Most people with epilepsy (PWE) live in developing countries with limited access to health care facilities. In sub-Saharan Africa with approximately 12 million PWE, 90% do not receive adequate medical treatment. In this context, traditional medicine, being easily accessible, plays an important role. However, in sub- Saharan Africa, studies on the attitude of people (both affected and not affected by epilepsy) towards traditional medicine for treatment of epilepsy are scarce. In this study, 167 people (59 PWE, 62 relatives, 46 villagers) were interviewed at the hospital and in the community with a semi-structured validated questionnaire regarding the prevailing attitude towards traditional medicine for treatment of epilepsy in a rural area of northern Tanzania. Various traditional healing methods (THM) could be ascertained, i.e. traditional herbal medicine, spiritual healing, scarifications and spitting. 44.3% (n=74/167) of the interviewed people were convinced that epilepsy could be treated successfully with THM. Interestingly, 34.1% (n=57/167) thought that Christian prayers could cure the cause and/or treat symptoms of epilepsy. Significantly more PWE and their relatives were in favour of THM compared to villagers not knowing about epilepsy or not being immediately affected by epilepsy (χ2-test, p=0.004). Further factors influencing people's attitudes towards THM were gender, tribe, religion and urbanity of people's dwellings. Our study demonstrates that not only THM but also prayers in the Christian sense seem to play an important role in people's beliefs regarding successful treatment of epilepsy. Factors influencing this belief system have been identified and are discussed.
epilepsy; traditional medicine; Tanzania
There is a prevailing conviction that if traditional medicine (TRM) or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are integrated into healthcare systems, modern scientific medicine (MSM) should retain its principal status. This paper contends that this position is misguided in medical contexts where TRM is established and remains vibrant. By reflecting on the Chinese policy on three entrenched forms of TRM (Tibetan, Mongolian and Uighur medicines) in western regions of China, the paper challenges the ideology of science that lies behind the demand that all traditional forms of medicine be evaluated and reformed according to MSM standards. Tibetan medicine is used as a case study to indicate the falsity of a major premise of the scientific ideology. The conclusion is that the proper integrative system for TRM and MSM is a dual standard based system in which both TRM and MSM are free to operate according to their own medical standards.
traditional medicine; medical integration; scientific standard; fairness
In South Africa, over 6 million people are hypertensive and the burden of disease shows that cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death among adults. Although treatments exist, few people comply or adhere to recommended treatment due to side effects or costs of the drugs, hence the reliance on alternative forms of treatment. Traditional herbal medicines (THM) are used for the management of hypertension but the prevalence of its use among hypertensive patients living in South African communities is not sufficiently known.
This was a cross-sectional descriptive study to determine the prevalence of THM use for hypertension, among 135 purposefully selected South African participants of the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, who are THM users. Data on THM use were collected by way of face to face interviews using structured questionnaires administered by trained field workers. Standard descriptive measures were used to characterize the study sample and responses to the questionnaire. Chi-square test was used when making comparisons between groups.
There were 135 THM users, 21% of whom used THM to treat hypertension. Majority (82.1%) of the hypertensive THM users were females, only 29% were married or co-habitating, virtually all (96%) were unemployed and 86% were Christians. More than half (56%) of the respondents were aged between 55 and 64 years. THM was occasionally used (51.9%) as a combination of tea and other mixtures (63%) and prescribed by family/ friends/self-administered. There was a significant difference in the age, marital and employment status, as well as the form and frequency of THM use of hypertensive THM users compared to other THM users.
The study gives an insight into the prevalence of THM use by hypertensive patients in selected South African communities. The practice of self-medication was also observed which raises concern regarding the safety of medications taken by the participants. Health care providers should however be more aware of THM use and counsel patients regarding the combination of prescribed treatment regimen and herbal medicines and the potential of herb-drug interactions.
Agrarian rural dwellers in Nigeria produce about 95% of locally grown food commodities. The low accessibility to and affordability of orthodox medicine by rural dwellers and their need to keep healthy to be economically productive, have led to their dependence on traditional medicine. This paper posits an increasing acceptance of traditional medicine country-wide and advanced reasons for this trend. The fact that traditional medicine practitioners' concept of disease is on a wider plane vis-à-vis orthodox medicine practitioners' has culminated in some socio-cultural and magico-religious practices observed in preparation and use of plant medicines for farmers' health management. Possible scientific reasons were advanced for some of these practices to show the nexus between traditional medicine and orthodox medicine. The paper concludes that the psychological aspect of traditional medicine are reflected in its socio-cultural and magico-religious practices and suggests that government should fund research into traditional medicine to identify components of it that can be integrated into the national health system.
This paper critically examines the morality of advertising by practitioners in spiritual healing and herbal medicine heretofore referred to as traditional medicine, in southern African urban societies. While the subject of traditional medicine has been heavily contested in medical studies in the last few decades, the monumental studies on the subject have emphasised the place of traditional medicine in basic health services. Insignificant attention has been devoted to examine the ethical problems associated with traditional medicine advertising. Critical look at the worthiness of some advertising strategies used by practitioners in traditional medicine in launching their products and services on market thus has been largely ignored. Yet, though advertising is key to helping traditional medicine practitioners’ products and services known by prospective customers, this research registers a number of morally negative effects that seem to outweigh the merits that the activity brings to prospective customers. The paper adopts southern African urban societies, and in particular Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe as particular references. The choice of the trio is not accidental, but based on the fact that these countries have in the last few decades been flooded with traditional medicine practitioners/traditional healers from within the continent and from abroad. Most of these practitioners use immoral advertising strategies in communicating to the public the products and services they offer. It is against this background that this paper examines the morality of advertising strategies deployed by practitioners in launching their products and services. To examine the moral worthiness of the advertising strategies used by traditional medical practitioners, I used qualitative analysis of street adverts as well as electronic and print media. From the results obtained through thematic content analysis, the paper concludes that most of the practitioners in traditional medicine lack both business and medical ethics. That said, the paper urges practitioners to seriously consider the morality of their adverts as in most cases they (adverts) do more harm than good. Further to that, the piece recommends the governments of the affected countries to put in place stringent measures to address this mounting problem.
Keyword Advertising; herbal; spiritual; healing; traditional medicine; morality; southern Africa
The people of far-flung rural areas still depend to a large extent upon plants and household remedies for curing veterinary ailments. The folk knowledge of ethnoveterinary medicine and its significance has been identified by the traditional communities through a process of experience over hundreds of years. The paper deals with 34 ailments commonly found in nine different categories of livestock/animals (i e. buffalo, cow, oxen, sheep, goat, horse, mule, dog and cat) and their treatment with 73 medicinal plant species belonging to 70 genera and 45 families that occur in forests as well as close vicinity of the rural settlements. Out of the total population, majority of the people (more than 80%) was found dependent on traditional (herbal) system of treatments practiced by local herbal healers (Pashu Vaidyas), while rest of the people preferred modern (allopathic) system of treatments for curing veterinary ailments. In this study we observed that old aged people have more knowledge and experience particularly in remote areas for curing veterinary ailments. The traditional system of treatment is one of the most important prevailing systems in the area where modern veterinary health care facilities are rare or in very poor conditions.
Ethnoveterinary uses; Medicinal plants; Veterinary ailments; Livestock; Traditional herbal healers; Alaknanda catchment
Concern about the use of endangered and threatened species in traditional medicine escalated as populations of many species plummeted because of poaching for the medicinal trade. Nigeria is known for a long and valued tradition of using wild animals and plants for medicinal purposes. Despite this, studies on medicinal animals are still scarce when compared to those focusing on medicinal plants. Utilisation of wild animals in traditional Yorubic medical practices was indiscriminate as it involved threatened species. By touting the medicinal properties of these species, traditional medicine fuel continuing demand, thereby subjecting such species to further threats. This paper examined the use and commercialisation of pangolins for traditional medicinal purposes amongst the Ijebus, South-western Nigeria, and the implications of this utilisation for the conservation of this species.
Traditional Yorubic medical practitioners (tymps) (16) and dealers in traditional medicinal ingredients (56) in public markets in Ijebu province, Nigeria, were interviewed using open-ended questionnaires. The dynamic stock movement of pangolins in the stalls of dealers was also monitored to determine quantity of pangolins sold into the traditional Yorubic medicinal practices. Specific conditions treated and the parts required were also documented.
A total of 178 whole pangolin carcasses were sold into traditional medical practices. Above 55% of respondents had just primary education, over 90% of respondents were not aware of either the conservation status of this species or the existence of any legal machinery regulating its trade and utilisation, while 14% admitted to giving contracts to hunters for deliberate search for this animal when needed. More than 98% of respondents have no other means of livelihood. The trade was female dominated while the healing practice had more males. Pangolins were used in various preparations to treat a total of 42 conditions. These include infertility, gastro-intestinal disorders, safe parturition, stomach ulcers, rheumatism and fibroid. Traditional Yorubic medicine also accommodated some situations that are out of the range of conventional medicine like boosting sales, conferring invisibility, removing bad luck, appeasing/wading off witches cum evil forces and money rituals. Some of these situations specifically require juvenile, or even pregnant female animals.
Traditional Yorubic medical practices eats deep into the reproductive base of the species, presently listed in Appendix II of CITES and Schedule I of the Nigerian Decree 11 (1985), both of which recommended strict control in sales and utilisation of this species. Its numerous medicinal values, folk culture and financial benefits of these activities are the main factors promoting the commercialisation and use of this species. Pharmacological studies on the various preparations are required to identify the bioactive compounds in them. There is a need for improved and urgent measures to conserve populations of this species in-situ. Massive education and enlightenment is urgently needed for the populace to have the necessary awareness and orientation about the conservation of this species.
Ethical challenges are prevalent in modern-day medicine. Whether arising in the daily practice of medicine, in the conduct of research, or in our educational practices, physicians need to understand the relevance ethics plays in our professional lives. This paper examines the ethical foundations of medical ethics, suggests qualities that define optimal professionalism, and frames the discussion employing two hypothetic case presentations.
medical professionalism; ethics; altruism; obligation
Complementary medicine is a formal method of health care in most countries of the ancient world. It is expected to become more widely integrated into the modern medical system, including the medical curriculum. Despite the perception of modern medicine as more efficacious, traditional medicine continues to be practiced. More than 70% of the developing world's population still depends primarily on the complementary and alternative systems of medicine (CAM). In rural areas, cultural beliefs and practices often lead to self-care, home remedies or consultation with traditional healers. Herbal medicine can be broadly classified into four basic systems as follows: Traditional Chinese Herbalism, Ayurvedic Herbalism, Western Herbalism—which originally came from Greece and Rome to Europe and then spread to North and South America and Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine (TAIM). There is no doubt that today the concept of Arabic traditional herbal medicine is a part of modern life in the Middle East, and it is acquiring worldwide respect, with growing interest among traditional herbalists and the scientific community. TAIM therapies have shown remarkable success in healing acute as well as chronic diseases and have been utilized by people in most countries of the Mediterranean who have faith in spiritual healers. TAIM is the first choice for many in dealing with ailments such as infertility, epilepsy, psychosomatic troubles and depression. In parallel, issues of efficacy and safety of complementary medicine have become increasingly important and supervision of the techniques and procedures used is required for commercial as well as traditional uses. More research is therefore needed to understand this type of medicine and ensure its safe usage. The present review will discuss the status of traditional Arab medicine (particularly herbal medicine), including the efficacy and toxicity of specific medicinal preparations, with an emphasis on the modern in vitro and in vivo techniques.
Arab herbal medicine; efficacy; toxicity
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), including herbal medicine, are popular in the general population worldwide. Parallel to the increasing interest in ‘modern’ CAM therapies and the historical importance of Arab medicine, there is also a similar trend in research activities dealing with the efficacy and safety of medicinal plants in our region. Historical and current studies and surveys indicate that the Eastern region of the Mediterranean has been distinguished throughout the generations with a rich inventory of natural medicinal herbs. It is well documented that indigenous Arab medicine has contributed greatly to the development of modern medicine in Europe and remains one of the closest forms of original European medicine. The rapid increase in consumption of herbal remedies worldwide has been stimulated by several factors, including the notion that all herbal products are safe and effective. This article presents a systematic review on traditional Arab medicine including historical background, medical innovations introduced by Arab physicians in the field of safety and efficacy of herbal medicine and a state-of-the-art description of traditional Arab herbal medicine in the Mediterranean region.
Arab herbal medicine; in vitro and in vivo complementary medicine; toxicity and efficacy
Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world, and one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites. Despite this importance, very little information exits on the cities flora in general, and medicinal species found within its limit in particular. Traditional medicine plays a large role in Indian society. The presented study attempted to investigate if traditional plant use and availability of important common medicinal plants are maintained in urban environments. The paper presents information on the traditional uses of seventy-two plant species collected form the campus of Banares Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and highlights the uses of these plants by the local inhabitants.
Animal-based remedies constitute an integral part of Brazilian Traditional Medicine. Due to its long history, zootherapy has in fact become an integral part of folk medicine both in rural and urban areas of the country. In this paper we summarize current knowledge on zootherapeutic practices in Northeast of Brazil, based on information compiled from ethnobiological scientific literature.
In order to examine the diversity of animals used in traditional medicine in Northeast of Brazil, all available references or reports of folk remedies based on animals sources were examined. 34 sources were analyzed. Only taxa that could be identified to species level were included in assessment of medicinal animal species. Scientific names provided in publications were updated.
The review revealed that at least 250 animal species (178 vertebrates and 72 invertebrates) are used for medicinal purposes in Northeast of Brazil. The inventoried species comprise 10 taxonomic categories and belong to 141 Families. The groups with the greatest number of species were fishes (n = 58), mammals (n = 47) and reptiles (n = 37). The zootherapeutical products are used for the treatment of different illnesses. The most widely treated condition were asthma, rheumatism and sore throat, conditions, which had a wide variety of animals to treat them with. Many animals were used for the treatment of multiple ailments. Beyond the use for treating human diseases, zootherapeutical resources are also used in ethnoveterinary medicine
The number of medicinal species catalogued was quite expressive and demonstrate the importance of zootherapy as alternative therapeutic in Northeast of Brazil. Although widely diffused throughout Brazil, zootherapeutic practices remain virtually unstudied. There is an urgent need to examine the ecological, cultural, social, and public health implications associated with fauna usage, including a full inventory of the animal species used for medicinal purposes and the socio-cultural context associated with their consumption.
Changes in the regulation of junior doctors' hours and in the design of medical career pathways have rendered the traditional weekly tutorial ineffective for teaching the core knowledge of emergency medicine. In this paper, the inception of a virtual leaning environment and the development of an online course for F2 doctors in our emergency department are described. The course, delivered in the open source Moodle virtual learning environment, allows us to reliably deliver educational content to all our juniors regardless of shift patterns. It provides insight into the effectiveness of that education, and records the students' activities and achievements to a level far beyond that achievable through traditional teaching methods.
Traditional herbal medicines are commonly used in sub-Saharan Africa and some herbs are known to be hepatotoxic. However little is known about the effect of herbal medicines on liver disease in sub-Saharan Africa.
500 HIV-infected participants in a rural HIV care program in Rakai, Uganda, were frequency matched to 500 HIV-uninfected participants. Participants were asked about traditional herbal medicine use and assessed for other potential risk factors for liver disease. All participants underwent transient elastography (FibroScan®) to quantify liver fibrosis. The association between herb use and significant liver fibrosis was measured with adjusted prevalence risk ratios (adjPRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using modified Poisson multivariable logistic regression.
19 unique herbs from 13 plant families were used by 42/1000 of all participants, including 9/500 HIV-infected participants. The three most-used plant families were Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Lamiaceae. Among all participants, use of any herb (adjPRR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.3–3.5, p = 0.002), herbs from the Asteraceae family (adjPRR = 5.0, 95% CI 2.9–8.7, p<0.001), and herbs from the Lamiaceae family (adjPRR = 3.4, 95% CI 1.2–9.2, p = 0.017) were associated with significant liver fibrosis. Among HIV infected participants, use of any herb (adjPRR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.0–5.0, p = 0.044) and use of herbs from the Asteraceae family (adjPRR = 5.0, 95% CI 1.7–14.7, p = 0.004) were associated with increased liver fibrosis.
Traditional herbal medicine use was independently associated with a substantial increase in significant liver fibrosis in both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected study participants. Pharmacokinetic and prospective clinical studies are needed to inform herb safety recommendations in sub-Saharan Africa. Counseling about herb use should be part of routine health counseling and counseling of HIV-infected persons in Uganda.
The elderly consume many medications including traditional medicines. In 1986, it was found that 29% of elderly took traditional medicines although in 1996, the National Health Morbidity survey reported a 2.3% prevalence. However, studies from other countries showed much higher percentages. The Ministry of Health in Malaysia is concerned that some of these preparations maybe contaminated with steroids, antihistamines, hormones and other poisons. The aims of the study were to determine a). the health seeking behaviour of elderly Malays living in rural areas, b). the utilization of both modern and traditional medicines and c). the steroid content of the traditional medicines used. Methodology included interviews using structured questionnaires of elderly Malays living in rural areas of Kelantan, aged above 60 years. Samples of traditional medications collected were sent to the Pharmacology Department, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, for steroid content analysis using Thin Layer Chromatography. A total of 599 elderly respondents were interviewed comprising 62.4% females and 37.6% males. The 60–69 years cohort group made up 48.7%, followed by 70–79 years at 36.1% and the remainder 15.2% were more than 80 years. There were 82% of elderly taking medicines. The trends of utilization of modern and traditional medicine in the last two weeks among elderly were 59.3% and 40.9% respectively. The utilization of traditional medicine by rural elderly Malays was therefore much higher than that reported in the previous study and nearly similar to that of France and Australian studies. There were 102 samples of traditional medications collected and analysed for steroid content. Results showed that 27.5% were positive for prednisolone, 34.3% positive for unknown steroids (a total of 61.8%) and 38.2% were negative for both steroids. The present study therefore once again confirmed the high usage of traditional medicines where some of which are contaminated with steroids.
Rural elderly; traditional medicines; steroids; prednisolone
This paper analyses how the conceptual and therapeutic formation of Japanese traditional medicine (Kampo) has been socially constructed through interactions with popular interpretations of illness. Taking the example of emotion-related disorders, this paper focuses on the changing meaning of constraint (utsu) in Kampo medicine. Utsu was once a name for one of the most frequently cited emotion-related disorders and pathological concerns during the Edo period. With the spread of Western medicine in the Meiji period, neurasthenia replaced utsu as the dominant emotion-related disorder in Japanese society. As a result, post-Meiji doctors developed other conceptual tools and strategies to respond to these new disease categories, innovations that continue to influence contemporary practitioners. I begin this history by focusing on Wada Tōkaku, a Japanese doctor of the Edo period who developed a unique theory and treatment strategy for utsu. Secondly, I examine. Yomuto Kyūshin and Mori Dōhaku, Kampo doctors of the early twentieth century, who privileged neurasthenia over utsu in their medical practice. The paper concludes with a discussion of the flexibility and complexity of Kampo medicine, how its theory and practices have been influenced by cross-cultural changes in medicine and society, while incorporating the popular experience of illness as well.
Kampo medicine; Emotion-related disorders; Utsu; Neurasthenia; Constraint
Limb amputation is a major cause of disability in Nigeria, and inadequate health facilities for limb salvage procedures and rehabilitation have increased the burden of amputation surgery in our environment. The common indication for limb amputation in Nigeria is limb gangrene due to trauma. A road traffic accident is an important cause of the trauma, and the role of the traditional bonesetters in the increasing incidence of limb gangrene has been reported. The complications of the traditional bonesetter's practice in Nigeria account for about 50-60% of the limb gangrene necessitating amputation in our hospitals. Misadventures in traditional medicine practice are not new to us. People have lost their lives in the cause of testing the efficacy of traditional medicine. This paper reports an unusual indication for limb amputation in Nigeria following misadventure in a traditional medicine practice in a rural community.
Over a 15 month period all patients with corneal ulcers presenting at two district hospitals were interviewed regarding demographic and clinical characteristics and their use of traditional eye medicines (TEM). Of the 583 patients interviewed, 33.8% reported using TEM. There were no age or sex differences in TEM use. Patients who reported TEM use took, on average, 51 days between onset of symptoms and presentation while patients who denied TEM use took 13 days. Sixteen per cent of TEM users had a vision in the affected eye of < 3/60 on presentation compared with 5% of non-TEM users. The frequent use of TEM and the presence of numerous traditional healers in rural areas of Africa suggest that eye care programmes could benefit greatly by including traditional healers in primary eye care activities.
An important part of the complex culture of the Native people of Canada's Pacific coast is the traditional system of medicine each culture has developed. Population loss from epidemics and the influence of dominant European cultures has resulted in loss of many aspects of traditional medicine. Although some Native practices are potentially hazardous, continuation of traditional approaches to illness remains an important part of health care for many Native people. The use of “devil's club” plant by the Haida people illustrates that Native medicine has both spiritual and physical properties. Modern family practice shares many important foundations with traditional healing systems.
Native health; Native medicine; traditional healing systems
The field of sleep medicine is in a welcome stage of rapid advance, but at a pace that leads to a sometimes overwhelming overload of knowledge for both clinicians and researchers. The nine papers in this issue are designed to give the reader an organized overview of current thinking and background in Basic Science, Clinical Science and Therapeutic Measures, the major divisions of this special issue.
An important trend is the increasing development of basic science knowledge relevant to understanding and treating the clinical features of sleep disorders.
The therapeutic advances section covers both the treatment of narcolepsy and the role of non‐invasive ventilation. The recent neurobiologic knowledge that narcolepsy‐cataplexy results from a deficiency of the hypothalamic neuropeptide hypocretin (orexin) has opened has opened the exciting possibility of using novel therapies. Despite this new knowledge, traditional stimulants and anticataplectic agents including modafinil, a novel wake‐promoting agent and selective serotonergic, adrenergic and dopaminergic reuptake inhibitors and recently introduced sodium oxybate remain the mainstay of treatment for this condition.
To whet the reader’s appetite and to offer a road map for possible reading, we briefly summarize the content of the papers.
Diarrhoea is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in rural communities in Africa, particularly in children under the age of five. This calls for the development of cost effective alternative strategies such as the use of herbal drugs in the treatment of diarrhoea in these communities. Expenses associated with the use of orthodox medicines have generated renewed interest and reliance on indigenous medicinal plants in the treatment and management of diarrhoeal infections in rural communities. The properties of many phenolic constituents of medicinal plants such as their ability to inhibit enteropooling and delay gastrointestinal transit are very useful in the control of diarrhoea, but problems such as scarcity of valuable medicinal plants, lack of standardization of methods of preparation, poor storage conditions and incertitude in some traditional health practitioners are issues that affect the efficacy and the practice of traditional medicine in rural African communities. This review appraises the current strategies used in the treatment of diarrhoea according to the Western orthodox and indigenous African health-care systems and points out major areas that could be targeted by health-promotion efforts as a means to improve management and alleviate suffering associated with diarrhoea in rural areas of the developing world. Community education and research with indigenous knowledge holders on ways to maximise the medicinal potentials in indigenous plants could improve diarrhoea management in African rural communities.
diarrhea; gastrointestinal transit; indigenous medicinal plants; health-promotion efforts; rural Africa
Despite all the marvelous advancements in modern medicine, traditional medicine has always been practiced. More than 70% of the developing world's population still depends on the complementary and alternative systems of medicine (CAM). Cultural beliefs and practices often lead to self-care or home remedies in rural areas and consultation with traditional healers. Evidence-based CAM therapies have shown remarkable success in healing acute as well as chronic diseases. Alternative therapies have been utilized by people in Pakistan who have faith in spiritual healers, clergymen, hakeems, homeopaths or even many quacks. These are the first choice for problems such as infertility, epilepsy, psychosomatic troubles, depression and many other ailments. The traditional medicine sector has become an important source of health care, especially in rural and tribal areas of the country. The main reasons for consulting a CAM healer is the proximity, affordable fee, availability, family pressure and the strong opinion of the community. Pakistan has a very rich tradition in the use of medicinal plants for the treatment of various ailments. It necessitates the integration of the modern and CAM systems in terms of evidence-based information sharing. The health-seeking behavior of the people especially in developing countries calls for bringing all CAM healers into the mainstream by providing them with proper training, facilities and back-up for referral. A positive interaction between the two systems has to be harnessed to work for the common goal of improving health of the people.
alternative medicine; complementary medicine; health care system; health-seeking behavior; Pakistan
This paper covers the studies relevant to neuroprotective activity of Centella asiatica (L.) Urban, also known as “Gotu Kola.” The plant is native to the Southeast Asia and has been used traditionally as brain tonic in ayurvedic medicine. The neuroprotective effect of C. asiatica has been searched using the key words “Centella, Centella asiatica, gotu kola, Asiatic pennywort, neuroprotection, and memory” through the electronic databases including Sciencedirect, Web of Science, Scopus, Pubmed, and Google Scholar. According to the literature survey, C. asiatica (gotu kola) has been reported to have a comprehensive neuroprotection by different modes of action such as enzyme inhibition, prevention of amyloid plaque formation in Alzheimer's disease, dopamine neurotoxicity in Parkinson's disease, and decreasing oxidative stress. Therefore, C. asiatica could be suggested to be a desired phytopharmaceutical with neuroprotective effect emerged from traditional medicine.
The ancient cultural tradition in the middle belt region of northern Ghana, with its stone circle and house mounds, contains varied material culture. The unique contextual arrangements of the material culture within the stone circle mounds and the diverse ceramic art forms, as well as their ethnographic analogues in West Africa, indicate the mounds’ association with past shrines that have multiple functions, including curative purposes. The archaeology of the mounds and ethnographic associations related to past indigenous medical practices is reviewed and discussed. This paper will also consider how some of the figurines through which the Koma tradition has achieved ‘fame’ possibly functioned as physical representations of disease, perhaps underpinned by intentions of transference from afflicted to image. The notions of protection and healing are also examined with reference to the resorted and disarticulated human remains sometimes recovered from the sites.
Koma; figurines; cosmology; shrines; medicine; Ghana
Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), a parasitic protozoal disease, is caused primarily by two subspecies of Trypanosoma brucei. HAT is a re-emerging disease and currently threatens millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. Many affected people live in remote areas with limited access to health services and, therefore, rely on traditional herbal medicines for treatment.
A molecular docking study has been carried out on phytochemical agents that have been previously isolated and characterized from Nigerian medicinal plants, either known to be used ethnopharmacologically to treat parasitic infections or known to have in-vitro antitrypanosomal activity. A total of 386 compounds from 19 species of medicinal plants were investigated using in-silico molecular docking with validated Trypanosoma brucei protein targets that were available from the Protein Data Bank (PDB): Adenosine kinase (TbAK), pteridine reductase 1 (TbPTR1), dihydrofolate reductase (TbDHFR), trypanothione reductase (TbTR), cathepsin B (TbCatB), heat shock protein 90 (TbHSP90), sterol 14α-demethylase (TbCYP51), nucleoside hydrolase (TbNH), triose phosphate isomerase (TbTIM), nucleoside 2-deoxyribosyltransferase (TbNDRT), UDP-galactose 4′ epimerase (TbUDPGE), and ornithine decarboxylase (TbODC).
This study revealed that triterpenoid and steroid ligands were largely selective for sterol 14α-demethylase; anthraquinones, xanthones, and berberine alkaloids docked strongly to pteridine reductase 1 (TbPTR1); chromenes, pyrazole and pyridine alkaloids preferred docking to triose phosphate isomerase (TbTIM); and numerous indole alkaloids showed notable docking energies with UDP-galactose 4′ epimerase (TbUDPGE). Polyphenolic compounds such as flavonoid gallates or flavonoid glycosides tended to be promiscuous docking agents, giving strong docking energies with most proteins.
This in-silico molecular docking study has identified potential biomolecular targets of phytochemical components of antitrypanosomal plants and has determined which phytochemical classes and structural manifolds likely target trypanosomal enzymes. The results could provide the framework for synthetic modification of bioactive phytochemicals, de novo synthesis of structural motifs, and lead to further phytochemical investigations.
Traditional herbal medicine continues to play a key role in health, particularly in remote areas with limited access to “modern medicines”. Many plants are used in traditional Nigerian medicine to treat parasitic diseases. While many of these plants have shown notable activity against parasitic protozoa, in most cases the mode of activity is not known. That is, it is not known what biochemical entities are being targeted by the plant chemical constituents. In this work, we have carried out molecular docking studies of known phytochemicals from Nigerian medicinal plants used to treat human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) with known biochemical targets in the Trypanosoma brucei parasite. The goals of this study were to identify the protein targets that the medicinal plants are affecting and to discern general trends in protein target selectivity for phytochemical classes. In doing so, we have theoretically identified strongly interacting plant chemicals and their biomolecular targets. These results should lead to further research to verify the efficacy of the phytochemical agents as well as delineate possible modifications of the active compounds to increase potency or selectivity.