Tanzania Journal of Science

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Ethnopharmacological and Phytochemical Review of Allium Species (Sweet Garlic) and Tulbaghia Species (Wild Garlic) from Southern Africa

SL Lyantagaye


Tulbaghia (wild Garlic) is a plant genus most closely related to the genus Allium both in the family Alliaceae and is entirely indigenous to Southern Africa. Indigenous people use several species of the genus as food and medicine, and few species are commonly grown as ornamentals. Biological and pharmacological research on Tulbaghia species and their relationship with Allium sativum (sweet Garlic) are presented and critically evaluated. Informations from studies on the treatment of microbes-caused diseases as well as of cancer have been presented in ethnobotanical reports. Moreover, recent scientific studies have been performed on crude extracts for certain Tulbaghia species as reviewed in this article. This article gives a critical assessment of the literature to date and aims to show that the pharmaceutical potential of the members of the genus Tulbaghia is comparable to that of its close relative A. sativum but has been underestimated and deserves closer attention.

Keywords: Allium sativum, Ethnobotany, Ethnopharmacology, Medicinal, Phytochemical, Southern Africa, Tulbaghia

Tanz. J. Sci. Vol. 37 2011, 58-72

AJOL African Journals Online