Ethnomedicinal survey of antidiarrheal plants of the Nyamwezi people of Nsenda ward in Urambo District, central western Tanzania
Background: Globally, diarrhoea is a primary public health concern associated with high mortality and morbidity. In Tanzania's rural areas, a paucity of contemporary health facilities and poverty have necessitated pursuing traditional remedies. However, the usage of traditional remedies is poorly documented. Therefore, this study aimed to document medicinal plants (MPs) used by traditional healers (THs) to treat diarrhoea in the Nsenda ward, Tanzania.
Methods: A semi-structured questionnaire was used to gather ethnobotanical data from 21 THs on the use of MPs in treating diarrhoea in Nsenda ward. The purpose and significance of the study were communicated to THs, and their consent was requested before interviewing them.
Results: Twenty-four MPs belonging to 17 families and 24 genera were recorded as antidiarrheal. Most reported MPs belong to Fabaceae (13%) family. Clerodendrum myricoides (Hochst.) Vatke (0.76), Psidium guajava L. (0.66), and Coffea arabica L. (0.62) had the highest relative frequency of citation. Tree (67%) and root (46%) were the most utilised life form and plant part, respectively. The wild (79%) environment offered the most utilised plant materials. Decoction (37%) was the preferred preparation technique, and all the remedies were administered orally. About 21% of the preparations involved the addition of different ingredients and solvents, 13% were consumed freshly, and 56% involved dilution of remedies in water.
Conclusion: The study has uncovered substantial numbers and knowledge of MPs used to treat diarrheal infections in the ward. The study recommends that scientific endorsement is needed to understand the pharmacological potentials of the recorded MPs.
Keywords: Antidiarrheal, diarrhoea, ethnomedicine, medicinal plants, Tanzania, Urambo
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