Medicinal Plants Used Against Typhoid Fever in Bamboutos Division, Western Cameroon
Keywords:typhoid fever, Bamboutos Division, Cameroon, medicinal plants, healers, elderly person
AbstractTyphoid fever is a serious infectious disease that has been a public health concern for millennia. An impressive number of plant species are traditionally used in the management of typhoid fever in the Bamboutos Division of the West Region of Cameroon. In the present ethnobotanical survey an attempt has been made to document the different medicinal plants used traditionally by traditional healers and elders to treat typhoid fever. Ethnobotanical interviews on medicinal plants used to treat typhoid fever were conducted with traditional healers and elderly persons using open-ended semi-structured questionnaires. Field trips were made to the sites where they harvest plants, and specimens were collected and identified. A total of 59 medicinal plant species belonging to 56 genera and 33 families were recorded during the study. The most commonly used plant families recorded were Asteraceae (17%); Fabaceae (7%); and Bignoniaceae, Malvaceae, and Moraceae (5.0% each). The most frequently utilized medicinal plant parts were leaves (48.6%), followed by bark (28.9%), stem (7.8%), whole plant (6.5%), roots (5.2%), and fruits (2.6%). while shrubs (35,5%) were the primary source of medicine, followed by herbs (32.2%) and trees (30.5%). Most of the medicinal plant species (40.6%) were harvested from the wild compared to 38.9% from cultivated land and 20.3% semi-cultivated. Decoction was the most common method of traditional drug preparation. Oral administration was the only mode of dispensing of herbal medicine. Most of the plants were used in combination to increase effectiveness in the treatment of the disease. Knowledge of the use of plants as medicines remains mostly with traditional healers and older generation who are illiterate. It is recommended that research institutes and university researchers carry out research on these species so as to conserve and improve their genetic constitutions. Also, attempts must be made to encourage the documentation of plants, so that they can be readily accessible to a larger number of populace.
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