According to estimates of the World Health Organization, 80% of the world population is primarily reliant on traditional methods of healing, which use empirical knowledge based on the use of medicinal plants. In many rural areas of developing countries there are no alternatives to traditional methods of healing, as neither the financial means nor the necessary infrastructure are in place to allow the use of imported pharmaceuticals.
There are, however, insufficient data available regarding the efficacy and side-effects of the treatment of diseases with medicinal plants. The plants described in this book were chosen from a list of 4776 medicinal plants predominantly used in Africa. 54 of these plants were described in ethno-pharmacological reports from five or more African countries, and from this list 25 of the most frequently reported plants were chosen for this collection.
Pharmacists, practitioners, nurses, and other health care workers who work in developing countries must often know about both the positive and the toxic characteristics of medicinal plants. These monographs summarize the often contradictory information on the use of medicinal plants. An assessment of each individual plant is provided in each monograph.