An ethno-botanical survey of plants used for management of cancer in North-eastern Nigeria

Abstract An ethno-botanical survey was conducted to collect plants use in cancer management within the North-Eastern Nigeria. A semi structured questionnaire was administered to traditional medicine practitioners (TMPs) to collect relevant information.  Thirty nine (39) respondents were interviewed and questionnaire administered to them. The average age of respondents is 46.7 years and there was a dominance of the male gender 31(93.9%) in the practice of traditional medicine compared to their female counterpart 2(6.1%). Seventy percent (70.9%) of the respondent inherited the practice from their fathers, while 29.1% joined the practice without family history of the practice. Most of the TMPs have not had formal education; only about 3(9.1%) had tertiary education of up to University level, 8(24.2%) high school, 3(9.1%) had up to primary school level. However, because of the religious background most 19(57.6%) had informal education; none has admitted to be illiterate. A total of twenty five (25) plant species belonging to about 14 different families were identified that are claimed to have anticancer potential. Thirteen 13 (52%) of the plants identified are used as single plant by the TMPs, while 12(48%) of the plants are used as recipes. Different parts of the plant are used, plant root have higher preference, with 28% being used, followed by leaves 24%, while other part of the plant comprises the remaining percentage. Fifty two percent 52% of respondent administer their medications orally, 3% topically, and 29% administer both topically and orally. This study confirmed the use of medicinal plants in managing cancer in North-Eastern Nigeria, and further revealed that many different combinations as recipes are used in curing cancer in addition to using single plants. The challenge now is to scientifically validate the claims and work toward producing novel anticancer drug(s) from the identified plants.

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Updated: April 26, 2017 — 5:11 pm