Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2017)
Ethnobotanical and phytochemical properties of selected Tanzanian plant species with therapeutic potential: A review
Author(s): Reuben S Maghembe, James A Mpemba, Jackson T Mollel
Abstract: Plants have lifelong importance to a wide range of human life aspects throughout human history. The global plant population is vast, comprising a myriad of medicinal plants. Populations from developing countries potentially rely on plants as a primary source of heath care on traditional basis. With research advances, it is now clearer that most developed countries have successively utilized traditional knowledge of plants for the bioprospecting of biologically active compounds and development of therapeutic agents. Besides the availability of potential therapeutic plants, most of the developing countries are dependent on conventional drugs from big pharmaceutical industries in the developed world. This can be attributed to little research development in the developing world. The interest in natural product research is increasing and ethnopharmacological studies are progressively drawing attention in many parts including Africa. Tanzania, as one of the countries with growing natural product research, harbors an attracting phytogeography with an intriguing ethnobotanical profile. The territory encompasses a broad spectrum of plant species with multiple utilities that have been substantiated by traditional healers and the ongoing research surveys. In this paper we review some of the least studied but most attractive plant species; Neorautanenia mitis, Ocimum basilicum, Tagetes minuta, Clutia abyssinica, Uvariodendron gorgonis and Xylotherca tettensis, which have portrayed potential candidacy in drug sourcing as per recent ethnobotanical and pharmacological research reports. We also present the phytochemical information regarding each species in relation to its bioactivity and point out its comparative pharmacological potential based on the inherent phytochemical properties.