health plants used in the management of NCD’s in Uganda.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are recent and growing health problem in Uganda. The NCDs epidemic is burdening the healthcare systems, which is already under pressure from the high prevalence of communicable diseases. Hypertension is the most common NCD in Uganda; more females than males suffer from NCDs. High blood pressure and heart disease equally affect 5.3 % of the female population, while they affect 2.4 % and 2.6 % males, respectively. Cancers of the prostate and cervix are ranked number one in men and women, respectively. Traditional herbal medicine remains the most utilized form of healthcare. With the emergence of various NCDs, the services of traditional medical practitioners (TMPs) are set to rise. We collated 42 medicinal plants from literature used in the treatment of NCDs, of which 20 (47.6 %) are used in the management of hypertension, an indicator of its prevalence. Seven priority species were also identified for various NCDs by TMPs. The Uganda government realizing the importance of traditional medicine in primary healthcare established the Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute to undertake research on medicinal plants used by TMPs with the aim of justifying the therapeutic claims. Research on medicinal plants is still faced with the challenge of funding and collaboration between institutions to harness synergies towards the gradual integration into modern healthcare systems. The Ministry of Health needs to invest in training professional health providers and TMPs and public sensitization using targeted messages on prevention and management of NCDs, as was done for the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Uganda.

Medicinal Plant Use in the Management of NCDs in Uganda.

There is evidence of increasing number of people using herbal medicines to treat NCDs across many low-, medium-, and even high-income countries (Osamor and Owumi 2010 ). With the emergence of various NCDs in Uganda, the use of medici-nal plants and services is set to rise correspondingly. Further evidence comes from the ever-increasing number of herbalists in both the print and nonprint media adver-tising their products for treating various diseases inclusive of hypertension and dia-betes (The New Vision accessed on 17th January 2016 at 18:05 pm) and cancers (Parkin et al. 2010 ). There are also many herbal products both local and imported used in the management of NCDs. Presented in Table 17.1 are medicinal plants that have been documented in the treatment of various NCDs in Uganda. Many of these species used have other ethnomedicinal uses (Lye et al. 2008 ). Of the 42 documented Ugandan medicinal plant species used in the management of NCDs, 20 (47.6 %) are used in the management of hypertension, an indicator of how common the disease is. Hypertension is followed by mental illness (fi ve spe-cies), epilepsy (three species), heart diseases (four species), cancer (two species), and diabetes and anemia (one species each). In 2010, the National Conservation Assessment and Management Planning Workshop for Priority Medicinal Plants in Uganda (CAMP) identifi ed 50 species of medicinal plants that were selected for conservation action (CAMP 2010). Out of the 50, 7 are used in the management of different NCDs, with documented evidence of pharmacological activity and bioac-tive phytochemical constituents (Table 17.2 ).

Challenges in TM Research

The custodians of traditional knowledge are mainly the uneducated that still hold information in secrecy, which in turn has had a negative effect on standardization of the products and services. The protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) is another major constraint. It is because TM has been disregarded and even repressed during colonial and postcolonial periods. TMPs are suspicious of the motive of those who have now rather suddenly developed an interest in their knowledge. A limited understanding of patenting and IPR also intensifies the reluctance to dis-close knowledge for fear of exploitation that this may be stolen (CCFU 2008 ). Characterization of the main active ingredients of medicinal plants is minimal; and yet the active compound modifi cations are needed towards drug development. Highly trained scientists in areas such as safety, biopharmaceuticals, clinical trials, and pharmacovigilance that would promote the underexploited TM and TMK sys-tems are needed to assist in the integration of TM/CAM into conventional medicine. Working in isolation is a problem within and between institutions; therefore, planned research agenda would help to bring out priority areas and synergies in generating relevant information. Funding is also a major constraint as well as the lack of infrastructure including accredited laboratory facilities and modern equipment.

(PDF) Medicinal Plants Used in the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases in Uganda. Available from: .

Below you can check some of the health plants of Uganda and get to know the benefits of each plant;-