Ethnomedicine and Neuroscience in the developing world: plants most commonly used for neurological conditions


  • O.M Femi-Akinlosotu
  • O.O Igado
  • A.J Jubril


African medicinal plants, neuroscience, alternative medicine, neurological conditions


The use of plants for curing ailments in humans and animals has been an ancient practice. African medicinal plants have been used to cure various types of disease conditions. Ethnomedicine has been proposed to be a very promising area that is capable of adding value to the very rich natural resources of the African continent. Recently, there seems to be a re-awakening of interest in the use of medicinal plants especially in Africa with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Medicinal plants can be defined as vegetables containing substances utilized for therapeutic purposes. They can be processed through different physical or biological processes, such as extraction, fractionation, purification, and concentration, to enhance usage. Most African countries are growing economies, where the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the populace is very low, leading to low purchasing power, thus resulting in the populace depending on alternative medicine by using their traditional and indigenous plants for the remedies of various ailments. The potentials of some medicinal plants as treatments for certain neurological conditions are an interesting area in neuroscience research in Africa.  A significant number of researches have been carried out in the field of neuroscience to analyse the therapeutic potential of some plants mostly domiciled on the Africa continent. This review therefore attempts to harvest this information and present it in a concise form for global appreciation of the potential in Africa’s ethnomedicine, with a focus on five common plants (Telfairia occidentalis, Garcinia Kola, Ocimum gratissimum, Moringa oleifera, Nigella sativa).