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September 2019

J Ethnopharmacol. 1995 Nov; 48(3): 131-44.

Traditional healers in Tanzania: the treatment of malaria with plant remedies.

Gessler MC, Msuya DE, Nkunya MH, Mwasumbi LB, Schär A, Heinrich M, Tanner M.

Swiss Tropical Institute, Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Basel, Switzerland.

In order to collect ethnobotanical information about antimalarial plants which is essential for the further evaluation of the efficacy of plants an antimalarial remedies, we investigated the management of malaria with traditional herbal remedies, including the use, preparation and administration, by traditional healers in Tanzania. Interviews with traditional healers were conducted in different rural and urban places in Tanzania: in the Kilombero valley (Kilombero/Ulanga District), on the main island of Ukerewe (Ukerewe District), in the region near Bukoba town (Bukoba district), and in the settlement of Dar es Salaam (largest city in Tanzania). The results of the study show that all traditional healers treat malaria with herbal remedies consisting of one to five different plants. The list of plants which they use for antimalarial treatment contains a large number of species from different families. Multiple citations of plants by different healers were rare. Most of the respondents attributed to the plants mentioned, or to the remedies made from them, specific effects and sometimes side effects, explaining and illustrating their use or non-use for different patients or manifestations of the disease/illness.


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