Open Access

Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plant species used by communities around Mabira Central Forest Reserve, Uganda

  • Patience Tugume1Email author,
  • Esezah K. Kakudidi1,
  • Mukadasi Buyinza2,
  • Justine Namaalwa2,
  • Maud Kamatenesi3,
  • Patrick Mucunguzi1 and
  • James Kalema1
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine201612:5

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-015-0077-4

Received: 1 September 2015

Accepted: 24 December 2015

Published: 13 January 2016

Abstract

Background

An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants was carried out in 14 villages adjacent to Mabira Central Forest Reserve (CFR) in Central Uganda between August 2013 and March 2014.

Methods

Information was obtained through interviews using semi- structured questionnaires. Field excursions with traditional healers and herbal medicine collectors were carried out. Descriptive statistics were used to present the data. Fidelity ratios and Informant consensus agreements were calculated.

Results

A total of 190 plant species in 61 families and 152 genera were reported in the treatment of various health conditions. Family Fabaceae was dominant representing 14 % of the plant species documented. Vernonia amygdalina was the preferred species for treating malaria. Leaves (68 %) were the most frequently used parts in preparing herbal remedies. Decoctions (29 %) and oral route (53 %) of administration were commonly used method of herbal medicine preparation and administration respectively. Fifty-eight health conditions grouped in 25 categories were treated using medicinal plants. Informant consensus agreement was highest for blood system disorders (0.9) that included anaemia, hypertension and blood cleansing indicating homogeneity of informant’s knowledge about remedies used. Vernonia amygdalina and Erythrina abyssinica had 100 % fidelity level for treatment of malaria and vomiting respectively.

Conclusion

The diversity of medicinal plant species used and the associated indigenous knowledge are of great value to the local community and their conservation and preservation is paramount. The therapeutic uses of the documented plants provides basic data for further research focused on pharmacological studies and conservation of the most important species.

Keywords

Ethnobotanical Medicinal plants Mabira CFR Fidelity level Health conditions

Background

The acceptance and use of herbal medicine is on the increase globally [13]. In Africa the situation is not different, over 80 % of the population particularly in the developing countries depends directly on plants for their primary healthcare requirements [4, 5]. In the East African region countries such as Burundi [6] and Tanzania [7] that neighbour Uganda, the population using traditional medicine is also well above 80 % particularly in the rural areas [6, 7]. Plants form an important part of health care especially for the rural poor in Uganda [8]. The Ugandan government has specifically up scaled the use of herbal medicine and is in the process of integrating it into the main health care system [9, 10]. The noted increased use of herbal medicine is as a result of the confirmed therapeutic evidence of the herbal remedies [11]. This has been enhanced by the consequences of limited access to modern health services in most developing countries including Uganda, high cost of modern medicine compared to the indigenous herbal medicines, wide socio-cultural acceptance of traditional medicine and the belief that natural products pose no risk [3, 4, 12, 13].

The increased preference of herbal medicine has consequently propelled the search for pharmaceutical remedies against different ailments from plants [14]. The medicines are collected from the wild and this has negatively impacted on the plant resource due to unsustainable exploitation rates as well as the health of many people who cannot afford orthodox medicine [1517]. This makes documentation, sustainable utilisation as well as conservation essential [3, 18]. The first step in conservation is to document material traditionally used to treat an ailment [15, 16]. Previous studies have identified and documented numerous medicinal plants for treatment of various diseases in Uganda [1, 19] however these have been targeting specific ailments and are not detailed in shared use. A larger number of medicinal plants and indigenous uses have not yet been documented. The rich history of African cultures and their innovative utilisation of plants as a source of remedies have been passed down through generations largely by oral tradition [20]. This knowledge is gradually being lost [21] as the custodians die before passing on information to the younger generations. Besides the gradual loss of ethnobotanical knowledge due to lack of documentation, overharvesting of medicinal materials from their natural habitat has been one of the major threats of traditional medicine. In order to conserve wild plant species, there is need for reliable data on their distribution and level of use [22].

The documentation of indigenous knowledge through ethnobotanical studies is important in conservation and utilization of biological resources [23]. The identification of local names, scientific names and indigenous uses of plants not only preserves indigenous knowledge but also facilitates future research on safety and efficacy of medicinal plants in treatment of various ailments [24]. It is against this background that utilization of medicinal plants as a source of primary health care by communities adjacent to Mabira CFR is documented. This will ensure that traditional knowledge about use of these plants is conserved. It will also facilitate the discovery of new sources of drugs and promote sustainable use of medicinal plant resources in Uganda. In addition conservation of medicinal plants will add value to the recreational environment as well as health improvement through sustained ecosystems. This study aimed at collecting data on plant species used to treat different health conditions by communities adjacent to Mabira CFR.

Methods

Study area

The study area covered human settlement areas around Mabira CFR some of which were enclaves and others adjacent to the forest. Mabira CFR is located 20 km north of Lake Victoria shoreline immediately to the west of Victoria Nile. The forest reserve lies partly in Buikwe, Mukono and Kayunga districts and occupies an area of 306 km2 with an altitudinal range of 1070 – 1340 m above sea level [25]. It is situated between latitude 0o 22’ and 0o 35’N and between longitude 32o 56’and 33o 02’E [26] (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1

Map of Mabira CFR showing the study villages. The figure shows location of Mabira CFR in Uganda and specifically highlights the sites of villages where ethnobotanical surveys of medicinal plants were carried out. The map displays demarcations of the administrative boundaries showing the major road network and the main physical features in the study area

The forest reserve occupies gently undulating landscape characterised by numerous flat-topped hills (relics of the ancient African peneplain), and wide shallow valleys [27]. The topography is such that the land drains to the north, even though the reserve’s southern boundary lies only 13 km from the lakeshore. The underlying rocks are composed of micaceous schists and shales of the Buganda- Toro system with ridges of quartzite and amphibolite. The soils are generally ferralitic sandy clay loams, with black waterlogged clays in the valley bottoms. The climate is tropical with two rainfall peaks from April to May and October to November ranging between 1,250 – 1,400 mm per annum. Annual mean temperature range, minimum: 16–17 ° C, maximum: 28–29 ° C. The vegetation of Mabira CFR was classified as “medium altitude moist semi-deciduous [28].

Commercial use of the forest began when some parts were harvested in the early 1900’s and until 1988, intensive coffee/banana agricultural encroachment badly damaged parts of the forest. [27] About 21 % and 26 % of the reserve have been designated as strict nature reserve and buffer zone respectively and the forest in these areas is recovering following extensive plantings of native tree species.

The human population living in the forest enclaves was approximately 825,000 with a density of 200–230 people per Km-2 [29]. The local people are mainly of the Bantu ethnic group of the following tribes; Baganda, Banyarwanda, Basoga, Bagisu, Bakiga, Banyankole, Bagwere and Batoro.

The reserve has tea and sugarcane plantations around. Some local people reside in settlements for labourers on the tea and sugarcane estates [30]. The extent of growing cash crops other than tea and sugar cane is limited by scarcity of land. However locals are engaged in cultivation of food crops mainly for subsistence consumption like maize, beans, bananas, ground nuts, sweet potatoes and vegetables. Livestock rearing is limited to a few households.

Ethical considerations

Ethical approval of the study was obtained from the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST) under registration number SS 3368 after obtaining a research license from National forestry Authority (NFA).

Data collection

This was a field survey targeting custodians of Traditional Medicine used in treatment of diseases. Verbal pre-informed consent was obtained from the participants before the interview. Interviews were conducted in Luganda the local language in the area using guided semi structured questionnaires and a research assistant that was conversant with the local language.

Collection of data on medicinal plants used to treat different ailments in the study area was according to a slight modification of Martin’s procedure [31]. Purposive sampling was used to identify 14 out of 27 villages that heavily depend on the forest for primary health care through a Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) with village leaders. Heavy dependence was defined by village council leaders’ local experience i.e. based on the number of individuals who depend wholly on herbal medicine for livelihoods. The study included villages within 1–5Km from the forest. This is because distance from the forest influence people’s use of forest products. Before entering each of the villages, permission was sought from local leaders after explaining the aim of the study who gave us the name of the first key informant while the rest of the respondents were selected by snow ball sampling technique. [32, 33] A total of 36 key informants were selected with at least two from each village and an additional eight knowledgeable herbalists recommended by the community members from Naluvule, Bukuku, Buwoola and Kalagala villages. The informants included primary collectors, vendors and traditional healers who are the custodians of indigenous knowledge on herbal medicines. Traditional healers are divided into two broad groups of herbalists who mainly use herbs while diviners also invoke ancestral spirits to guide them in their healing practice [3436]. They provided information on plants and parts used, ailments treated, mode of preparation and administration, habit, source and availability of medicinal plants. Field excursions were conducted along forest trails taking traditional healers as guides and voucher specimens of cited medicinal plants were collected.

Preference ranking

Preference ranking [31] of the 10 most available medicinal plant species and diseases commonly treated by each were shortlisted by the 12 key informants according to importance attached to the species as per frequency of use and effectiveness (number of days taken to healing in treating particular diseases successfully). The values assigned for each species across were summed up for all the informants to get an overall rank value. The species were then ranked in descending order with the species that had the highest total ranked first.

Plant identification and processing of Voucher specimens

Plant identification was partly carried out in the field based on field manuals for plant identification [37, 38]. Voucher specimens were collected and later identified at Makerere University Herbarium. Correctness of scientific names of species were also checked according to Tropicos:http://www.tropicos.org database accessed on 12/05/2015.

Data analysis

Descriptive statistics using frequencies and percentages were used to summarize data using Microsoft excel 2013. The ailments treated by the medicinal plants were classified into different categories [39].

Informant consensus agreement

The informant consensus factor (Fic) was calculated to indicate the homogeny of information using the formula;
$$ \begin{array}{rcl}{\mathrm{F}}_{\mathrm{ic}}& =& \frac{{\mathrm{N}}_{\mathrm{ur}} - {\mathrm{N}}_{\mathrm{taxa}}}{{\mathrm{N}}_{\mathrm{ur}}-1}\\ {}\mathrm{Where}\ {\mathrm{N}}_{\mathrm{ur}}& =& \mathrm{Number}\ \mathrm{of}\ \mathrm{use}\ \mathrm{reports}\end{array} $$

Ntaxa = Number of species in each use category. It estimates the relationship between the number of use reports (Nur) minus the number of taxa used (Ntaxa) and the number of use reports in each category minus one [40].

Fic values are low if plants are chosen randomly or if informants do not exchange information about their use or disagree about the species used in treatment of an ailment category. The values are high (close to one) if the species are used by a large proportion of informants and there is a well-designed criterion in community or if information is exchanged between informants. Therefore the medicinal plants are presumed to be effective in treating a certain disease have higher Fic values [41].

Fidelity level (FL)

Fidelity Level [42] was calculated for each of the 10 preferred species for their popularity according to the key informants who cited them in the treatment of particular ailments. Fidelity Level (FL) = Ip/Iu x 100 %, where Ip is the number of informants who suggested the use of a species for the same major ailment, Iu is the total number of informants who mentioned the species for any use.

Results

Medicinal plant uses

The communities around Mabira CFR use diverse flora in treatment of various ailments and local people possess rich traditional knowledge on medicinal plants (Table 1). Both males and females used medicinal plants but males were dominant representing 70 % of the respondents. The age of the respondents ranged between 25–80 years. Generally 46 % of the respondents were below 50 years.
Table 1

Medicinal plants, their habit, parts used, ailments treated, habitat, method of preparation and administration

Family, scientific name voucher No.

Local name

Habit

Part used

Habitat

Ailment

Method of preparation and administration

ACANTHACEAE

      

Acanthus pubescens Engl. PT01

Matovu

S

R

F

Prolonged embryo in uterus

Decoction drunk

  

L

 

Measles

Crush in water and bathe

Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anderson PT242

Ttemba

H

F

FL

Reduce fever in children

Crush and bathe

Justicia betonica L.

Kwiniini omuganda

H

L

FL

Weakness in pregnancy

Crush in water and bathe

PT22

    

Malaria

 
   

R

 

Hernia

Decoction dunk

     

Worm infection

Pound add water and drink

Justicia heterocarpa T. Anderson PT56

Kalaaza

H

L

F

Bad odour in women

pound add to water and wash private parts

    

Energy booster in pregnancy

Crush leaves in cold water and bathe early morning

Thunbergia alata Sims

Kasaamusamu

C

L

FL

False teeth

Pound and smear at the point of emergence of false teeth

PT28

ALLIACEAE

      

Allium sativum L.

Katunguluccumu

H

B

C

Reduce heart beat

Chew and swallow

PT107

    

Blood cleanser

 
     

Bad breath

 
     

Stomachache

 
     

Constipation

 
     

Snake bites

Smear at the point of the bite.

     

Swollen rib cage

Cut and smear

ALOEACEA

      

Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. PT108

Kigagi

H

L

C/F

Stomachache

1-3 leaves boiled, decoction drunk

    

Malaria

AMARANTHACEAE

      

Achyranthes aspera L.

Mutassuka kkubo

H

L

F/G

Swollen body Delayed walking in children

Crush and tie on affected part

PT50

    

Itching body

 
      

Pound add water and bathe

Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schult PT73

Lweza

H

W

FL

Body odour

Crush in water and bathe

Amaranthus dubius Mart. ex. Thell. PT 109

Doodo

H

L

FL

Constipation

Steam and eat

    

Anemia

 

Amaranthus spinosus L. PT243

Doodo owamagwa

H

L

FL

Fungal infections of the scalp

Pound with leaves of Cleome gynandra and smear on the scalp

Celosia trigyna L. PT110

Kakubaggiri

H

L

FL

Persistent headaches

Rub on the head or Pound, dry, make cuts on the sides of the head and smear

Psilotrichum elliotii Bak.

Kanamukasa

H

L

F

Weakness in Pregnancy

Crush in cold water and bathe

PT14

     

Wounds

Boil leaves and place on wound.

     

Stomach upsets

Pound add water and drink

ANACARDIACEAE

      

Mangifera indica L.

Muyembe

T

B

C/F

Cough in children

Decoction drunk

PT111

    

Infertility in women

 
   

L

 

Convulsions

Steaming

Pseudospondias microcarpa (A. Rich.) Engl. PT112

Muziru

T

B

F/C

Yellow fever

Pound, decoction drunk

   

R

 

Diarrhoea

 

Rhus vulgaris Meikle

Kakwansokwanso

S

L

F

Skin rash

Crush, add water and bathe

PT113

  

R

 

Erectile dysfunction

Decoction drunk

APIACEAE

      

Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. PT52

Mbutani

H

L

F

Ulcers

Decoction drunk

APOCYNACEAE

      

Alstonia boonei De Wild.

Mubajangalabi

T

B

F

Malaria

Decoction drunk

PT120

Carissa edulis (Forssk.) Vahl PT115

Nyonza

S

R

F

Toothache

Pound, boil and press on tooth

ARISTOLOCHIACEAE

      

Aristolochia elegans Mast

PT114

Nakasero

V

S

W

Malaria

Steeped in water and drunk

ASCLEPIADACEAE

      

Mondia whitei (Hook.f.) Skeels PT121

Mulondo

S

R

F/G

Erectile dysfunction

Chewing

    

Low appetite in sickness

ASTERACEAE

      

Ageratum conyzoides L.

Nnamirembe

H

L

FL

Weakness in pregnancy

Crush and mix with water and bathe

PT66

    

Worm infection

Crush and mix with water and drink

Bidens pilosa L. PT116

Ssere

H

L

FL

Wounds

Crush, Tie on wound and cut to stop bleeding

    

Fresh cuts

Conyza adolfi-fridericii (Musch.) Wild PT117

Ekarwa

H

L

FL

Eye infections

Decoction drunk

Conyza sumatrensis (Retz.)

Kafumbe omusaja

H

L

FL

Ringworms

Crush, add paraffin

E. Walker

    

Wounds

PT07

    

Convulsions

Boil and steam the face

Crassocephalum picridifolium (DC.) S. Moore PT26

Kitonto

H

L

FL

Weakness in pregnancy

Crushed in cold water and bathed

Dicrocephala integrifolia (L.F.) Kuntze

Buzza

H

L

F

Wounds

Crush and Press on the wound or boil.

     

Boils

 

PT64

    

Pain in fallopian tubes

Pounded, dried, mixed with water & Drunk

Erlangea tomentosa (Oliv. & Hiern) S. Moore PT118

Kisula

H

L

G

Toothache

Crush & press on the tooth

Helichrysum sp. Mill

Nakabululu

H

L

G

Centipede bites

Crush, mix with salt & rub on the bitten area

PT119

Melanthera scandens(Schumach. & Thonn.) Roberty

Makaayi

H

L

F

Stomachache

Decoction drunk

    

Malaria

 
    

Yellow fever

PT65

    

Body odour

Crushed in water & bathed

Microglossa angolensis Oliv. & Hiern

Kafuga nkande

S

L

F

Reduce menstrual flow

Pound add water and drink

    

Weakness in pregnancy

 
    

Headache

PT37

    

Convulsions

Crush and bathe the child

Sigesbeckia orientalis L.

Seziwundu

H

L

F

Fresh cuts

Crush & tie on the cut

PT122

    

Stomachaches

Decoction drunk

Sonchus oleraceus L. PT123

Kakovu

H

L

FL

Scars

Crush and rub on the scar

Tagetes minuta L.

Kawunyira

H

L

F,FL,G

Headache

Pound, mix with paraffin and rub on head

    

Flu

 
    

Imperforate vagina

    

Convulsions

Pound, mix with water and wash the birth canal

PT76

    

Blotting

Crush and inhale

Vernonia amygdalina Delile

Mululuza

S

L

F

Malaria

Crash, add water and drink

PT124

  

R

 

Convulsions

    

Stomachache

Vernonia auriculifera Hiern

Kikokooma

S

R

F

Prolonged embryo in uterus

Roots chewed

PT90

  

L

 

Weakness in pregnancy

Crush in water and bathe

Vernonia grantii Oliv.

Etwatwa

S

L

G

Flu

Steam bathe

PT125

    

Skin rash

 
     

Infections

Squeeze into the ear

Vernonia lasiopus O. Hoffm.

Kaluluza

S

L

F

Malaria

Crush and mix with cold water and drink

    

Stomachache

 

PT101

    

Cough

  

R

 

Headache Migraine

Pound and drop in the nose.

    

Delayed delivery

Burn and chew

BALANITACEAE

      

Balanites aegyptiaca (L) Delile

Liggwa limu

T

L

G

Yellow fever

Decoction drunk

PT126

  

R

 

Diarrhoea

Mixed with Citrus limon leaves, boiled and drunk

   

Wounds

   

Skin rash, Flu

Boil & wash

   

Paronychia

Crush and tie on finger

 

B

 

Impotency

Decoction drunk

Balanites wilsoniana Dawe & Spraque PT130

Naliggwalimu

T

L

F

Cracks of soles of feet

Crush and smear on feet

BASELLACEAE

      

Basella alba L.

Nderema

H

L

F

Stomachache Constipation

Dry, pound and add to sauce

PT128

    

Prolonged embryo in uterus

BIGNONIACEAE

      

Kigelia africana (Lam.) Benth.

Mussa

T

B

F

Stress

Decoction drunk & bathed

    

High blood pressure

    

Impotency

PT127

  

L

 

Loss of appetite

Decoction drunk

Markhamia lutea (Benth.) K. Schum

Musambya

T

FL

F

Ear & eye infections in children

Pound and drop in the ear or eye

PT129

  

L

 

Malaria

Decoction drunk

    

Hoarse voice

Chew

Spathodea campanulata

Kifabakazi

T

L

F

Pregnancy care

Crush add water & bathe

P. Beauv.

  

B

 

Increase vaginal fluids

Pound, decoction drunk

PT131

  

R

 

Infertility

 
     

Skin infection

Boil and bathe

    

Hernia

Decoction drunk

BRASSICACEAE

      

Cardamine trichocarpa Hochst. Ex. Rich.

Mageregankoko

H

L

FL

Athletes foot

Burn and squeeze on the feet

    

Ringworms

Boil and bathe

PT132

    

Immobility in children

BURSERACEAE

      

Canarium schweinfurthii Engl. PT133

Muwafu

T

B

F

High blood pressure

Decoction drunk

    

Diabetes

    

Cough

CANELLACEAE

      

Warburgia ugandensis Sprague PT136

Barwegyira

T

B

F

Flu

Decoction drunk

    

Cough

CANNABACEAE

      

Cannabis sativa L.

Njaga

H

L

C

Measles

Decoction drunk

PT135

    

Body weakness

CAPPARACEAE

      

Cleome gynandra L.

Jjobyo

H

R

FL

Ease delivery Fungal skin infections on head

Chew the roots

PT134

     

Mix in sheep dung and smear on the affected parts

Cleome monophylla L.

Kayobyo akasaja

H

FL

FL,W

Retained placenta

 

PT137

CARICACEAE

      

Carica papaya L.

Mapapali

H

L

C/F

Cough

Dry, pound, mix in water and drink

PT138

    

Low immunity

 
    

Cracks on soles of feet

Scrub on the soles of feet

    

Skin infection

Pound mix with water and bathe

    

Loss of memory

Burn and smell

  

L

 

Measles

Pound add water and bathe

  

R

 

Erectile dysfunction

Pound add water and drink

Elaeodendron buchananii Loes.

Mbaluka

T

B

F

Blocked fallopian tube

Decoction drunk

    

Prostate cancer

PT121

    

Erectile dysfunction

CHENOPODIACEAE

      

Chenopodium opulifolium Koch & Ziz

Mwetango

H

L

FL

Oral wounds

Chew mixed with salt

PT83

    

Skin rash

Pound, add little salt put on tooth

    

Toothache

    

Sore throat

Squeeze in mouth and swallow

Chenopodium procerum Hochst. ex Moq. PT37

Mugoosola

H

L

FL

Weakness during pregnancy

Herbal bath

CLUSIACEAE

      

Psorospermum febrifugum Spach

Kanzironziro

S

L

W

Skin rash

Pound, dry, mix in Vaseline and smear

PT139

  

R

 

Dry cough

Pound, decoction drunk

    

Wounds

Pound, mix with water and bathe

Garcinia buchananii Baker PT140

Musali

T

R

F

Hurting bones

Pound add to tea

    

Diabetes

Harungana madagascariensis Lam. ex Poir.

Mulirira

S

B

F

Yellow fever

Pound add to water and bathe

PT210

COMBRETACEAE

      

Combretum molle R. Br. G. Don

Ndagi

T

B

G

Cough

Decoction drunk

PT03

COMMELINACEAE

      

Commelina benghalensis L.

Nnanda

H

L

F

Vaginal dryness

Pound , mix with water and wash private parts

PT145

    

Weakness in sickness

Pound, add water and bathe

    

Abortion

CONVOLVULACEAE

      

Ipomea batatas (L.) Lam.

Lumonde

C

T

C

Memory loss

Chew

PT141

    

Paronychia

Burn and pound and tie on the finger

Hewittia sublobata L. Kuntze

Musota taluma

C

V

F/G

Pregnancy care(widens pelvic girdle)

Tie in the waist

PT239

    

Headache

Smear on head and bitten part

  

T

 

Snake bites

 
  

L

 

Persistent headache

Crush and smear on the head

CRASSULACEAE

      

Kalanchoe crenata (Andrews) Haw.

Kayondo akatono

H

L

FL

Healing umbilical cord wounds in babies

Place on fire & squeeze onto the cord

PT143

    

Crush, add water and bathe

    

Skin rash in babies

Crush add water & drink

    

Cough

Herbal bath

     

Pound mix with water and drink

Kalanchoe glaucescens Britten

Kiyondo

H

L

FL/G

Cough

Crush and drink

PT142

    

Break cords from new borns

Put the leaves on fire and squeeze on the cord

CUCURBITACEAE

      

Kedrostis foetidissima (Jacq.) Cogn.

Ziizi (kabaka wenva)

V

W

F

Measles in children

Mix with silver fish and boil and drink

PT205

  

L

 

Loss of appetite

Boil and add to sauce

Mormodica feotida Schumach

Lujjula (bombo)

V

L

F

Body odour

Pound , mix with water and bathe

PT144

DRACAENACEAE

      

Dracaena fragrans (L.) Ker. Gawl. PT149

Mulamura

S

B

F

Tooth ache

Chew and spit

R

 

Rheumatism

Pound and drink

Dracaena steudneri Engl.

Kajolyenjovu

T

L

F

Cough

Burn the leaves and collect the ash add salt and lick

PT146

  

B

 

Scars

Pound the bark, mix with ghee, smear on the scar

    

Snake bites

Pound and press on the bitten part

    

Syphilis

Decoction drunk

 

R

  

Skin infections

Pound mix with water and bathe

    

Kidney stones

Pound ,decoction drunk

 

FL

  

To stop smoking and alcoholism

Pound, dry add little water and drop in a cigarette or alcohol

EBENACEAE

      

Diospyros abyssinica (Hiern) F. White PT147

Mpojja

T

L

F

Stomach upsets

Decoction drunk

EUPHOBIACEAE

      

Acalypha bipartita Müll. Arg. PT148

Jerengesa

S

L

F

Constipation

Crush, add water and drink

Alchornea cordifolia (Schumach. & Thonn.) Müll. Arg. PT06

Luzibaziba

S

L

F

Shaking body

Crush and bathe

Croton macrostachyus Hochst. ex. Delile

Musogasoga

T

L & R

F

One stuck by lightening

Pound add to water and bathe

PT240

  

V

 

Weakness in pregnancy

Tie in the waist

     

Tie on the head

  

T

 

Headache

Pound and smear on the bite

    

snake bites

Euphorbia hirta L.

Kasandasanda

H

S

FL

Swollen eyes

Drop the sap in the affected eye.

PT150

  

L

 

Joint pains

Pound, dry , mix with Vaseline and smear on the joints

Euphorbia trigona Haw.

Kakukulo

S

L

F

Yellow fever

Pound mix with ghee and maize flour and smear body

PT151

    

Skin allergy in children

Pound and to water and bathe

  

S

 

Backache

Cut and release the sap on the cut.

Eurphobia tirucalli L.

Lukoni/nkoni

T

L & S

C

Warts

Drop the sap on the wart

PT152

Flueggea virosa (Roxb.ex Willd.) Royle. PT17

Lukandwa

S

R

F

Infertility in women

Pound add to water and bathe

Hymenocardia acida Tul.

Nabaluka

T/S

L

W

Sinuses

Decoction drunk

PT153

Jatropha curcas L.

Kirowa

S

L

C

Tooth decay

Crush and drop sap on tooth

PT160

    

Headache

Crush, add water & wash the head

    

Weakness in pregnancy

Crush & Bathe in cold water

Margaritaria discoidea (Baill). G.L. Webster

Kamenyambazi

T

B

F

Oversleeping

Decoction drunk

PT161

Ricinus communis L.

Nsogasoga

S

L

C,F

Weakness in pregnancy

Poundadd to water and bathe

PT154

  

R

 

Ear infection

Pound add drop in the ear

Tetrochidium didymostemon (Baill.) Pax & K. Hoffm PT155

Mukejje

T

L

F

Measles

Crush add to water and drink

Tragia benthamii Baker

Kamyu

H

R

G

High blood pressure

Pound , dry and add to tea

PT40

    

Erectile dysfunction

Chew

  

L

 

Madness

Pound ,cut in the head and smear

FABACEAE

      

Abrus precatorius L

Lusiiti

C

L

W/FL

Low immunity

Decoction drunk

PT162

  

R

 

Worm infection

Chew and swallow

Acacia constricta Benth.

Muwelamanyo

T

R

FL

Diabetes

Decoction drunk

PT163

    

Sinuses

Steam bathe

Convulsions in children

Acacia hockii De Wild.

Kasaana

T

R

W,G

Swollen joints and feet

Pound, boil with cows hooves and drink soup

PT18

Acacia macrothyrsa Harms PT156

Muwologoma

T

 

W

Hydrocele

 

Acacia siberiana (DC.) Kyal. & Boatwr.

Muwawa

T

B

W

Sinuses

Decoction drunk

PT157

  

R

 

Convulsions in children

Herbal bathe

Albizia coriaria Welw.

Mugavu

T

B

F

Skin rash

Boil and bathe

PT158

    

Cough in children.

Decoction drunk

Swollen rectum

Boil and sit in the water

Albizia grandibracreata

Nongo

T

L

F

Yellow fever, Anaemia

Pound, dry and mix with water and drink

PT60

  

B

 

Fungal infections of the scalp

Pound inner bark, mix in water and wash the head

Alysicarpus vaginalis (L.) DC. PT31

Nakalimikamu

T

L

FL

Irregular menstrual periods

Decoction drunk

Mimosa pudica L.

Wewumbe

H

L

G/F

Treat children that have failed to walk.

Crush and smear on joints

PT164

Crotalaria agathiflora Scheinf. ex Engl. PT165

Kijebejebe

S

L

FL

Low breast milk production

Mix leaves with fresh simsim, boiled & drunk

Crotalaria natalitia Meisn PT166

Tulo

S

L

FL

Nightmares

Burn and inhale smoke

Crotalaria spinosa Hochst.

Kasambandege

H

L

FL

Weakness in pregnancy

Crush and mix in water and drink Crush in water and bathe

PT170

    

Skin itching

 

Convulsions

    

Prolonged embryo in uterus

Pound a few leaves mix with water & drink

    

Constipation

 

Dichrostachys cinerea Wight et. Arn. PT159

Muwanika

S

R

G

Hutch bark

Decoction in early stages of the condition drunk

Erythrina abyssinica Lam.

Jjiirikiti

T

B

F/G

Yellow fever

Decoction drunk

PT167

    

Convulsions

Pound, add salt, put in a clean cloth and squeeze in the mouth

Anaemia

Infertility in women

Hicupp

Vomiting

Entada abyssinica Steud. ex A. Rich.

Mwoloola

T

B

W

Body weakness

Boil in water and bathe when cold

PT168

  

L

 

Oral wounds

Chew with salt

    

Skin infections, fresh cuts and wounds

Crush, rub and tie on affected part or wound

    

Change sex of children

Concoction boiled and drunk

Indigofera arrecta Hochst. A. Rich PT81

Kabamba maliba

H

L

F

Snake bites

Pound, add water

    

Wounds

Crush & tie on wound

Indigofera congesta Welw.ex. Baker

Namasumi

H

L

G

Malaria

Decoction drunk

PT169

Indigofera drepanocarpa Taub.

Sebazinga nkata

H

S

G

Colic pains

Sap ingested

PT14

  

W

 

Convulsions

Tie in the waist

Indigofera emarginella Steud. ex A. Rich. PT170

Katungansozi

H

R

G

Elephantiasis

Pound, mix with vaseline and smear

Indigofera spicata Forssk.

Mukaliza

H

L

G

Vaginal discharge

Crush in water and wash private parts

PT02

Piptadeniastrum africanum (Hook F.) Brenan PT59

Mpewere

T

L

F

Cough

Steam bathe

Rhychosia hirta (Andr.) Meikle & Verdc. PT171

Katinvuma

C

L

F

Herpes zoster

Crush and smear on affected parts

Senna absus (L.) Roxb.

Mucuula

S

L

F

Prolonged embryo in uterus, Malaria

Pound add water and drink

PT172

Senna didymobotrya(Fresen.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby

Mukyula

S

L

F

Change sex of children

Pound, decoction drunk

PT180

    

Stomachache

Sesbania sesban (L.) Merr.

Muzimbandeya

S

R

F

High blood pressure

 

PT185

    

Diabetes

Tamarindus indica L.

Mukooge

T

R

W/F

Convulsions

Steam the face

PT186

  

FR

   
   

L

 

Stomachache

Decoction drunk

Vigna unguiculata L.

Kiyindiru

H

L

F/G

Sore throat

Add salt and chew

PT173

FLACOURTIACEAE

      

Dovyalis macrocalyx (Oliv. J. Warb) PT61

Mutunku

S

L

F

Wounds

Crush & tie on wound

LAMIACEAE

      

Coleus latifolius Hochst. Ex. Benth. PT38

Mubiru

H

L

G

Vaginal dryness

Steam and insert in birth canal

Clerodendrum myricoides (Hochst.) R. Br.Vatke PT55

Kikonge

T

R

G

Stomachache

Pound add water and drink

Hoslundia opposita Vahl

Kamunye

H

L

F,G

Painful uterus

Decoction drunk

PT89

    

Stomach cleanser

 
    

Malaria

 
    

Fresh cuts

Crush and squeeze on the cut and tie around the cut.

    

Skin rash

Pound, dry add to Vaseline and smear

Leonotis nepetifolia (L.) R

Kifumufumu

H

L

F

Abdominal pain

Decoction drunk

Br. PT174

    

Kidney stones

 
    

Body pains(muscles)

Crush + paraffin and smear on painful parts

Mentha Sp.

Nabugira

H

L

F

Body odour

Crush in water and bathe

PT175

Ocimum basilicum L.

Kakubansiri

H

L

F,W

Stomachache

Pound, add water and drink

PT82

    

Pain during pregnancy

Crush and smear

    

Prevent miscarriage

    

Insect bites

Ocimum gratissum L.

Mujaja

H

L

FL

Stomachache

Decoction drunk/boiled in tea and drunk

PT176

    

Bad breath

Squeeze leaves in cold water and bathe

    

Kwashiorkor

Plectranthus barbartus Andr. PT57

Kibwankulata

H

L

F

Wounds

Crush and tie on wound

Tetradenia riparia (Hochst.) Codd

Kyewamala

T

L

C

Cough

Crush, mix with water and drink

PT178

    

Stomachache

Squeeze the leaves and drop in ear or eye

    

Eye & ear infections

Pound mix in water and bathe

    

Weakness in pregnancy

LAURACEAE

      

Persea americana Mill.

Avacado pear

T

B

C/F

Cough

Decoction drunk

PT179

LOGANIACEAE

      

Strychnos innocua Del.

Muyondo

S

L

W

Athletes foot

Heat on fire & press on affected area

PT181

    

Tooth decay/pain

Boil and mix with salt and press on tooth

MALVACEAE

      

Abutilon mauritianum

(Jacq.) Medik. PT42

Kifuula

H

L

W

Change sex of children

Squeeze in water and drink before getting pregnant

Hibiscus acetosella Welw. Ex Fic PT23

Musaayi

S

L

FL

Anaemia

Decoction drunk

Sida alba L.

Keyeyo

H

L

W

Fractures

Pound, smear on swollen body with or without Vaseline

PT182

    

Swollen body

Sida cuneifolia Roxb.

Kakumirizi

H

L

FL

Fractures

Crush and Press on the affected area

PT53

    

Pain the fallopian tubes

Decoction drunk

    

Fever

herbal bathe

Sida rhombifolia L. PT09

Luvunvu

S

R

F

Lack of breast milk

Boil with silver fish and drink

MELASTOMATACEAE

      

Tristemma maritiana A. Juss. PT97

Musesemya

H

L

F

Enable one to eat meat or fish

Pound, dry and add to sauce

MINESPARMACEAE

      

Cissampelos mucronata A. Rich.

Kavamagombe

S

L

G

Weakness in pregnancy

Pound, add to water & bathe

PT63

    

Backache

 
    

Snake bites,

Pound leaves and tie on affected part

    

Swollen legs

 
  

R

 

Aching bones

 
    

Stomachache

Pound add water & drink

MORACEAE

      

Antiaris toxicaria Lesch.

Kilundu

T

L

F

Headache

Crush in water and bathe

PT183

    

Weakness in pregnancy

Ficus cyathistipula Warb.

Mubembe

S

L

F

High blood pressure

Decoction drunk

PT99

Ficus dawei Hutch.

Muwo

T

B

F

Breast cancer

Decoction drunk

PT184

    

Wounds

Dried powder applied to the wound

Ficus mucuso Welw. ex Ficalho PT186

Kabalira

T

L

F

Swollen eyes

Pound, burn and press on the eye

Ficus natalensis Hochst.

Mutuba

T

B

F

Gonorrhea

Decoction drunk

PT187

Milicia excelsa (Welw.) C.C. Berg

Muvule

T

B

F

Skin rash

Boil and bathe

PT188

  

S

 

Burns

Pour sap on burn area

    

Fresh cuts

Smear the sap on the cut

Myrianthus arboreus P. Beav. PT195

Mugango

S

R

F

Control pregnancy

Tie on the waist

MORINGACEAE

      

Moringa oleifera Lam.

Muringa

T

FL

C

Aching joints

Pound , dry sieve, mix with Vaseline and smear on joints

PT189

MUSACEAE

      

Musa paradisiaca L. var paradisiaca PT190

Kitooke ekiganda

H

FL

C

Prolonged embryo in uterus

Pound the sheath & chew

  

R

 

Swollen legs

Chew the roots

  

S

 

Sternum pain

Pound and smear on swollen or painful part

Musa paradisiaca L. var sapientum

Gonja

H

F

C

Neck pain

Tie the fiber in the neck and waist

PT191

    

Control pregnancy

 
  

FR

 

Umbilical cord wounds

Scrape and put on cord

  

R

 

Induce labour

Place in fire and chew

MYRICACEAE

      

Morella kandtiana (Engl.) Verdic & Polhill

Mukikimbo

S

R

F

Stomachache

Crush in cold water and drink

PT192

    

Snake bites

Chew and smear at the site of the bite

    

Hernia of the heart

Chew and swallow

MYRTACEAE

      

Callistemon citrinus (Curtis) Skeels

Mwambala zitonya

T

L

C

Pain in the Fallopian tubes

Decoction drunk

PT88

    

Cough

Eucalyptus sp

Kalituunsi

T

B

C

Cough

Decoction drunk

PT193

  

L

 

Boils

Mix with 10 seeds of Jackfruit and leaves of Erythrina abyssinica and mix in 4 cups of water and boil to 3 cups, drink

Psidium guajava L. PT200

Mupeera

T

L

C

Cough

Decoction drunk

Syzgium cumini L. PT201

Jambula

T

L

C

Cough

Decoction drunk

Syzygium cordatum Hochst. PT194

Kanzironziro

T

L

C/F

Skin rash

Crush and mix in Vaseline and smear

  

R

 

Dry cough

Pound, decoction drunk

    

Wounds

Pound, mix with water and wash wound

MYRSINANCEAE

      

Maesa lanceolata G. Don

Kiwondowondo

T

R

F

Ulcers, Diarrhoea

Decoction drunk

PT04

  

L

 

Convulsions

Herbal bathe

OXALIDACEAE

      

Oxalis corniculata L.

Kajjampuni

H

L

FL

Wounds

Squeeze and drop juice on wounds.

PT195

    

Athletes foot

Place on fire and place on toes

    

Skin cancer

Pound, dry and put on the wound

    

High blood pressure

Chew the leaves

    

Diabetes, Hormonal imbalance

 

PASSIFLORACEA

      

Passsiflora edulis Sims

Katunda

C

FR

C/F

Weakness in sickness

Squeeze juice, add water and drink

PT196

PHYLLANTHACEAE

      

Phyllanthus guineensis Pax

Mutulika

 

L

F

Measles

Crushed in water and bathed

PT87

PHYTOLACACEAE

      

Phytolaca dodecandra L’Hér.

Luwoko

S

L

F

Skin rash

Pound, mix in water and bathe

PT197

  

R

 

Swollen joints

Crush in water and bathe

  

FR/S

 

Cracks on the soles of the feet

Crush and smear on the feet soles

PLANTAGONIACEAE

      

Plantago palmata Hook.f.

Bukumbu

H

R

F

Skin rash in children

Crush in water and bathe

PT85

POACEAE

      

Arundinaria alpina K. Schum. PT198

Mabanda

G

R

F

Fainting/Epilepsy

Pound and bathe

    

Skin rash

Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf PT199

Kisubi

G

R

G

Pain in fallopian tubes

Decoction drunk

Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle PT91

Kitete

G

R

G

Eye infection

Pound, dry add to eyes

    

Pain in fallopian tubes

Pound add water & drink

Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. PT44

Kalandalugo

G

S

G

Prolonged embryo in uterus

Decoction drunk

    

Painful breasts

Digitaria abyssinica (A. Rich.) Stapf

Lumbugu

G

W

G

Convulsions

Cut boil and steam

PT202

  

L

 

Flu

 
    

Diarrhoea

Decoction drunk

Imperata cylindrica (L.) P. Beauv. PT203

Lusenke

G

R & L

G

Snake bites

Chew roots and tie leaves at the site of the bite

Pennisetum purpureum Schumach. PT204

Kisagazi

G

L

F

Penile erection in baby boys

Crush in water and wash the penis

POLYGONACEAE

      

Rumex abyssinicus Jacq.

Muleretu

H

R

G

Erectile dysfunction

Chewing

PT135

    

Low appetite after sickness

Oxygonum sinuatum (Meissn.) Dammer

Kafumita bagenge

H

L

FL

Wounds

Pound and tie around the affected finger

PT67

    

Paronychia & boils

Mix with ghee and rub on affected joints

    

Painful joints

Polygonum setosulum A. Rich PT206

Kifumita bagenda

H

L

FL

wounds

Pound and tie around the affected finger

    

Paronychia

PORTULACACEAE

      

Portulaca oleracea L.

Ssezira

H

L

FL

Irregular menstrual periods, Stomachache

Decoction drunk

PT207

PRIMULACEAE

      

Primula sieboldii E. Morren PT208

Muyuki

H

B

F

Tonsillitis

Decoction drunk

    

Ulcers

RHAMNACEAE

      

Maesopsis eminii Engl.

Musizi

T

R

F

Syphilis

Decoction drunk

PT209

ROSACEAE

      

Prunus africana (Hook.f.) Kalkman PT220

Ngwabuzito

T

L

F

Fainting

Decoction drunk

    

Prostate cancer

Rubus pinnatus willd

Nkenene

S

FR

F

Energy booster

Eat fresh

PT238

Rubus rigidus Sm

Kawule

S

R

F

Stomach upsets

Decoction drunk

PT79

  

L

 

Skin rash

Pound, dry mix with Vaseline and smear

    

Snake bites

Crush and tie on affected area.

RUBIACEAE

      

Coffea eugenioides S. Moore

Mwanyi

S

FR

F

Erectile dysfunction

Roast and chew

PT221

    

Oversleeping

 
  

R

 

Erectile dysfunction

Chew

  

S

 

Heart burn

 

Mitragyna stipulosa Kuntze PT230

Nzigu

T

L

F

prolapsed rectum

Pound place sap on rectum and tie some leaves on.

Rubia cordifolia L.

Kasarabakesi

C

L

F

Cough

Pound with onions, add salt & Lick

PT25

    

Tuberculosis

Dry, burn & lick the ash

Vangueria apiculata K. Schum. PT222

Matugunda

S

R

F

High blood pressure

Decoction drunk

    

Hiccups

RUTACEAE

      

Citropsis articulata Swingle & Kellerm. PT223

Katimbolo

S

L

F

Impotence

Decoction drunk

  

B

 

Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck.

Nimawa

T

FR

C/F

High blood pressure

Juice drunk

PT229

    

Cough

 
    

Blotting

 
    

Skin rash/pimples

Add to water and wash the affected parts

     

Chop, decoction drunk

    

Sore throat

Chew

    

Nausea during sickness

 

Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck

Muchungwa

S

L

C/F

Bad breath

Chew

PT228

Teclea nobilis Del. PT227

Nzo

T

L

F

Body cleanser

Boil with afromomum and drink

Zanthoxylum chalybeum Engl. PT224

Ntale ya ddungu

T

R

F/W

Cervical cancer

Pound, add water & drink

B

 

Stomachaches

 

Cough

Decoction drunk

SAPINDACEAE

      

Blighia unijugata Baker

Mukuzanyana

T

B

F

Cervical cancer,

Decoction drunk

PT29

    

Fibroids

SOLANACEAE

      

Capsicum frutescens L.

Kamulali

H

FR

C/F

Hernia, Pancreas

Swallow the fruits

PT225

    

Prostate cancer

Eat in food

  

R

 

Erectile dysfunction

Pound, add water and drink

Datura stramonium L.

Kituratura

H

R

FL

Failure to walk in children

Pound roots, put under fire and press the feet of the child

PT226

Lycoperscon esculentum (L.) H. Karst

Nyanya

H

L

FL

Skin infections

Herbal bathe

PT231

  

FR

 

Anaemia

Eat raw

    

Kidney stones

 

Nicotiana tobaccum L

Taaba

H

L

C/FL

Snake bites

Chew and vomit the venom

TP232

    

Paronychia

Tie on the affected finger.

Physalis peruviana L.

Ntutunu enene

H

L

F

Fainting

Smear whole body

PT236

  

FR

 

Ear & Eye infection

Chew and swallow

Solanum anguivi Hook

Katunkuma

H

FR

C/F

Measles

Pound ripe fruits, smear whole body

PT237

    

High blood pressure

Boil, pound and dry, add to food

    

Weakness during sickness

Steam and eat as a vegetable

    

Blood cleanser

 

Solanum dasyphyllum

Ntengontengo

S

FR

FL

“Elongation of the labia minora

Roast in fire, peel of the outer parts, use endocarp.

Schumach. & Thonn.

    

PT41

  

R

 

Warts

Boil and place on the wart.

    

Immobility in babies

Place in fire and place on the child’s feet

    

Swollen stomach

Decoction drunk

Solanum incanum L.

Katengo ntengo

H

R

FL

Erectile dysfunction

Chew

PT49

    

Swollen testicles

Pound, add water and drink

    

Flu

 
  

FR

 

Headache

Smear on the head

Solanum micranthum Schltdl.

Katuntunu

H

L

F

Bed wetting

Pound leaves, mix in water and drink

PT27

    

Irregular menstrual periods

Crush , add water and bathe

    

Itching vagina, Skin rash

Squeeze into the ear

    

Ear infections

 

Solanum nigrum L.

Nsuga nzirigavu

H

L

F

Low immunity

Prepare as vegetable

PT68

  

S

 

Pain in fallopian tubes

Crush, boil & drink

    

Malaria

 
    

Stomachache

Drink or eat as vegetable

VERBENACEAE

      

Lantana trifolia L.

Kayukiyuki

S

L

F

Prolapsed rectum

Pound and place on affected part

PT05

  

R

 

Ring worms

 
    

Yellow fever

Pound decoction drunk

    

Painful muscles

 
    

Bloating stomach

Pound add water and drink

Priva flabelliformis (Mold.) R. Fernand

Nkami

H

S

G

Wounds

Release the sap onto the wound

PT233

  

L

 

Diarrhoea

Pound leaves add water and drink

VITACEAE

      

Cyphostemma adenocaule (A. Rich) Willd & Drummond PT58

Kabombo

H

W

F

Body odour

Crush in water and bathe

    

Constipation

Crush in water and drink

  

L

 

Measles

Decoction drunk

    

Syphilis

Crush mix with water and bathe

ZINGIBERACEAE

      

Afromomum anguistifolium (Sonnerat) K. Schum.

Matungulu

H

R

F

Hiccup

Dry, pound, decoction drunk

PT234

    

Obesity

Pound

  

FR

 

Low immunity

Boil the fruit and drink

Zingber officinale Roscoe

Ntangawuzi

H

T

F/C

Cough

Chew and swallow or boil in tea,

PT235

    

Backache

    

Erectile dysfunction

Key: Parts used: R roots, L Leaves, Fl Flowers, W whole plant, B Bark, Fr Fruit, T Tuber, S Sap, V Vine ; Habit: S Shrub, T Tree, H herb, C Climber, G grass; Habitat: F forest, FL farmland, C cultivated, W woodland, G grassland

A total of 190 plant species distributed in 61families and 152 genera were identified as used. Fabaceae contributed 27 species, followed by Asteraceae (17), Euphorbiaceae (13), Solanaceae (10) and Lamiaceae (9). Genera Solanum and Indigofera contributed five species each while Ficus, Vernonia, and Acacia contributed four species each.

Preferred medicinal plant species

Vernonia amygdalina was highly ranked and regarded most important in treatment of malaria in the study area. Table 2 shows ranking of the ten most important plant species according to key informants in decreasing order together with values assigned by each informant. The key ailments treated by the preferred medicinal plants were mentioned by the key informants during the interviews.
Table 2

Rank values assigned by each informant for each of the 10 preferred medicinal plants

Medicianl plant species

Plant parts used

Key ailments treated

Key informants (n = 12)

value/120

Rank

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

  

Vernonia amygdalina

Leaves, Roots

Malaria, Convulsions, stomachache

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

120

1st

Mormodica feotida

Leaves

Body odour

8

9

9

9

9

8

7

8

7

6

7

8

95

2nd

Warbugia ugandensis

Bark

Cough, flue

5

8

7

7

8

9

9

6

5

7

9

9

89

3rd

Prunus africana

Leaves, Bark

Fainting, prostate cancer

9

5

8

8

7

7

8

4

9

8

8

7

88

4th

Piptadeniastrum africana

Leaves, Bark

Cough

7

7

6

6

5

4

5

7

8

9

5

6

75

5th

Erythrina abyssinica

Bark

Yellow fever, convulsions, anaemia, infertility hiccup, stop vomiting

6

6

5

4

6

6

6

9

6

5

2

5

66

6th

Albizia corriaria

Bark

Cough, swollen rectum, skin rash

1

4

4

5

4

5

4

5

4

4

6

4

50

7th

Spathodea campanulata

Leaves, Bark, roots

Pregnancy care, infertility, skin infections, hernia

4

3

3

1

3

2

3

3

2

1

4

3

32

8th

Mondia whitei

Roots

Stimulate sexual potency, energy booster

2

1

2

3

1

3

2

1

3

3

1

2

24

9th

Alstonia boonei

Bark

Malaria

3

2

1

2

2

1

1

2

1

2

3

1

21

10th

Key scores in the table indicate ranks given to medicinal plants based on their efficacy and availability by informants. Highest number (10) for medicinal plant which informants thought most effective in treating ailments and available and the lowest (1) for the least effective and rare. The criterion for considering key ailments was all aiments that were mentioned by informants during interviews

Growth forms of Plants and parts used for medicinal purposes

Different plant parts of medicinal plants are used to make herbal preparations (Table 3). A high number of herbal medicine are made using leaves (77 %) and roots 40 %. Other parts of the plants are not commonly used. Regarding the 10 preferred medicinal plant species, the bark was predominantly used in seven species, followed by leaves (5) and least roots (3) (Table 3 ), although more than one part was used in some cases. For instance leaves, bark and root of Spathodea campanulata and leaves, roots and fruits of Tamarindus indica and Phytolaca dodecandra are used to prepare remedies. Herbs made up the highest proportion of medicinal plants species (41 %), followed by trees (28 %), shrubs (22 %), climbers and grasses (4 %).
Table 3

Plant parts used for medicinal purposes

Plant part used

No. of plants species (n = 190)

% use

Leaves

147

77.4

Roots

75

39.5

Bark

31

16.3

Fruit

17

8.9

Flowers

6

3.2

Whole plant

8

4.2

Branches

4

2.1

Sap

6

3.2

The figures are inclusive of each other

Source of medicinal plants

Of the recorded medicinal plants, 56 % are from the forest, 14 % are cultivated 12 % grow in grasslands/woodlands and farmlands (18 %). The low incidence of medicinal plant gardens was attributed to the need to maintain secrecy of traditional knowledge and the argument that cultivated medicinal plants are less potent compared to plants collected from the wild and therefore the latter are preferred. Medicinal plant species from the forest were mostly members of Fabaaceae (40 %) and Euphorbiaceae (54 %) while species from family Asteraceae were dominant in grasslands (25 %) and fallow (44 %). Most of the medicinal plants grown in home gardens are introduced species and have not been domesticated. These include: Callistemon citrinus, Capsicum frutescens, Moringa oleifera, plus fruit tree species that are also medicinal such as Mangifera indica, Persea americana, Carica papaya and Psidium guajava. Fifty percent of medicinal plant users who harvest for commercial purposes collect plants form the forest.

Methods of preparation and administration

The medicinal plants for treatment of different ailments were prepared and administered using various methods. Decoction was commonly used (29 %), followed by crushing and mixing with water (24 %), use of fresh crushed material (14 %) and burning (9 %) (Fig. 2). In the current study, additives used in herbal medicine preparation included silver fish, ash, salt, alcohol, tea and onions. Salt was used in remedies against toothache and oral wounds where it is believed to kill germs. For external application vaseline, paraffin and ghee were used to reduce friction during application of the remedy.
Fig. 2

Percentage of species prepared using different methods. The figure depicts the percentage of medicinal plant species used for making herbal remedies using different methods according to information obtained from key informant interviews. The total number of species for calculation of percentages was 190. In some cases herbal remedies from the same medicinal plant species could be prepared using more than one method. The main ingredient used in preparation of herbal remedies was water in the case of decoctions and cold infusions. Method of preparation varied according to the plant species, plant part used and sometimes the condition being treated

Different routes were used in administration of herbal preparations. Oral route contributed 61 % of the total species, followed by herbal bath (28 %), rubbing leaves on affected parts (14 %) and inhalation of smoke (5 %). The least used route of herbal administration was steam bath (2 %).

Ailments treated by medicinal plants

The 58 health conditions recorded were grouped into 25 categories of which gynecological conditions, digestive disorders and skin infections featured prominently (Table 4). The number of species used to treat different ailments are summarized in Table 4.
Table 4

Ailment categories treated by different medicinal plants

Ailment categories

Specific conditions

No. of species used (n = 190)

% of total species

Gynaecological issues

Heavy menstrual flows, weakness during pregnancy, increasing vaginal fluids, uterine cleansing, family planning and induction of labour.

58

30.5

Digestive disorders

stomachaches, blotting, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss

54

28.4

Skin infections

Wounds, warts, skin rash, acne, pimples and athletes foot.

47

24.7

Malaria & other infections

Malaria, yellow fever, measles, toothache, ear & eye infections

43

22.6

Respiratory tract infections

Flue, sinuses, sore throat, cough, tuberculosis

34

17.9

Arthritis & inflammation

Swollen body parts, hydrocele elephantiasis. hernia, boils

23

12.1

Neurological & nervous system disorders

Convulsions, epilepsy, fainting

17

8.9

Erectile dysfunction& Impotence

Male sexual vitality

13

6.8

Ailment categories

Specific conditions

No. of species used (n = 190)

% of total species

Childcare

Swollen rib cage, failure to walk, umbilical cord treatment, false teeth, colic pains

12

6.3

Poisonous animal bites

Snake and centipede bites

12

6.3

Hypertension

Control of heart beat

11

5.8

Immune & energy boosting

Low appetite, nausea

10

5.3

Painful body parts

Neck, sternum pain,

10

5.3

Body odour

Bad breath,

9

4.7

Headaches & Fatigues

Migraines

6

3.2

Diabetes

 

6

3.2

Cancer

Prostate, skin, breast and cervical cancer

6

3.2

Blood system disorders

Blood cleansing, anaemia,

5

2.6

Muscular skeletal problems

Back ache, joint pains, Rheumatism, shaking body, fractures

4

2.1

STDs & Venereal diseases

Gornorrhea, syphilis

4

2.1

Abnormalities

Hunchback

3

1.5

Hiccups

 

3

1.5

Psychiatric disorders

Madness, memory loss, night mares

2

1.1

Bedwetting

 

1

0.5

Stop smoking

 

1

0.5

Species treated a wide range of ailments varying from one to six per plant. Species that treated the highest number of ailments were Balanites aegyptiaca, Carica papaya, Dracaena steudneri that were used in management of six health conditions each. On the other hand Allium sativum, Cissampelos macronata, Kalanchoe crenata, Lantana trifolia, Solanum anguvi, Tagetes minuta and Vernonia lasiopus were each used in management of five health conditions. Taxonomic analysis revealed that members of family Fabaceae were used to treat the highest percentage (28 %) of ailments. This was followed by Solanaceae (24 %), Asteraceae and Euphorbiaceae (19 %) each, Amaranthaceae, Balanitaceae and Rutaceae 14 % each, Anarcadiaceae, Moraceae, Poaceae, Bignoniaceae 12 % each while families Alliaceae, Caricaceae, Dracaenaceae, Lamiaceae, Minespermaceae, Rosaceae, Rubiaceae, Verbenaceae and Zingiberaceae 10 % each and the rest treated less than 10 %.

Informant consensus agreement (Fic)

This technique is designed to highlight species that have healing potential for specific major purposes. The relative importance of each plant species in treatment of different ailments as categorized in Table 5 was analysed using the Factor Informant Consensus (Fic) [41]. Fic values range from 0–1 where values close to one (1) indicate a high rate of informant consensus on a plant species used against an illness category. Fic values close to zero (0) mean low degree of agreement among the informants about the use of a plant species for treatment of a particular ailment. Fic for different ailment categories was calculated to test for homogeneity or consistency of informants’ knowledge about a particular remedy for an ailment category. Fic indicated which plants are widely used and thus merit further pharmacological and phytochemical studies. The highest Fic (0.9) was scored for blood system disorders. The important plants used for anaemia were Amaranthus dubius and Hibiscus acetosella while those for high blood pressure included Oxalis corniculata, Canarium schweinfurthi, Sesbania sesban, Vangueria apiculata, Citrus limon and, Solanum anguivi. Seven ailment categories had Fic of zero (0) since each respondent reported a different species used for the same ailment (Table 5).
Table 5

Consensus agreement about uses of medicinal plants for ailment categories

Ailment category

Ntaxa

Nur

Fic

Blood system disorders

11

2

0.9

General conditions

14

9

0.4

Arthritis & Inflammation

29

20

0.3

Infection

52

36

0.3

Neurological & nervous system disorder

16

12

0.3

Sexually Transmitted & venereal diseases

5

4

0.3

Skin infections

69

49

0.3

Gastro intestinal disorders

51

40

0.2

Gynaecological issues

64

50

0.2

Respiratory tract infections

34

27

0.2

Erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer

15

12

0.2

Immune & energy boosting

12

10

0.2

Diabetes

6

5

0.2

Headaches and fatigue

11

10

0.1

Painful body parts

4

4

0

Childcare

10

10

0

Muscular skeletal

9

9

0

Abnormalities

1

1

0

Psychiatric disorders

3

3

0

Body odour

9

9

0

Poisonous animal bites

12

12

0

A taxa may fall in more than one ailment categories

   

Key: Ntaxa - Number of species in each use category

Nur - Number of use reports, Fic - Informant consensus factor

Fidelity Levels (FL) of preferred plant species

For each of the 10 most preferred plant species a fidelity level (Table 6) was calculated to quantify their importance to treat a major ailment [42]. It was calculated based on the number of users of a given plant species to treat a major ailment. FL shows the proportion in percentage of informants claiming the use of a plant species for the same major ailment to the total number of informants who mention the plant for any use. FL = (Ip/ Iu) x 100 where Ip = Number of informants who suggested the use of a species for the same major purpose (therapeutic use), (Iu) = Total number of informants who mentioned the plant species for any use.
Table 6

Fidelity Levels (FL) of most commonly used plants by Key Informants

Plant species

Therapeutic uses

Ip

Iu

FL%

Vernonia amygdalina

Malaria

36

36

100

Mormodica feotida

Malaria

31

36

86

Warburgia ugandensis

cough

11

28

39

Prunus africana

Prostate cancer

3

7

43

Erythrina abyssinica

Vomiting

11

11

100

Piptadeniastrum africana

Cough

8

9

89

Albizia coriaria

Skin infections

8

10

80

Spathodea campunulata.

vaginal lubrication

4

8

50

Mondia whitei

Erectile dysfunction

6

7

86

Alstonia boonei

Prostate cancer

3

4

75

Key: Ip - Number of informants who suggested the use of a species for the same major ailment

Iu - Total number of informants who mentioned the species for any use

Table 6 shows high fidelity levels of greater than 50 % for seven plant species which highlights the importance of these species in treatment of the mentioned diseases in the study area. Vernonia amygdalina and Erythrina abyssinica had a fidelity level of 100 % in treatment of malaria and vomiting respectively. High FL levels for these species indicated their outstanding preference for treating malaria and vomiting.

Discussion

Characteristics of respondents

Most of the respondents were men with an average age of 52 years. African belief is that traditional healers should be male [4345]. A high proportion of key informants being male of 50 years and above is in line with studies in Rwanda [46, 47]. Old people (aged 51–80 years) in society have more knowledge on medicinal plants and their uses due to long direct contact with plant resources. In contrast, younger people have little interest in traditional medicine in general and there appears to be a risk of knowledge loss if nothing is done to motivate them. Younger people are exposed to modern education and hence not interested in learning and practicing ethnomedicinal wisdom that would perpetuate indigenous knowledge. Differences in medicinal plants knowledge among age groups was also reported in other studies [48, 49] in Ethiopia.

Diversity of medicinal plants

The high number of species documented indicates that the study area has diverse flora used in treatment of various ailments and rich traditional knowledge on medicinal plants in the community. This makes Mabira CFR an important source of herbal medicine for the rural communities since more than half of the mentioned medicinal plants were harvested from the forest. High utilisation of medicinal plant species from forests has been reported among the Bakonjo and Bamba in Mt. Rwenzori and Semiliki forest areas in Bundibugyo, Western Uganda [50, 51].

Families Fabaceae, Asteraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, and Solanaceae are widely reported in herbal preparations in different parts of Uganda [1, 8, 19, 52, 53] and their widespread use could be attributed to their wide range of bioactive compounds. Asteraceae is reported to have a large number of bioactive compounds [54, 55] thus contributing to the high utilization rates of members of the family for medicinal purposes.

A majority of plant species documented treated more than one condition. The use of one plant to treat several ailments is probably attributed to presence of many metabolites in one particular plant and also the fact that the same molecule can be active against different pathogens. In other instances a combination of plants were used in preparation of a herbal remedy against a certain ailment which illustrates the synergistic effects of such plants. As an example Amaranthus spinosus and Cleome gynandra leaves were used against fungal infections of the scalp, Balanites aegyptica roots are mixed with leaves of Citrus limon against diarrhoea. On the other hand some remedies were monotherapies based on preparations from a single plant. Such plants could be palatable, nontoxic and highly effective against ailments they are used to treat based on experience of users.

Most of the medicinal plant species collected and identified in the study area were also medically used in other areas of Uganda [1, 19, 56] and other parts of Africa [57] to treat the same or different ailments. The use of the same plant species for similar or different ethnomedicinal uses in different countries is a reliable indication of the bioactivity potential of the documented plant species [58]. Of the 190 medicinal plant species identified in the current study, 34 species were identified earlier in Iganga Eastern Uganda [59], 82 species in Mukono and Mabira forest areas [60], 22 species in Western Uganda [1], 40 species in Mpigi [52] and 30 species in Oyam Northern Uganda [8]. A comparison of ethomedicinal uses of some plant species used in Mabira CFR communities with other parts of Uganda and in other countries is presented in Table 7. Bioactivity studies previously conducted on some of the identified plant species collaborate their ethnobotanical uses. For instance Capsicum frutescens is used in management of different cancers – an activity attributed to presence of capsaicin which possesses antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic activities [61]. Also Prunus africana has been found to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidative activities and compounds like cytotoxic phenolics and beta sitostenone, n-docosanol [62] which are important in management of cancer. The ethnomedicinal reports of the same plant species across geographical regions and different cultural groups is indicative of the medicinal properties of the species.
Table 7

Relevant literature on previous ethnomedical uses of some medicinal plant species in the current study

Medicinal plant species

Ailments treated in current study

Previous reports of ethnomedical uses

Country of previous use

Vernonia amygdalina

Malaria

Malaria

Uganda [63, 101], Ghana [98], Cameroon [102], Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) [103], Rwanda [104]

Wounds

Nigeria [105]

Skin rashes, diarrhoea, herpes zoster, cryptococcal meningitis

Tanzania [106]

Infertility, amenorrhea

South Africa [107]

Tonsolitis

Ethiopia [108]

Ageratum conyzoides

Uterine pains, helminth infections

Splenomegaly, colic pains, wounds

Uganda [1]

Vernonia lasiopus

Malaria, stomachaches

Skin allergy, constipation

Uganda [1]

Cleome gynandra

Prolonged labour

Convulsions, diphtheria, toothaches, peptic ulcers, vomiting

Uganda [1, 19]

Aloe vera

Malaria

Wounds

Kenya [96]

Prunus africana

Enlarged prostate

Prostate and breast cancers, Hypertension

Kenya [96, 109]

Capscum frutescens

Prostate cancer

Throat, breast and squamous cell carcinoma

Kenya [109]

Amaranthus spinosus

Scalp fungal infections

Haemorrhoids

Nigeria [57]

Mangifera indica

Cough, infertility, convulsions

Haemorrhoids

Nigeria [57]

Plant parts used

The use of leaves to make herbal medicine preparations followed by roots and barks is a common practice in many communities in Uganda as reported in Mukono [60], Sango bay in Southern Uganda [16], Western Uganda [1], communities around Kibale National Park [63], Mpigi [52] and other countries like Kenya [64], Ethiopia [65] and Bolivia [66]. The high utilisation rates of leaves could be attributed to the ease with which they can be obtained in large quantities compared to other plant parts. Leaves are the main photosynthetic organ in plants and considered to be a key component of the natural pharmacy for synthesis of constituents particularly those that are more pharmacologically active against diseases [67]. The preference of leaves to other plant parts is thus thought to be due to accumulation of active ingredients like tannins and other alkaloids [67]. In contrast, in Oyam district of Northern Uganda, roots were the common plant parts used in herbal medicine preparations and the other parts were underutilized [8]. However, as noted [68] a clear relationship exists between the parts of the plant collected, or the collection method and the impact on the harvested plant. Collection of the bark and root is damaging and makes species vulnerable to overexploitation. Harvesting the bark in large quantities can destroy the plant because the protective role of the bark to the plant will be curtailed. On the other hand uprooting plants especially in case of herbs and shrubs causes total destruction of the plant. Debarking and uprooting of medicinal plant species negatively affects the sustainability of the species in use. For species like Spathodea campanulata, Tamarindus indica and Phytolaca dodecandra in which more than one parts is used; sustainability would probably be achieved if the harvesting of bark and root is avoided and harvesting of leaves which is less destructive is promoted. The use of leaves is less destructive if small quantities are collected but not so if large quantities are harvested. As noted [69], overharvesting of leaves can lead to deterioration of medicinal plants since removal of leaves limits the transformation of vegetative to reproductive development such as flower production and seed/fruit development which in turn limits the natural regeneration of plants. Harvesting of roots on the other hand is more destructive as it often involves uprooting whole plants which consequently affects regeneration for sustainable use.

Herbal preparations made from more than two plant parts of the same plant such as the bark and roots of Psedospondias microcarpa, leaves, bark and roots of Spathodea camapnulata and the leaves, roots and vines of Croton macrostachyus (Table 1) may endanger the species unless mechanisms for sustainable utilisation are put in place. Many studies have showed that leaves of different plants possess bioactive ingredients against different diseases and pathogens [6972]. Since harvesting of leaves is less destructive than harvesting roots or barks, it is necessary to test leaves for efficacy against different ailments in plants where roots and barks are mostly harvested to minimize dangers of overexploitation. As an example the leaves of Vernonia amygdalina have been found to be effective against malaria [73] and thus the harvesting of roots of this species can be avoided.

Habit of medicinal plant species

Herbs were the most common plant life forms used for medicinal purposes. Harvesting of herbs that are in most cases annual is an indicator that collection of medicinal plants from the forest is not a big threat to conservation. This could be attributed to their abundance throughout the year as reported previously in Uganda [15, 19, 53, 63] although shrubs were reported to be commonly used in northern Uganda [12] and in Ethiopia [74]. The popularity of herbs as a source of herbal therapies is often attributed to their high pharmacologically active ingredients as compared to woody plants [8]. Shrubs are preferred due to their availability all year round since they are relatively draught resistant and are not affected by seasonal variations [65].

Source of medicinal plants

Traditional healers interviewed lacked medicinal plant gardens and collected medicinal plants from the forest. A similar trend was reported in Zimbabwe [75] but cultivated plants have been used from ancient times such as in Iran and various studies have confirmed potency of chemical constituents in them [14]. However, commercial collectors require large volumes which put pressure on the plant population. Consequently, overexploitation may lead to disappearance of many species of economic value and other uses pausing challenges to their conservation in Uganda’s forests [76] and the African continent as a whole [77].

Herbal medicine preparation and administration

The main route of herbal medicine administration was oral. This mode of administration is commonly used in many herbal remedies as reported elsewhere [8, 78, 79]. The choice of oral administration may be related to the use of some solvents or additives such as water and food that are commonly believed to serve as a vehicle to transport the remedies. The additives enhance extraction of bioactive molecules during remedy preparation. The additives are also important to minimize discomfort, improve taste and reduce adverse effects such as vomiting and diarrhoea. [80] Decoctions were cited as the most common method of preparation of herbal remedies. Boiling is effective in extracting plant materials and at the same time preserves the herbal remedies for a longer period compared to cold extraction. However, both decoctions and cold extracts do not offer long shelf life for the preparations [81]. As such users continuously harvest medicinal plants which puts them under a lot of pressure that may lead to over exploitation.

Health conditions treated

Herbal therapies are still preferred in primary health care in Uganda [79] and the world [4]. The use of many herbal remedies for treatment of different ailments has been reported in other studies in Uganda [1, 53] and other countries like India [82] and Ethiopia [65]. Thus the diversity of medicinal plants used meet the varied health care needs of communities of Mabira CFR since many people cannot afford conventional treatment due to wide spread poverty. The high frequency in treatment of gynaecological conditions, digestive disorders and skin infections indicate high prevalence of these ailment categories in the study area. Other ailment categories were not commonly treated implying their low prevalence or limited traditional knowledge in the use of medicinal plants to treat them.

Informant consensus agreement

Blood system disorders had the highest informant consensus value (Fic =0.9). High Fic values are obtained when only one or a few plant species are reported to be used by a high proportion of informants to treat a particular ailment whereas low Fic values indicate that informants disagree over which plant to use [83]. The high Fic for blood system disorders indicates agreement among respondents on the different plant species used to manage them as well as their significance. Within this category the main condition treated was hypertension (high blood pressure). The prevalence of hypertension was confirmed in a third of adults in Mukono district [84]. The respondents attributed this to age and obesity. A study on screening of bioactive constituents of Solanum anguivi fruits which was mentioned as one of the remedies against high blood pressure revealed a lot of bioactive phytochemicals which include alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, triterpenoids and phenols. The phenols have the ability to retard lipid oxidation in oils and fatty foods [85] thereby reducing cardiovascular diseases. The low Fic value of zero (0) in the following ailment categories; painful body parts, Childcare, muscular skeletal pains, abnormalities, body odour, psychiatric disorders and poisonous animal bites imply lack of agreement in the plant species used in treatment of such ailments. Fic values close to zero that are indicative of low informant agreement [86] could be attributed to use of same species for many ailments in the community.

Fidelity level

Vernonia amygdalina had a fidelity level of 100 % and ranked highest in the treatment of malaria as had been documented in other parts of Uganda [56, 63]. Its leaf extract has been confirmed for having good anti-malarial effects [87, 88] and through in vitro studies [88, 89]. Vernonia amygdalina contains steroid glycosides, sesquiterpene and lactones which are active against Plasmodium falciparum [90, 91]. This species has also been found to be clinically effective for the treatment of malaria patients [92]. In human trials, extracts of Vernonia amygdalina reduced parastaemia by 32 % [93]. Although Vernonia amygdalina is effective for malaria treatment, it can induce labour in pregnant women [1] thus causing miscarriages and therefore should be avoided by them. Species with high fidelity level [94] such as Vernonia amygdalina for malaria and Erythrina abyssinica for vomiting indicates that these species two were considered of great cultural significance. Erythrina abyssinica too has a wide range of use varying from treatment of malaria [95], syphilis [16], tuberculosis [52] to amoebiasis [19] in Uganda. In Kenya E. abyssinica is used to treat mumps [96], respiratory tract infections in Mexico [97] and febrile illness in Ethiopia [49]. Its usage for different ailments is possibly due to a wide range of bioactive compounds [95].

Besides malaria, V. amygdalina has been used in Uganda to treat various diseases. A decoction from its roots and leaves is used to treat syphilis, ulcers, liver problems [1], its stem bark is used to treat tuberculosis [52] and its roots are used to treat cough, abdominal pain, wounds, hernia and headache [8]. The use of V. amygdalina leaves was reported to treat heamorrhoids [57] in Nigeria, malaria [98] in Ghana and in Ethiopia against bloating, dandruff and impotency [49]. The 100 % choice by key informants of using V. amygdalina and E. abyssinca for treatment of malaria and vomiting is an indicator of the healing potential of these plant species [99]. These results point to the great potential of V. amygdalina and E. abyssinica for use as sources of new drugs for treatment against malaria and vomiting.

Other species that were preferred in this study were also medicinally important in other areas against the same or different ailments. The use of the same species in different areas against the same ailment confirms the confidence users have in herbal remedies. Momordica feotida was used in Uganda to treat sexually transmitted infections and abdominal pain [8], cough [56] and its roots were effective against erectile dysfunction [3]. The stem bark of Warburgia ugandensis was effective against tuberculosis in Mpigi while both its roots and bark treated erectile dysfunction in Western Uganda [3]. However, leaves of the same plant were used in Kenya to treat common cold and sore throat [96]. Alstonia boonei treated haemorrhoids in Nigeria [57]. The wide spread reporting on the use of these medicinal plants by different communities in different localities could be attributed to different cultural groups which could validate medicinal properties of these species and confirms the confidence users have in the remedies.

The low citation of Prunus africana against prostate cancer reflects lack of awareness about the symptoms of the disease, the facts that it is specific to men of a specific age category, the fact that not all men gate prostate cancer and that diagnosis of prostate cancer is not done. It also indicates limited sharing of knowledge about the disease in the study area.

According to [100], plant species with high fidelity level values are considered potential candidates for further pharmacological investigations and deserve priority attention.

Results from computations of Fic and FL do not collaborate each other since they measure different values but also the diseases treated were grouped in categories and no single disease was considered alone in the Fic calculations. This is due to the different formulae used to calculate the two values. FL was calculated based use reports of a plant species to treat an ailment yet Fic was calculated based on consensus among informants for use of plant species to treat different diseases in an ailment category. However, FL values corroborated well with ranking of preferred species.

Conclusions

The study shows that Mabira CFR habours a wide diversity of plant species used as remedies for several ailments. Such plants are very useful especially to people who cannot afford modern medical care and in cases where access to modern heath facilities is not easy. Knowledge and use of herbal medicine for treatment of various ailments among the local people is still part of their life and culture and this calls for preservation of the integrity of the forest and indigenous knowledge of herbal medicine use. The documented plants have potential of being used in drug development.

Ethics and approval of the study

Ethical approval of the study was obtained from the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST) under registration number SS 3368 after obtaining a research license from National forestry Authority (NFA).

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Abbreviations

CFR: 

Central Forest Reserve

FL: 

Fidelity level

Fic

Informant Consensus factor

NFA: 

National Forestry Authority

RRA: 

Rapid Rural Appraisal

UNCST: 

Uganda National Council of Science and Technology

Declarations

Acknowledgements

We are greatly indebted to African Development Bank who provided funds for fieldwork. We wish to thank the traditional healers and local people that provided information. We appreciate the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST) for granting us permission to carry out this study and the National Forestry Authority for allowing us to collect samples from the forest. We wish to thank our forest guides Mr. Abdu Kasozi, Mr. Sekabira Samuel and Mr. Kizito Isaac and research Assistant Ms Catherine Twesiime. We also acknowledge the assistance rendered by the staff of Makerere University Herbarium in identifying the plant species.

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Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Biological Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University
(2)
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University
(3)
Bishop Stuart University

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