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Ethnobotanical field survey of medicinal plants used by traditional medicine practitioners to manage HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections and their prophylaxis in Keffi Metropolis, Nigeria

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a set of symptoms and infections that are life threatening and result from damage to the human immune system. Problems such as drug half- lives viral reservoirs, drug resistance (treatment failure), high drug dosage, toxic side effects and drug costs from the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), have led to a significant crisis in the management of HIV/AIDS that led to the use of ethnomedicines by HIV-infected persons to manage AIDS-related opportunistic infections. In spite of the belief on plants to manage HIV/AIDS in Keffi, there have been no first hand studies to document the specific plant species used by traditional medicine practitioners to manage HIV/AIDS-related opportunistic infections and their prophylaxis. In this study, an ethnobotanical field survey was conducted to document the methods of preparation and administration of traditional medicine used to manage different HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections and their prophylaxis in Keffi Metropolis, Nigeria. The results showed that a total of 30 species of ethno- medicinal plants belonging to 15 families distributed in 23 genera. The most commonly used families were Anacardiaceae (10%), Euphorbiaceae (6.7%), Fabaceae (26.7%), Malvaceae (10%), Meliaceae(6.7%) and Moraceae (6.7%) which were used to treat conditions such as diarrhoea, dysentery, gonorrhoea, fever, skin infections, oral candidiasis, weakness, cough, vaginal candidiasis, tuberculosis, thrush, malaria, meningitis, abdominal pain, headache, shingles, sexually transmitted diseases and difficulty swallowing. The plant parts used were barks (35.9%), roots (30.8%), leaves (20.5%), seeds (10.2%) and nut (2.6%). The habits of the plant used were (66.7%) trees; (30%) shrubs; and (3.3%) herbs. Further research is also needed to survey more plants in this area and isolate the plants’ bio- active chemical compounds for drug developments.

Author(s): Alqasim Abdullahi Mustapha

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