Ethnobotanical study of plants used against malaria in Sélingué subdistrict, Mali
Diarra N., Klooster CVT., Togola A., Diallo D., Willcox M., Jong JD.
© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Ethnopharmacological relevance Plants have contributed to food security and disease treatments to rural populations in sub Saharan Africa for many centuries. These plants occupy a significant place in the treatment of diseases, such as malaria. In Mali, malaria is the leading cause of medical consultation and death. This infection is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and children under 5 years. The general aim of this research was to collect data on the knowledge of traditional health practitioners on malaria in the Sélingué area; particularly to document how traditional healers conceptualize and diagnose malarial disease and to collect and identify medicinal plants or other substances used for their health and well-being. Materials and methods An ethnobotanical survey was conducted on simple and complicated malaria in six villages in Sélingué subdistrict in a period of 2 months. The ethnobotanical data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires. In total 50 traditional healers were interviewed. Results Two concepts of malaria (simple and complicated malaria) were cited and 97 plants used to treat malaria were identified. Decoctions and bathing (whole body) proved to be the most commonly used mode of application. Food attitudes and mosquitoes are perceived to be the most important causes of the disease. Trichilia emetica, Mitragyna inermis, Sarcocephalus latifolius, Cassia sieberiana, Cochlospermum tinctorium, Anogeissus leiocarpa, Guiera senegalensis and Entada africana were quoted as the most used in the treatment of malaria. Conclusion Knowledge about malaria and traditional treatment practices exist in Sélingué subdistrict. Herbal remedies are commonly used by people for the treatment of malaria because they are believed to be cost-effective and more accessible. Many of the plant species used for the treatment of malaria have not been well documented as well as their phytochemical and antimalarial activity.