Use of herbal medicine in the management of trypanosomiasis in Angola
24 October 2017 (online)
More than 70 per cent of the Angolan population relies on herbal remedies to treat various ailments. Angola is endemic with Human African Trypanosomiasis, a parasitic disease . Though current chemotherapy is available to treat trypanosomiasis, the treatment is long and adherent, which complicates its implementation in remote rural communities. It is supposed that rural population who lacks access to biomedical medication, turns to folk medicine to cure sleeping sickness and its symptoms. There is extensive literature on antitrypanosomal activity of traditionally-used African medicinal plants , but to our current knowledge, there has not yet been a study reporting the use of local herbal remedies to heal trypanosomiasis and its symptoms in Angola.
We explored the use of herbal remedies by conducting structured and semi-structured interviews within two distinct study populations. The first group comprises 30 patients who were biomedically diagnosed for trypanosomiasis and treated by reference treatment. The second group included 9 traditional practitioners who have already healed sleeping sickness.
Out of the patient group, first qualitative results show that almost half of the inquired lay people turns to folk medicine in the management of trypanosomiasis symptoms. From 30 patients, 12 use herbal remedies before visiting a biomedical doctor. Out of these 12, 3 reported improvement of health condition.
Out of 9 traditional practitioners interviewed, 31 medicinal plants were cited to heal sleeping sickness. Among them, Vitex madiensis was the most cited medicinal plant. Roots and leaves are the most used plant parts and decoction is the mostly cited mode of preparation. Though species identification is being finalized, the most represented family in species used to manage sleeping sickness is Fabaceae.
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