Herbal medicine used for the treatment of diarrhea and cough in the city of Kampala, Uganda


This article was originally published here

Too Med Health. Jan 7, 2022; 50 (1): 5. doi: 10.1186 / s41182-021-00389-x.


BACKGROUND: Globally, diarrheal and respiratory diseases are among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity. Cities in Uganda are faced with the proliferation of trade in herbal medicines (HDs), including those for diarrhea and / or coughs. Information on the economic and ethnopharmacological aspects of these HDs is scarce, which deters the sector from achieving optimal capacity to support national development. We presented the anti-diarrheal and / or anti-cough HM, and the basic economics of HM trade in Kampala city, to support ethnopharmacological knowledge conservation and strategic planning.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 65 herbalists using semi-structured questionnaires. This was supplemented by an observational survey using a high resolution digital camera. Data were collected according to guidelines for HH research established by the Uganda National Drug Authority and the World Health Organization.

RESULTS: Eighty-four plant species from 41 families were documented. The Fabaceae and Myricaceae had the greatest number of species (9, 10.7% each). Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck was most frequently cited for cough, with a relative citation frequency (RFC) of 1.00, and its relative medical importance was not significantly different from the other 5 major species, at the exception of Azadirachta indica A.Juss (RFC = 0.87). Entada abyssinica A. Rich (RFC = 0.97) was most cited for diarrhea. The trees (34, 40.5%) were mainly used and mainly harvested from wild habitats (55.2%) in 20 districts across Uganda. These HMs were mainly sold as powders and concoctions, in markets, stores, pharmacies and road or mobile stalls. The highest prices were in Ugandan shillings (UGX) 48,000 ($ 13.15) / kg for Allium sativum L and 16,000 UGX ($ 4.38) / kg for C. silt. All participants used the HM trade as the sole source of basic needs; the majority (60.0%) achieved monthly net profit from UGX. 730,000 ($ 200) ≤ 1,460,000 ($ 400). The main barriers to HM trade were: disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 65, 100%) and the scarcity of medicinal plants (58, 89.2%).

CONCLUSION: There is a rich diversity of medicinal plant species marketed in Kampala to treat diarrhea and cough. HM trade contributes significantly to the livelihoods of traders in Kampala, as well as the various actors along the HM value chain across the country.

PMID: 34991719 | DOI: 10.1186 / s41182-021-00389-x


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