Ethnobotanical study of plants used in the management of HIV/AIDS-related diseases in Livingstone, southern province, Zambia.
Faced with critical shortages of staff, long queues, and stigma at public health facilities in Livingstone, Zambia, persons who suffer from HIV/AIDS-related diseases use medicinal plants to manage skin infections, diarrhoea, sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, cough, malaria, and oral infections. In all, 94 medicinal plant species were used to manage HIV/AIDS-related diseases. Most remedies are prepared from plants of various families such as Combretaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, and Lamiaceae. More than two-thirds of the plants (mostly leaves and roots) are utilized to treat two or more diseases related to HIV infection. Eighteen plants, namely, Achyranthes aspera L., Lannea discolor (Sond.) Engl., Hyphaene petersiana Klotzsch ex Mart., Asparagus racemosus Willd., Capparis tomentosa Lam., Cleome hirta Oliv., Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson, Euclea divinorum Hiern, Bridelia cathartica G. Bertol., Acacia nilotica Delile, Piliostigma thonningii (Schumach.) Milne-Redh., Dichrostachys cinerea (L.) Wight and Arn., Abrus precatorius L., Hoslundia opposita Vahl., Clerodendrum capitatum (Willd.) Schumach., Ficus sycomorus L., Ximenia americana L., and Ziziphus mucronata Willd., were used to treat four or more disease conditions. About 31% of the plants in this study were administered as monotherapies. Multiuse medicinal plants may contain broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents. However, since widely used plants easily succumb to the threats of overharvesting, they need special protocols and guidelines for their genetic conservation. There is still need to confirm the antimicrobial efficacies, pharmacological parameters, cytotoxicity, and active chemical ingredients of the discovered plants.