Study Title:

Analysis of medicinal plants and animals used in the treatment and management of pain

Study Abstract

Pain is a multi-faceted and multi-factorial condition which is challenging to manage and treat. Conventional therapies such as analgesics, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids amongst others have been successful to some extent in its management and treatment. Nonetheless, such therapies tend to be accompanied by undesirable effects and have a limited therapeutic range. Consequently, there is a pressing need to probe for novel analgesic and anti-nociceptive drugs from traditional medicines (TM). This study was designed to record, document and analyze herbal and animal-based therapies used for the management and treatment of pain in the tropical of Mauritius.
Data was collected via face-to-face interviews with TM users (n=332) and practitioners (n=20). Seven quantitative ethnopharmacological indexes, namely family use value (FUV), use value (UV), informant agreement ratio (IAR), relative frequency of citation (RFC), fidelity level (FL), relative importance (RI) and ethnobotanicity index (EI) were calculated.
A total of 79 plant species distributed within 40 families and 20 polyherbal preparations was recorded. Interestingly, 6 indigenous/endemic plants have been reported for the first time to be in common use for pain management and treatment in Mauritius. The most significant biologically important plant family was Xanthorrhoeaceae with highest FUV. The species which ranked highest according to its UV was Morinda citrifolia L. Morinda citrifolia L. and Ricinus communis L. also scored the highest RFC. The IAR values for the disease categories were high (0.95-0.97). Based on EI, plants species which are known to be useful in TM accounted for 11.5% of the total flora in Mauritius. Coix lacryma-jobi L. (FL=100%) had highest FL for lower back ache. Morinda citrifolia L. scored highest on most of the quantitative indices calculated including RI, which is endorsed by extensive documentation on its versatility and particularly its anti-nociceptive properties. Seven animal species were recorded to be in common use.
The present ethnopharmacological study revealed a panoply of TM to be in common use for pain management and treatment in Mauritius. This study has documented for the first time medicinal plants and animal species with potential analgesic and/or anti-nociceptive properties. This study has therefore provided important baseline primary data for the discovery of new lead molecules for drug development geared towards pain management and treatment.

Study Information

Sreekeesoon DP, Mahomoodally MF.
Ethnopharmacological analysis of medicinal plants and animals used in the treatment and management of pain in Mauritius.
J Ethnopharmacol.
2014 September

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