Author(s): Njoroge GN, Bussmann RW
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Abstract Diseases of ear, nose and throat (ENT) often have serious consequences including hearing impairment, and emotional strain that lower the quality of life of patients. In Kenya, upper respiratory infections are among the most common infections encountered in outpatient facilities. Some of these infections are becoming difficult to control because some of the causing microorganisms have acquired antibiotic resistance and hence the need to develop new drugs with higher efficacy. Ethnobotanical studies have now been found to be instrumental in improving chances of discovering plants with antimicrobial activity in new drug development. In Kenya the majority of local people are turning to herbal remedies for primary health care needs. In most cases the sources of these remedies are undocumented and the knowledge about them passed orally form generation to generation, hence under threat of disappearing with current rates of modernisation. This study explored the traditional remedies used in managing various ENT diseases in seven districts of the Central Province of Kenya. The most common ENT conditions managed using traditional therapies include: common cold, cough, tonsillitis, otitis-media, chest pains and asthma. The results indicate that 67 species belonging to 36 plant families were utilized in this region. These plants were of varying habits; herbs (37.3\%), shrubs (34.4\%), trees (25.4\%) as well as some grasses and sedges (3\%). The traditional preparations were found to be made mainly from leaves (49\%), roots (20.5\%) and barks (12.5\%). For each of the ENT conditions multiple species are utilized mainly as individual preparations but occasionally as polyherbal concoctions. In the case of common cold for example, 30 different species are used. Plants reported in this survey are important candidates for antimicrobial tests against ENT disease causing micro-organisms, especially those with antibiotic resistance.
This article was published in J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
and referenced in Natural Products Chemistry & Research