Nigerian Journal of Natural Products and Medicine

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Plants used in treatment of five cancers in two Local Government Areas in southwest Nigerian ethnomedicine

V.C. Mephors, O.O. Ogbole, E.O. Ajaiyeoba


An ethnomedicinal survey of plants used in the folkloric treatment and management of cancer was conducted in Southwest Nigeria in two local government areas (LGAs), namely: Adamasingba (North-West) and Ogbomoso (South) in Oyo State, Nigeria. Thirty-one respondents made up of traditional medical practitioners (TMP), herbalists, elders in the communities and herb sellers were interviewed orally through the use of semi-structured questionnaires. Demographic data collected on the respondents and ethnomedicinal information obtained on the plants included plant species, families, local names and plant parts used, forms of application and method of administration. The use-mentions index (UMi) was calculated for each plant. The information on the questionnaire revealed that the age of the respondents ranged between 21-65 years. Twenty-five were males (81 %), while six (19 %) were females. Eighty seven (87) plant species belonging to 57 families were mentioned as traditional remedies for the treatment of the five different cancers in the study areas. Caesalpiniaceae was the most dominant family with 7 species. This was followed by Meliaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, Annonaceae, Mimosoideae and Moraceae with 4 species each. The most frequently mentioned plants in the recipies proffered by respondents were Aframmomum melegueta and Dysphania ambrosioides with an UMi of 0.129. The study provides an inventory of Southwest Nigerian plants that have anti-cancer potential and could be investigated as cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Keywords: Ethnomedicine, Anticancer plants, Southwest Nigeria

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