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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 617459, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/617459
Review Article

Traditional Medicines in Africa: An Appraisal of Ten Potent African Medicinal Plants

Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, 230 Réduit, Mauritius

Received 23 May 2013; Revised 27 September 2013; Accepted 10 October 2013

Academic Editor: John R. S. Tabuti

Copyright © 2013 M. Fawzi Mahomoodally. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The use of medicinal plants as a fundamental component of the African traditional healthcare system is perhaps the oldest and the most assorted of all therapeutic systems. In many parts of rural Africa, traditional healers prescribing medicinal plants are the most easily accessible and affordable health resource available to the local community and at times the only therapy that subsists. Nonetheless, there is still a paucity of updated comprehensive compilation of promising medicinal plants from the African continent. The major focus of the present review is to provide an updated overview of 10 promising medicinal plants from the African biodiversity which have short- as well as long-term potential to be developed as future phytopharmaceuticals to treat and/or manage panoply of infectious and chronic conditions. In this endeavour, key scientific databases have been probed to investigate trends in the rapidly increasing number of scientific publications on African traditional medicinal plants. Within the framework of enhancing the significance of traditional African medicinal plants, aspects such as traditional use, phytochemical profile, in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies and also future challenges pertaining to the use of these plants have been explored.