A study of apocynaceae species used in traditional medicine Kenya
The plant family Apocynaceae has been a centre of interest for many years. It is chiefly found in the tropics of both hemispheres although 1/3 of the species occur in Africa. The family has about 1500 species in 150 genera. In Kenya there are 40 species in 22 genera which are well represented in K7 except Baissea multiflora (K5), Hunteria congolana (Kl), Rauvolfia caffra (K3-6) and Voacanga thouarsii (K5). An attempt is hereby made to study Apocynaceae species used in traditional medicine in Kenya. The study reveals that 25 species in 16 genera are of ethnobotanical interest. 19 species are medicinal and 16 of these fall under the sub-family Plumerioideae which usually has indole alkaloids. The most common category of diseases treated are skin diseases and ectoparasites followed by abdominal diseases, diseases of the head, female conditions and veneral diseases. The root is the most commonly used part of the plant and it is possible that the alkaloids play an important role in the medicinal value of the plants. Many Apocynaceae species are used for non-medicinal purposes as foods, poisons, wood, fodder, and hedges. From the field study 14 remedy reports were recorded from a total of 10 species. A log linear model was used to analyse this information. The 6 species with the highest interaction rates (TIJ) are tested for biological activities. 4 of these species have antimicrobial and molluscicidal activities. The study also reveals that some Apocynaceae species can be easily propagated by seeds and results also indicate that most Apocynaceae species are found in indigenous forests which usually have a diversity of species and sometimes endemic species and are on the decline. Possible solutions regarding their conservation are suggested.
CitationMaster of Science in Botany, University of Nairobi, 1990
University of Nairobi,Department of School of Biological Sciences