Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 203-10. 2009.

 

 

Ethnopharmacology of Medicinal Plants used in North Kordofan (Western Sudan)

 

Hatil Hashim EL-Kamali

 

Department of Botany, Faculty of Science & Technology,

Omdurman Islamic University, P.O Box # 382, Omdurman

 

Issued 30 January 2009

 

Abstract

 

Urban and rural people of North Kordofan (Western Sudan) inherited a rich traditional medicinal knowledge. The preservation and documentation of this knowledge is a matter of prime importance. This will not only provide recognition of this knowledge but will also help in conservation of such gradually vanishing endangered semi/arid plant species.

The present paper provide ethnopharmacological information of

48 taxa distributed into 26 families. For each plant species listed, the botanical name, family, vernacular name, part used, uses/ailments treated, preparations/administrations, use (%) and locality are given.

Among the major findings: Acacia nilotica ssp. nilotica as hypertensive; Balanites aegyptiaca for diabetes; Ceiba pentandra for relieve toothache; Geigeria alata for diabetes, cough, intestinal complaints and as antispasmodic; Guiera senegalensis for jaundice; Hibiscus sabdariffa in cases of hematuria and Justacia flava smeared on gingiva in cases of teeth pain.

 

Keywords: Folk medicine; North Kordofan; Western Sudan; Medicinal plants; ethnobotany; conservation.

 

Introduction

 

Plants have always played a major role in the treatment of human traumas and diseases worldwide [1]. They have been used as sources of modern drugs, either by providing pure compounds, starting materials for partial synthesis of useful compounds or models for synthesis of new drugs [2]. Ethnopharmacological information is an important tool in drug discovery [3].

 

From the ethnobotanical point of view North Kordofan is one of the least studied regions of Western Sudan. The only work existing for a few areas of this region is compiled by EL-Ghazali et al., 1997 [4].

 

Information about medicinal plants is still passing from one generation to another by oral communication, posing the danger of loosing some knowledge. There is, therefore, a need to document medicinal plants in Sudan before both the provider of information disappear. Meanwhile most of these plants was already endangered by the arid/semi arid climatic conditions and man-made activities.

Study area

 

North Kordofan region (Western Sudan) lies between latitude 12� 43� � 13� 42� N and longitude 30� 14� � 31� 55� E. It is characterized by a dry, hot climate, typically tropical continental with a relatively short rainy season. The soils of the study area are mostly stabilized sand dunes �Goz� consisting of yellowish red sandy loam and loamy sand soils [5].

 

Population

 

From the ethnobotanical point of view, North Kordofan is an interesting region, since in ancient times. It was subject to the cultures of several people such as Arabs and Africans. Agricultural (millet, sorghum, groundnuts and sesame), pastoral (cattle and goats) activities characterize the way of life of the people in the region. Ethnically, population composition in the region can be classified as nomadic and sedentary tribes. The major groups are all Arabs and include Kababish, Kawahla, Hamr, Hawawir and the Maganin tribes. The sedentary groups, which also are mainly Arab, include Dar Hamid, Danagla, Gawamaa and Bedaireia. A few sedentary tribes are non-Arab; they are mainly of Hausa and Fulani origin and have come from West Africa [6].

 

Methodology

 

Fieldwork:

The study was conducted during June - September 2003 in five localities, namely, Tendalti, Umm Rawaba, Er-Rahad, EL-Obeid and Bara (North Kordofan, Western Sudan).

 

The information was gathered from urban and rural inhabitants knowledgeable on indigenous herbal medicine by personal interviews (56 interviewees). Questions about the use of various medicinal plants were asked using classical means of ethnobotanical analysis [7], [8]. The interviews were in the form of group discussions, in groups of three or four people, except for the traditional healers who preferred confidentiality.

Plant materials of all the taxa reported were collected either by author and shown to the informants, or by the informants and shown to us or by the informants, or by us together. During fieldwork plant materials were collected for preparation of herbarium specimens and for biological and chemical testing. The plants were identified using the Flowering Plants of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan [9-11] and the Flora of the Sudan [12] and also by comparison with herbarium specimens in the Botany Department, Khartoum University, Faculty of Science. Voucher specimens were deposited in the Botany Department, Omdurman Islamic University.

 

Data Analysis:

All the data obtained have been integrated and analyzed. The results have been structured according to these categories: number of plants mentioned (with scientific Latin name, botanical familes and vernacular (popular) names; part used; uses/ailments treated; preparations/administrations; use frequency (%) and localities.

 

To assess the degree of originality and novelty of the uses claimed by the informants, these were compared with those reported in several works on ethnobotany, medicinal plants and phytotherapy. The complete references were given in Farnsworth, 1995 [13]. Study of quantitative ethnobotany was also performed, the use frequency per species was estimated by calculating the proportion of plants cited and utilized in relation to the total number of interviewees.

 

Discussion:

 

The data recorded during this study were compared with the related literature and also published reports on the traditional medicinal uses of the plants. Some species, namely, Abutilon panosum, Blepharis linariifolia, Cassia absus, Dobera glabra, Justicia flava, Ethulia conyzoides, Xeromphis nilotica, Tinospora bakis and Striga hermonthica have never been described in the ethnobotanical literature of Sudan. For other species, namely, Acacia nilotica ssp. nilotica, Cissus quadrangularis, Geigeria alata, Hibiscus sabdariffa and Ziziphus spins-christi, new therapeutic uses have been reported.

 

Some papers reporting phytochemistry of the following species: Acacia nilotica ssp. nilotica, Cassia absus, Cassia tora, Guiera senegalensis, Cinchona officinalis, Cissampelos pareira and Cocculus pendulus have been published [12]. The pharmacological studies on Croton zambesicus fruits, Geigeria alata aerial parts are probably lacking and investigations in this direction are also greatly needed. C. zambesicus extracts from leaves cytotoxic and from stem bark antimicrobial [14]. Albizzia anthelmintica extracts have been studied in some pharmacological studies, and anthelmintic activity [15-17] has been demonstrated. Further research on Guiera senegalensis will reveal its medicinal potential and facilitate its use as a standardized herbal drug.

 

In the drug development research, biological activity based on ethnomedical uses seems as a better approach compared to randomly selected plants [18 & 19]. We are currently testing these plants for some biological activities to confirm the therapeutical claims indicated by informants. Any useful information from literature review and biological tests will be passed back in order to improve the proper use of medicinal plants and create a good relationship for future ethnobotanical studies.

 

The reasons for the frequent use of traditional medicine being (i) the strong association of people with local flora and their belief on traditional knowledge regarding plants as medicine, (ii) easy availability of local medicinal plants, (iii) relatively poor access to synthetic drugs and their high cost and (iv) lower economic profile of the people.

 

The data provided by our informants and analyzed in the present paper clearly show that folk knowledge on medicinal plants and plant uses is still alive in the studied region. This indicates that ethnobotanical studies constitute a valuable first step in the bioprospection process, which may lead to the development of new plant-based medicines by phytotherapeutical research.

 

Conclusion

 

Modern health care services provided in North Kordofan region are not adequate, since the health care centres/hospitals are few and sometimes distantly located, and most people cannot afford to buy drugs prescribed due their low income. Herbal medicine keeps working as the most popular medicine in solving health problems in the region, and people have strong trust in the efficacy of herbs. Due to limited resources, only five localities were visited and it was noted that some plants were not readily available due to season conditions during the study period. It was recommended that future work in this region should be carried out immediately after the rainy season for one to be able to record a large number of medicinally useful plants, especially the annual herbs. Teamwork consisting of a good number of taxonomists is recommended for any future ethnobotanical surveys, in order to have broad scope of study leading to a rich documentation of medicinal plants in this region.

 

Acknowledgement

 

The author is very grateful to the people and herbalists of North Kordofan region for sharing their knowledge on traditional herbal medicine.

 

 

References

 

[1] Principe, P.E. (1991). Valuing the biodiversity of medicinal plants. In: Akerele,O., Heywood,V., Synge H. (Eds). Conservation of medicinal Plants. Proceedings of an International Consultation. 21-27 March 1988. Chiang Mai, Thailand, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 79-124.

 

[2] Hansel, R. (1972). Medicinal Plants and empirical drug reseach. In : Swain,T. (Eds). Plants in the Development of Modern Medicine. Harvard University Press. Boston pp. 161-174.

 

[3] Balandrin M.F., Kinghorn A.D., Farnsworth N.R. (1993). Plant-Derived Natural Products in Drug Discovery and Development. In: Kinghorn, A.D., Balandrin M.F. (Eds). Human medicinal Agents from Plants, ACS Symposium Series 534 American Chemical Society DC, pp 2-12.

 

[4] EL-Ghazali G., EL-Tohami,M.S,EL-Egami,A, Abdalla,W.S. , Mohammed,G.M. (1997). Medicinal plants of the Sudan. Prt IV: Medicinal plants of Northern Kordofan. National Centre Research (NCR), Khartoum.

 

[5] Harrison,M.N. , Jackson J.K (1958). Ecological classification of the vegetation of the Sudan. Sudan Forest Bulletin 2:45.

 

[6] Omer E.A., Diversity of natural vegetation and grazing problems in Sahel: A case study from Northern Kordofan- Sudan. Master Thesis. Agricultural University of Norway, Norway.

 

[7] Alexides,M.N, Sheldon, J.W. (1996). Selected guidelines for ethnobotanical research: A field manual. New York Botanical Gardens. Bronx.NY. USA.

 

[8] Cotton,C.M. (1996). Ethnobotany: Principles and Applications. Wiley, Chichester, UK.

 

[9] Andrews, F.W. (1950). The Flowering Plants of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Vol. I., T. Buncle and Co Ltd., Arbroath, Scotland.

 

[10] Andrews, F.W. (1952). The Flowering Plants of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Vol II., T. Buncle and Co Ltd., Arbroath, Scotlans.

 

[11] Andrews, F.W. (1956). The flowereing plants of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Vol. III. T. Buncle and Co. Ltd., Arbroath, Scotland.

 

[12] Broun, A.F., Massey,R.E. (1929). Flora of the Sudan. Thomas Murby and Co 1. Fleet Lane, London, E.C. 4.

 

[13] Farnsworth,N.R. ed. NAPRALERT database. Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, March 15, 1995 Production (an on-line database available directly through the University of Illinois at Chicago or through the scientific and Technical Network (STN) of Cemical Abstracts Services).

 

[14] Bock S., Stevigny C, De Pauw-Gillet M.C., de Hoffmann E., Llabres G, Adjakidje V., Quetin-Leclereq J. (2002). Ent-trachyloban-3 beta-ol, a new cytotoxic diterpene from Croton zambesicus . Planta medica 68(7):647-649.

 

[15] Koko, W.S., Galal,M., Khalid,H.S. (2000). Fasciolicidal efficacy of Albizzia anthelminthica and Balanites aegyptiaca compared with albendazole. J. Ethnopharmacology 71 (1-2): 247-252.

 

[16] Galal,M.,Bashir,A.K., Salih,A.M., Adam,S.E. (1991). Efficacy of aqueous and butanolic fractions of Albizzia anthelminthica against experimental Hymenolepis diminuta infestation in rats. Vet Hum Toxicol 33 (6): 537-537.

 

[17] Galal,M., Bashir,A.K., Salih, A.M, Adam,S.E. (1991) Activity of water extracts of Albizzia anthelminthica and A. lebbek barks against experimental Hyenolepis diminuta infection in rats. J. Ethnopharmacology 31 (3): 333-337.

 

[18] Cordell, G.A. (1995). Changing strategies in natural product chemistry. Phytochemistry 40, 1585-1612.

 

[19] Unander, D.W., Webster, G.L., Blumberg,B.S. (1995). Usage and Bioassays in Phyllanthus (Euporbiaceae). IV. Clustering of antiviral uses and other effects. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 45, 1-18.

 

 

 

Table 1. Medicinal uses of plants in some localities in North Kordofan (Western Sudan).

 

Scientific name/Family/ Local name

Part

Used

Uses/ailments Treated

Prepararions/

Adminstrations

Use Frequency

%

Locality

1. Abutilon pannosum (Forst.f.) Schlecht., Malvaceae, Irg el Nar.

Root

Jaundice

Decoction

8.93

Bara

2. Acacia nilotica ssp. nilotica, Mimosaceae , Garad (Sunt)

Crushed pods

Hypertension

Cushin

(at sleeping)

5.36

Umm-Rawaba

3. Adansonia digitata L.,

Bombacaceae , Tabaldi

(Gongoleis)

Fruit pulp

Fresh leaves

(mixed with sesame seeds)

Fever,

Diarrhea

Infusion

71.43

40.37

������

El-Obeid

4. Aerva javonica (Burn.f)

Juss.ex Schult., Amaranthaceae, Shabbi

Herb

Abdominal pain

Decoction

3.57

Umm-Rawaba

5. Albizzia anthelmintica

A.Brongn , Mimosaceae, Umm Takirni (Gerf addud)

Stem bark

Anthelmintic

Powder

(with yoghurt)

8.93

Tendelti

6. Aristolochia bracteolata Retz., Aristolochiaceae, Irg el Agrrab.

Chewed

Fresh root

Scorpion

Sting

Rubed (on legs)

12.5

Tendelti

7. Azadirachta indica A.

Juss., Meliaceae, Neem

Leaf

 

leaf

Antipyretic

 

Backache

Cushion

(at sleeping)

Steam

 

19.64

 

10.0

Er.Rahed

 

El-Obeid

8. Balanites aegytiaca (L.)

Del., Balanitaceae, Higleeg (Lalob)

Fruit

pulp

Antispasmodic,

Stomach pain,

Diabetes.

Infusion

70.00

 

30.00

Er-Rahad,

Bara.

9. Blepharis linariifolia

Pers., Acanthaceae,

Begheil.

 

Fruit

Stomach pain,

Urinary disorders

(Kiddney stone)

Decoction

1.79

Bara

10. Borassus aethiopium

��� Mart., Palmae, Doleib

Fruit

Stomach pain

Eaten

5.36

Umm-Rawaba

11. Calotropis procera (Ait)

Ait.f., Asclepiadaceae, Ushar

Latex

Root

Haemorrhoids

Scorpion sting

Paint

Decoction

3.57

1.20

El-Obeid

12. Carrisa edulis Vahl.,

�� Apocynaceae, Allali.

Root

Root

Kidney disorders

In cases of Charm and madness

Infusion

Fumigation

17.86

12.30

El-Obeid

13. Cassia absus L., Caesalpiniaceae, Habat el-Ain

Fruit

Eye troubles

Applied on eye

5.36

Umm-Rawaba

14. Cassia occidentalis L.,

�� Caesalpiniacea, Soreib.

Roasted

seeds

Backache, as an antihypertensive

Decoction

53.57

Um-Rawaba

El-Obeid

15. Cassia senna L.,

Caesalpiniaceae,

Sana Sana.

Fruit

Root

Leaf

Stomach pain

Jaundice

Stomach pain

Infusion

Infusion

Eaten fresh

(with onion)

8.93

3.45

2.67

El-Obeid

El-Obeid

El-Obeid

16. Cassia tora L.,

����� Caesalpiniaceae,

���� Kawal.

Seed

Jaundice

Powder (mixed with yoghurt or with porridge water made from millet flour).

55.36

El-Obeid, Bara, Umm Rawaba

17. Ceiba pentandra (L.)���� Gaertn.Bombacaceae,

��� Gotton Harrery.

���

Stem bark

To relieve

toothache

Fresh locally

applied

7.14

Umm-Rawaba

18. Chrozophora plicata

��� (Vahl.) A.Juss ex.,

��� Euphorbiaceae , Argassi

Root

Wounds

Fresh

(directly applied on affected parts)

1.79

Bara

19. Cinchona officinalis L.,

��� Rubiaceae , Kina.

Stem bark

Dysentery,

Jaundice

Infusion

19.64

El-Obeid

20. Cissampelos pareira

(non L.) Broun and Massey , Menispermiaceae,

Irg el Kail

Root

 

 

 

Root

Heart burn,

Abdominal

disturbances, in cases of charm.

Malarial fever

Chewed

 

 

 

Decoction or infusion

 

5.36

 

 

 

4.36

 

 

Er-Rahad

21. Cissus quadrangularis

��� L., Ampelidaceae, Salaala

Root

Haemorrhoids

Powder

(applied to anus)

1.79

Tendelti

22. Clerodendrum capitulum (Willed.) Schum. and Thonn. var.capitulum, Verbenaceae, Gung

Root

Tonic

Powder

(eaten with meat)

1.79

El-Obied

23. Cocculus pendulus

��� (J.R. and G.Forst.) Diels.,

Menispermiaceae, Zegai.

Aerial

part

Antipyretic

Decoction

1.79

Er-Rahad

24. Combretum glutinosum

��� Perr.ex DC.,

��� Combretaceae,Habil

Wood

 

Leaf

To relieve fever, Rheumatism

Headache, Antispasmodic

Fumigation

 

Decoction

21.43

 

6.13

El-Obeid

25. Cordia abyssinca

�� R.Br., Boraginaceae,

�� Andrab (Gambil)

��

Internal stem

bark

Stem bark

 

 

Stem bark

Cuts and wounds

 

In cases of circumcision

 

Burns

Fresh

(rubbed locally)

Powder

 

Ash (mixed with yoghurt) applied locally.

3.57

 

1.21

 

 

7.01

Er-Rahad

26. Croton zambesicus

����� Muell.Arg., Euphorbiaceae,

����� Umm Gleila

Fruit

To relieve cough

Powder

(in sesame oil)

applied on chest

41.07

Er-Rahad,

El-Obeid,

Umm Rawaba

27. Cucumis dispaceus

���� Ehrenb. ex Spach.,

��� Cucurbitaceae , Agour

���� El-Kilab

Stem

Anti-emetic

Decoction

3.57

Er-Rahad

28. Datura innoxia Mill.,

Solanaceae, Sekaran

Seed

To relieve

toothache

Smoke

(directed into the mouth)

8.93

Umm-Rawaba

29. Detarium senegalense

���� J.F. Gmel.,

���� Caesalpiniaceae , Abuleila

Wood

Rheumatism

Fumigation

10.71

El-Obeid

30. Dichrostachys cinera (L.)

����� Wight and Arn. var.

����� Karamojensis Brenan and Brummitt , Kadad

Stem bark

Wounds

Fresh

(directly applied)

8.93

Er-Rahad

31. Dobera glabra (Forsk.)

R.Br., Salvadoraceae, Meikah

Wood

Swellings

Ash (paste)

3.57

Umm-Rawaba

32. Ethulia conyzoides L..f,

�� Asteraceae , Abwelaefain

Fruit

Stomach

pain

Eaten

1.79

Er-Rahad

33. Geigeria alata (DC.)

Benth. and Hook. ex

Oliver and Hiern,

Asteraceae, Gud-gat.

Herb

Diabetes, cough, intestinal complaints, antispasmodic , antihypertensive.

Decoction

53.57

Umm-Rawaba,

Er-Rahad, Tendelti

34. Guiera senegalensis J.F.

����� Gmel., Combretaceae,

����� Ghubeish.

Leaf

 

 

 

Root

Stomach pain , Jaundice,

Malarial fever,

Antispasmodic.

As a tonic.

Decoction

 

 

 

Decoction

94.64

 

 

 

2.46

Er-Rahad,

Umm-Rawaba

35. Hibiscus sabdariffa L.,

Malvaceae , Karkadeh.

Calyx

Snake bite and scorpion sting.

Headache, in cases of hematuria.

Decoction

 

Infusion

7.14

 

3.57

El-Obeid

 

El-Obeid

36. Jatropha glauca

��� Vahl., Euphorbiaceae,

��� Shagarat Es-Sim

Seed

Laxative

Eaten

1.79

Bara

37. Justicia flava

���� Vahl., Acanthaceae,

������ Mahlab

Seed

Smeared on gingiva in cases of teeth pain, to relieve nausea.

Powder

19.64

Um-Rawaba

El-Obeid

38. Khaya senegalensis

���� (Desr.) A.Juss.,

��� Meliaceae, Mahogany

Stem bark

 

 

Malarial fever,

Intestinal�������� complaints.

Asthma

Infusion

 

 

Infusion

(mixed with Guiera senegalensis leaves)

10.71

 

 

 

 

5.20

Er-Rahad

39. Leptadena pyrotechinca

���� (Forsk.) Decne ,

���� Asclepiadaceae , Marakh

Stem

Rheumatism

Fumigation

5.36

Bara

40.Manihot esculenta

��� Crantz., Euphorbiceae,

��� Bavra

Tuberous

root

To relieve ear pain

(Cassava roots constitute the staple food for Hausa tribe).

Infusion (dropped on ear)

19.64

Umm-Rawaba

41. Momordica balsamina L.,

���� Cucurbitaceae, Ira-ira

Leaf

Antispasmodic

Infusion

5.36

Umm-Rawaba

42. Nauclea latifolia Sm.,

���� Rubiaceae, Karmadoda.

Fruits

Headache, cough,

Antihypertensive,

Kidney disorders.

Infusion

(mixed with Acacia nilotica fruits and date palm fruits.)

17.86

El-Obeid,

Umm-Rawaba

43. Solanum albicaule

��� Kotschy ex Dunal,

��� Solanaceae, Dayoug.

Fruit

Hair tonic ,

dandruff

Wash

(boiled in sesame oil)

3.57

El-Olied

44. Striga hermonthica

���� (Del.) Benth., Scrophulariaceae, Buda

Whole

Plant

Diabetes

Decoction

7.14

Bara

45. Ricinus communis L.,

���� Euphorbiaceae, khirui

Fresh

Leaf

To relieve

Pain.

Rubbed on

Joints

12.5 bara

Bara

46. Tinospora bakis (A.Rich.)

���� Miers., menispermaceae,

Irg el Hagar

Root

Abdominal

pain

Decoction

3.57

Er-Rahad

47. Xeromphis nilotica

��� (Stapf.) keay, Rubiaceae,

Shagarat el Murfaein.

Aerial part

 

 

 

Aerial part

 

Root juice

 

 

Swellings,

tonsillitis,

dandruff.

 

Jaundice

 

Dandruff

Poultice

 

 

 

Decoction

 

Head wash

3.57

 

 

 

2.33

 

1.67

Umm-Rawaba

 

Umm-Rawaba

 

Umm-Rawaba

48. Ziziphus spina -christi (L.)��� Des.,

Rhamnaceae, Sidr.

Stem bark

 

Root

Antispasmodic

 

Antispasmodic,

to relieve fever

Decoction

 

Decoction

8.93

 

3.57

El-Obeid

 

El-Obeid

 

 

 

 

Appendix 1: Interview Form

 

 

Date of interview ����������

Respondents No. ����������.

Locality ��������������

Do you use herbal medicine to treat diseases? Yes �� , NO ��

If so, list the species you use in order of preference in the table below :

Rank Local name Part used, methods of preparation Disease/

of species and administrationcondition

����� treated

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

etc