Traditional phytotherapy of some remedies used in treatment of malaria in Meru district of Kenya
Rukunga, G. M.
Chhabra, S. C.
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In Kenya, most people especially in rural areas use traditional medicine and medicinal plants to treat many diseases including malaria. Malaria is of national concern in Kenya in view of development of resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum to drugs especially chloroquine, which had been effective and affordable. This has led the Government to provide free antimalarial treatment because the cost of newer antimalarial drugs is unaffordable to local communities. However, traditional remedies against malaria are practised among the rural communities because of ease of availability and convenience and also due to social, psychological and cultural reasons. This paper examines the use of antimalarial plants among the Meru community of Imenti forest area and Gatunga, in Eastern Province, Kenya. Forty seven plant species belonging to 28 families were encountered during the study. Rutaceae, Compositae and Celestraceae families represented the species most commonly cited in treatment of malaria. Six plant species namely: Periploca linearifolia, Maytenus heterophylla, M. putterlickioides, Albizia amara, Teclea simplicifolia and Olea capensis are documented for the first time for treatment of malaria.