: +; NE

NI 024


Diospyros abyssinica (Hiern) F. White (African ebony)


T; L, Fr

- Leaves and dried fruits are crushed and a decoction is drenched

Ubiquitous wildly growing: +++; NE

NI 011


Solanum incanum (L.) Kuntze (Sodom apple)f

Entengotengo; Ocuga

H; L, Fr

- Smear crushed fresh fruit around the vulva

- Squeeze sap from burnt fruit to wound

Wildly growing: ++; NE

NI 017


Solanum aculeastrum Dunal (C. H. Wright) Bitter (Thorny apple)


S; Fr

- Squeeze fruits in water or milk then given orally as drench (cough)

- Heat ripe fruits and smear on the vulva

  1. *Availability of the plants varies; + Rare or endangered; ++ Available but not common; +++ Ubiquitous and quite common.
  2. **Month and year indicated for collection date.
  3. ***One commonly used English name; some have many while others have none as indicated in the table.
  4. ****Habit: G: Grass; H: herb; Li: Liana; S: shrub; T: tree.
  5. Plant parts: B - Bark; L - Leaves; La - Latex; Fl - Flowers; Fr - Fruits; R - Roots; S - Seeds.
  6. aBoil leaves or crush fresh leaves then drench; also used for stomach ache and fever in People or animals.
  7. bUsed on wounds, spray to prevent mites.
  8. cCrush and mix with water then spray animal to treat ectoparasites.
  9. dCrush and boil leaves – drench treats uterine prolapse; decoction also treats cattle skin diseases including mange.
  10. eAlso for estrus induction (bring animal to heat) and smear on the wounds for wound healing.
  11. fAlso treats theileriosis and wounds.
  12. Legend Table 3:
  13. A summary of 40 plants and seven practices used in treatment of livestock and chicken diseases in Gulu and Mpigi districts. Details of preparation, plant part used, conservation/biodiversity status, common English, Acholi and Luganda names are provided. Twenty plants were used to treat helminthosis; wounds and ectoparasites (8), Theileriosis (6), retained placenta (5), Bovine Ephemeral Fever (4), and one each for Newcastle disease, uterine prolapse, constipation and retained placenta.