Medicinal Plants and Traditional Healing Methods

Authored by: Maurice M. Iwu

Handbook of African Medicinal Plants

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466571976
eBook ISBN: 9781466571983
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b16292-7

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Abstract

Edible food plants, spices, and fruits are the dominant ingredients in many African medicinal remedies. The ordinariness of such ingredients has been a major setback in the search for novel pharmacologically active compounds from plants used in traditional medicine. Recent developments in the management of chronic illness and metabolic diseases have shown that such dietary plants, when used properly, not only prevent diseases but also reverse the degeneration in chronic and metabolic diseases. Perhaps the objective in prescribing such food plants is to direct the treatment at the cellular level, which presents a different pharmacodynamics than a chemical inhibitor/ agonist approach. The acute diseases treated by herbal medicines are usually diseases of the rural poor in villages, which include diarrhea, snakebite, pneumonia, parasitic infections, tuberculosis, and complications in pregnancy, sickle-cell anemia, and rheumatic heart disease. Diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and the various types of cancer are considered diseases of affluence, and the first line of intervention in traditional medicine is to initiate lifestyle changes followed by the administration of appropriate medicinal plants.

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