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close this bookTraditional Medicinal Plants (Dar Es Salaam University Press - Ministry of Health - Tanzania, 1991, 391 p.)
View the documentSession I
View the documentSession II
View the documentSession III
View the documentSession IV
View the documentSession V
View the documentSession VI
View the documentSpecial Session of Traditional Herbs
View the documentClosing Session

Session III

Chairpersons Dr. Dagne


Dr. Gheyouche gave results of studies on three plants in which aspects of microbiology, pharmacology and some phytochemistry were covered. Tests had been done on decoctions prepared as per traditional healer method.

Prof. G.M.P. Mwaluko presented a study on the use of Datura stramonium, which had been prompted by observation that the plant was added to local alcoholic brews. The plant was found to increase the stimulatory effects of alcohol. The study had used the open field test method. He expressed concern since the dosages used are not known.

Prof. W. Boping presented a very detailed paper on the use of medicinal plants in China. He stated that the uses cover many diseases and the plants are well documented in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. He stressed the importance of the use of traditional approach in studying medicinal plants.

Dr. P.C. Rwangabo gave a report of a comprehensive study on Rwandese plants. The paper gave results on three plants where identification of chemicals responsible for the major activities was possible. Antifungal and antiviral activities were also noted.


Dr. Armando wanted to know from Dr. Gheyouche whether her results were not due to a collective effect of different components. He also wanted Prof. Mwaluko to comment on the toxicity of D. stramonium.

Dr. Gheyouche answered that she was only interested in establishing relationship rather than mechanisms. Prof. Mwaluko informed Dr. Annando that chronic toxicity studies have not yet been done.

Dr. M. Cajias wanted to know the type of animal disease treated by plants discussed by Dr. Rwangabo.

Dr Rwangabo replied that the plant sap is used in special quantities to treat calf intestinal parasites. Very effective and popular but scientific analysis is yet to be done. He also explained that all plants are potentially toxic. The three plants studied were not very toxic and are commonly used by traditional healers. In general, all drugs are toxic, it only depends on the dose given.

Dr. Kofi made a general comment to the effect that what cures also ills. In studying traditional medicine, the most important aspect is to utilise well what is active, not necessarily to isolate single entities. However, this can be necessary in establishing dosage.

Dr. Elmi wanted an elaboration of latest information on the drug Artemisinine.

Dr. Boping answered that the latest information is available in literature as studies are now also being done in Japan and USA. Information on the other plants was available in Chinese Traditional Medicine Pharmacopoeia. Participants supported that there is now a lot of literature on Artemisinine.

Dr. Abondo made a comment on the plant in Dr. Rwangabo's paper which he felt, was wrongly named. After a number of contributions from the floor on this possible mistake, it was agreed that all botanical names must be checked by appropriate experts and specimens be sent to herbaria for future reference. This is important because wrong names may be misleading during studies.

Dr. Abondo wanted to know how the traditional healer is protected should his plant prove to be commercially viable. In addition, Prof. Mwaluko wanted to know if traditional medicine needs to go through a research process as it is with the western medicine (Which may take 10 years).

Dr. Duale, the WHO representative, in answer to both questions drew attention to the objective of the conference, and urged participants to think about these issues and come out with recommendations.