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Research Article - International Research Journal of Plant Science ( 2022) Volume 13, Issue 3

Quantitative ethno botanical survey of medicinal plants used in the infertility by local people in Cameroon

Noiha Noumi V1*, Awe Djongmo V1, Nyeck B2, Noubissi T1, Kouam Kamning P1 and Zapfack L3
 
1Division of Life Science, Higher Teacher Training College of Bertoua, University of Bertoua, P.O.Box: 652 Bertoua, Cameroon
2Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) Wakwa Regional Research Centre, P.O. Box 65 Ngaoundere, Cameroon
3Deaprtment of Plant Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Yaounde I, Yaoundé, Central Province, Cameroon
 
*Corresponding Author:
Noiha Noumi V, Division of Life Science, Higher Teacher Training College of Bertoua, University of Bertoua, P.O.Box: 652 Bertoua, Cameroon, Tel: (00237) 670 835 813, Email: noiha64@yahoo.fr

Received: 28-Feb-2022, Manuscript No. IRJPS-22-58629; Editor assigned: 02-Mar-2022, Pre QC No. IRJPS-22-58629(PQ); Reviewed: 16-Mar-2022, QC No. IRJPS-22-58629; Revised: 25-May-2022, Manuscript No. IRJPS-22-58629(R); Published: 01-Jun-2022, DOI: http:/dx.doi.org/10.14303/irjps.2022.011

Abstract

The study aims to identify and catalogue the medicinal plants used in the treatment of infertility in Cameroon. Based on the prevalence of infertility, 138 people were interviewed in 3 localities of the Littoral region. The interviewees were of both sexes and aged between 50-60 years (43%). A total of 36 species in 32 genera and 21 families were identified. The most represented families are Asteraceae, Liliaceae, Acanthaceae, Malvaceae and Zingiberaceae. Aframomum letestuanum, Ageratum conyzoides, Tetrapleura tetraptera, Allium sativum, Crinum distichum, Cyathula prostrata, Bryophylum pinnatum and Gingiber officinale are the most cited species. Herbaceous are the most used (64%). This survey has led to recording 25 recipes, most of which are prepared using combinations of plants. Water (80%), white wine (8%) and palm oil (12%) are the most used solvents. Maceration and decoction are the most common methods of preparation. Syrups and powders are the forms of conservation of the recipes. These recipes are administered orally (76%); anally (17%) and by combined oral and anal routes (7%). Several plants listed in this study have not yet been the subject of laboratory studies related to their beneficial effects on female and male fertility and could constitute interesting subjects of research. Phytochemical screening in the laboratory is necessary to know the chemical compounds contained in these plants and their degree of toxicity.

Keywords

Infertility, Medicinal plants, Phytotherapy, Recipe, Survey

Introduction

Nowadays, plants continue to meet an important need despite the growing influence of the modern health system and socio-cultural habits. Plant remedies are low toxic, less expensive, accessible and bioavailable compared to conventional medicines (Tahri et al., 2012). Unfortunately, this traditional knowledge is being eroded simultaneously with the loss of plant biodiversity and modernization. Today, plant species of great value to rural communities are threatened in their natural habitat by deforestation, wildfires, extensive cattle grazing, land clearing, agriculture and destruction of natural habitats (Fleurentin, 2004). It is therefore necessary to develop strategies for the development and sustainable use of these plants, because when the costs of pharmaceutical products developed in the laboratory are compared, it can be seen that they are more expensive than products from medicinal plants (Betti & Gueri, 2002; Fleurentin, 2004). Moreover, the use of medicinal plants depends on the cultures. Therefore, ethnobotanical work conducted in several regions would certainly contribute to a better knowledge of the plants used in the treatment of various diseases. Numerous ethnobotanical surveys have been conducted on medicinal plants in various regions of Cameroon (Betti & Gueri, 2002; Nana et al., 2011; Emmanuel & Didier, 2012; Mapi, 1988; Mbenkum and Duncan, 1989; Mehdioui & Kahouadji, 2007; Lakouéténé, 2009; Ndah et al, 2013; Tsague, 2019; Epouopa, 2019; Kapnang, 2021; Magny, 2021; Noubissi, 2021; Tamotsop, 2021; Nyeck et al., 2021) However, very little work on infertility has been undertaken in Cameroon.

The present work aims to contribute to a better knowledge of medicinal plants used in the treatment of infertility in men with resource persons (traditional doctors, old people, patients or any other persons using plants for therapeutic purposes.

Material and Methods

Knowledge of the study site

This study was done in three selected localities in the Moungo Division in the Littoral region of Cameroon. With a population of 452722 inhabitants, the Moungo Division covers an area of 3723 km2 (INS, 2011). The localities of Lala, Manjo and Nlowe cover the territory of the manoj subdivision which is one of the 13 subdivisions of Moungo. The subdivision of Manjo is bordered to the south by the subdivision of Loum, to the north by the subdivision of Nkongsamba and Mount Manengouba, to the east by the subdivision of Nlonako and to the west by the division of Koupé Manengouba. Its surface area is 305 km2. The climate is equatorial with two seasons. Two distinct climatic zones characterize the subdivision, the southern part is hotter and the northern part is colder. Concerning the relief, Manjo is at an altitude of 450 m in its southern part and 1200 m in its northern part. It is surrounded by mountainous massifs, the most important of which are: Manengouba at 2400 m, Kupe at 2070 m and Nlonako at 1800 m. The vegetation is made up of forest in full regression, replaced by vast industrial plantations of bananas, pineapples, cocoa trees and food and fruit crops. The main river is the Dibombe. The soils are diverse and varied. Generally, they are of volcanic origin, rich in organic matter and very fertile. Typical ferralitic soils, soils that are not very developed on basalts, and hydro morphic soils are also found in the lowlands.

Sampling

The sampling principle is based on the non-probability method whose technique concerns the sample size (n) based on a 95% confidence interval and a 5% risk of error calculated according to the Schwartz (1993) formula: n= P(1-P)x α2/i2.

P=10% is the prevalence of hepatitis B in Cameroon; α=1.96 is the standard deviation corresponding to the 5% risk of error and i=5% is the precision. This results in a sample of 148 individuals who were interviewed.

Ethno botanical survey

To achieve our objectives, a pre-survey was conducted in March 2020 in the study area to assess the feasibility of the project. The aim was to identify the resource persons (informants) who should be interviewed at the time of the survey and to become better acquainted with them and the study area. These resource persons are phytotherapists, old people, patients or any other people using plants for therapeutic purposes. The actual investigation was conducted between June-October 2020 and was consisted of interviews with 138 people (herbalists or not) who had used several times plants for the treatment of hepatitis B, using a previously established survey form. These interviews were carried out with the help of forms made of closed questions (answers by yes or no); open (answers according to the point of view of the respondent) and directed (several answers to the choice proposed to the respondent). Semi-open-ended questions were preferred in order to allow informants greater freedom of expression. The main headings of this questionnaire concern the informant's profile (age, sex, religion, level of education, marital status, professional status, type of collector, origin of information), the medicinal plants used by the informant (vernacular or common names of the plants used, diseases, method(s) of preparation, part(s) used, types of plants, place of procurement of his/her plants, period of collection, method of administration, condition of the plant used, duration of treatment, dose, method of diagnosis, method of preservation, follow-up of treatment) (Figure 1).

Plant-Science-Map

Figure 1. Map of the different study areas.

After the interview with these people, the indicated plants were photographed on the site for those for which it was possible or in the forests to help with the identification of the plants. Samples of fertile organs (fruits) and samples of sterile organs (leaves, bark) were collected. Once collected, the samples were identified with the help of botanical experts and the national herbarium of Cameroon. In this study, we followed the APG (2009) nomenclature for the classification of the recorded species.

Data analysis

The data obtained from the surveys were inserted into the EXCEL 2016 software. The frequency of distribution of a species within the Phytotherapists community is expressed as the percentage of citations of a species in relation to the total number of people surveyed. The citation frequency of each taxon surveyed is calculated by the formula used by Gbeckley et al. (2019) and Orsot (2016): FC= Σ(n/N) *100; n= number of people who cited the species; N: total number of respondents.

Results

Ethno botanical surveys

During the investigation carried out in the Commune of Manjo, 36 species of which 30% were spontaneous, 42% cultivated and 28% semi-cultivated were identified. These species are distributed in 21 families and 32 genera. The most represented families are Asteraceae and Liliaceae with 4 species, followed by Acanthaceae, Malvaceae and Zingiberaceae with three species each, then Anacardiaceae, Myrtaceae and Rutaceae, with two species each and the rest one species.

The morphological types are dominated by grasses with 64% of species followed by trees with 19% and shrubs with 17% species.

Concerning the state of use of the plants, 94% of the plants recorded are used in a fresh state against 6% of the plants used in a dry state (Table 1).

Families Scientific name Organs State Fc
Acanthaceae Eremomastax speciosa Roots Fresh 02
Dicliptera verticilata Leaves Fresh 03
Justicia insularis Leaves Fresh 08
Amaranthaceae Cyathula prostrata Leaves Fresh 04
Anacardiaceae Mangifera indica Leaves, Barks Fresh 01
Spondias dulcis Leaves, fruits Fresh 02
Asparagaceae Dracaena kupensis Leaves Fresh 01
Asteraceae Ageratum conyzoides Leaves and Stem Fresh or Dried 04
Vernonia guineesis Rhizomes Fresh or Dried 01
Erigeron floribundus Leaves and Stem Fresh or Dried 01
Emilia coccinea Leaves and Stem Fresh 01
Caricaceae Carica papaya Leaves Fresh 02
Clusiaceae Garcinia kola Seeds, Barks Fresh 03
Commelinaceae Commelina benghalensis Leaves and Stem Fresh 03
Convolvulaceae Ipomoea batatas Leaves Fresh 02
Crassulaceae Bryophylum pinnatum Leaves Fresh 06
Fabaceae Tandrapleura tandraptera Fruit Dried 15
Liliaceae Crinum distichum Leaves Fresh 5
Allium sativum Bulbs Fresh 4
Aloe vera Leaves Fresh 1
Aloe buandtneri Leaves Fresh 1
Malvaceae Hibiscus macranthus Flowers, Leaves Fresh 04
Hibiscus noldeae Flowers, Leaves Fresh 02
Cola acuminata Barks, Nuts. Fresh & Dried. 01
Myrtaceae Psidium guajava Leaves Fresh 01
Syzygium aromaticum Fruits Dried 01
Moringaceae Moringa oleifera Leaves, fruits. Fresh & Dried 04
Oxalidaceae Oxalis corniculata Leaves & Stem Fresh 01
Plantaginaceae Scoporia dulcis Leaves & Stem Fresh 01
Rutaceae Citrus sinensis Leaves Fresh 01
Citrus limon Leaves, fruit. Fresh 02
Solanaceae Solanum torvum Leaves, Fruits. Fresh 01
Zingiberaceae Aframomum landestuanum Rhizomes Fresh or Dried 09
Zingiber officinale Rhizomes Fresh or Dried 03
Curcuma longa Rhizomes Fresh or Dried 03
Zygophyllaceae Tribulus terrestris Leaves Fresh 02

Table 1. Catalog of plants used in the treatment of infertility.

Socio-demographic characteristics

The epidemiological profile of the informants is characterized by the predominance of men (65%) compared to women (35%). The age group [50-60] years are the most represented (43%), while that of (20-30) years is the least represented (5%). Of the 138 people interviewed, 20% are illiterate, 27% have primary education, 47% have secondary education, and 7% have university education. As for the marital status of the informants, 53% are married, 23% are single, 16% are widows/widowers and 6% are divorced.

Recipes

The study identified 25 recipes. Leaves are the most used organs (48%). Fruits and rhizomes (14%), leaves and stems (10%), pods (7%), barks (5%) and roots (2%) are also used. Our recipes are prepared in the form of macerations and decoction (38%). It is followed by syrups and infusions (10%) and powders (3%). In these localities, the most used solvent is water (80%), followed by palm oil (12%) and palm wine (8%). The recipes are administrated orally (Per os; 76%); anally (17%) and often both orally and anally combined (7%) (Table 2).

Solvent Preparation Recipes & posology Administration
R1 Water Maceration Collect about 600g of Commelina benghalensis plants, wash and crush adding 2litres of water. Purge with it in a pear of 6 every morning, in pregnant women to keep a pregnancy at term. Anal route
R2 Water Decoction, Infusion or Maceration. Decoct, infuse or macerate 300g of Eremomastax speciosa roots in 2litres of water for 30minutes. Land cool and take 1 glass of 200 to 250ml, 3 times a day for 1 to 14 weeks in pregnant women. Per os
R3 Palm oil Syrup Mix the dry leaves and stems of Ageratum conyzoides, Erigeron floribundus with red oil and consume 2 pickings per day. Anal route
R4 Water Maceration. Macerate 500g of Ageratum conyzoides leaves and add 3litres of water. Take 1.5 for the purge in a pear of 6 each morning and the rest take 1 glass of 200ml morning noon and evening for 1 month. Per os and anal route
R5 Water Decoction Boil 1kg of Cola acuminata bark in 5litres of water and drink 1 glass of 200ml each morning and evening to avoid abortion. Per os
R6 Water Maceration. Rub 300g of Citrus sinensis leaves in 2liter of water. Purge every morning with a 6 pear to clean the genital tract and facilitate labor before delivery. Anal route
R7 Palm oil Syrup Mix the dry leaves of Eremomastax speciosa then mix with palm oil, consume a soup spoonful in the morning and another in the evening for 14 days Per os
R8 Water Maceration. Macerate 400g of Ipomea batatas leaves in 3 liters of water and drink 1 glass of 200ml morning, noon and evening for one month to solve erection problem in men. Per os
R9 Water Decoction Boil 200g of the leaves of Spondias dulcis and 3g of the fruits in 5litres of water and drink 1 glass of 250ml morning, noon and evening to solve erection problems in men. Per os
R10 Water Infusion Make an Infusion of 200g of leaves and pods of Moringa oleifera in 1liter of water for 15minutes. Take 1 glass of 200 ml in the morning on an empty stomach, at noon and in the evening for 1 to 4 weeks for infertility problems of men and women. Per os
R11 Water Decoction To decoct 300g of Allium sativum to which one adds 200g of Cola acuminata and 300g of Zingiber officinale in 3,5litres of water. To drink 1 glass of 200ml morning midday and evening during one month by adding to each glass a cueillerez with soup of honey. This helps to unblock the tubes and to fight against ovarian cysts and fibroids. Per os
R12 Palm wine Decoction Decoct in 2 liters of palm wine Hibiscus noldeae (leaf plus stems) and Aframomum letestuanum (Fruits) then consume 2 glasses/day until cured Per os
R13 Water Infusion and Maceration. Infuse 300g of Bryophylum pinnatum leaves in 2litres of water for 15 minutes and macerate. Drink 1 glass of 200ml morning, noon and night for three weeks to solve the problem of oligospermia in men. Per os
R14 Water Maceration Put 20g of Syzygium aromaticum nail with slices of three Citrus limon in 1,5liter of water and land macerate for 48h and drink 1 glass of 250ml morning, noon and evening to gand rid of ovarian cysts. Per os
R15 Water Maceration Put 30g of Tetrapleura tetraptera in 1,5liter of water and land macerate for 24 hours. Drink 0,5 glass of 200l in the morning and evening and purge in the mornings for problems of fibroid cysts and myomas. Per os & Anal route.
R16 Water Maceration Collect 40g of Emilia coccinea and leaves of Dracaena kupensis crush or crush in 2litres of water filter then collect 1litre of macerated. Take a purge every morning in a prey of 6 to not lose a fandus. Anal route.
R17 Water Powder Crush 30g of Panax ginseng and Zingiber officinale, sieve and obtain a very fine powder. Mix a tablespoon of powder with pure honey and lick in the morning and evening for one month to treat erectile dysfunction. Per os
R18 Water Decoction Take 3 Citrus limon, 3 Tetrapleura tetraptera 200g of Allium sativum and 200g of Zingiber officinale chopped then bring to boil in 5l of water. and drink 1 glass of 200ml morning, noon and evening during 2 months to clean the blocked tubes. Per os
R19 Water Maceration Take leaves and stems of Hibiscus noldeae and macerate them in 1 liter of water then drink 0.5 glass morning and evening to limit the risks of abortion. Per os
R20 Water Decoction Boil the leaves of Solanum torvum in 2 liters of water and then drink 0.5 glasses of 200ml morning and evening for one month to solve erection problems in men. Per os
R21 Water Decoction Decoct 1kg of Mangifera indica bark in 3l of water. Use a 6 pear to purge every morning in women to clean the genital tract and solve the problem of ovarian cyst. Anal route
R22 Palm wine Maceration Maceration of the leaves of Eremomastax speciosa, Aloe buettneri, Justicia insularis in palm wine and consume 2 glasses of 200ml morning and evening during 7 days. Per os
R23 Water Decoction Decoct 400g of Carica papaya, Psidium guajava, Allium sativum and Zingiber officinale leaves in two liters of water and take 1 glass of 200ml morning, noon and night for 1 to 3 months to solve the problems of fibroids and myomas and other uterine cavity tumors. Per os
R24 Water Decoction Decoct 300g of Curcuma longa, Allium sativum l and Zingiber officinale in 3l of water then drink 1 glass of 250ml morning, noon and evening for one month to solve the problems of vaginal infections. Per os
R25 Palm oil Syrup Mix the dry leaves of Crinum distichum (leaf) and the crushed seeds of Aframomum letestuanum (Fruit) then mix with red oil and take 2 picks a day. Per os

Table 2. Recipes used in the treatment of infertility.

Discussion

From this study, 138 resource persons were interviewed. According to them, when knowledge about the virtues of medicinal plants is hidden and held by few people, it is economically profitable. The epidemiological profile of the informants is characterized by the predominance of men (65%) over women (35%). This finding can be explained by the inability of women to travel to the forest to collect samples, even though they have the same traditional knowledge. Diame (2010) has assimilated this dominance with a power imbalance.

For the distribution of resource persons according to age, the distribution of interviewees according to the age group [50-60] years is the most represented (43%), while that of (20-30) years is the least represented (5%). This is explained by the fact that the information provided by older people is more reliable, since they hold a good part of the ancestral knowledge that is part of the oral tradition.

Of the 138 people interviewed, 26.67% have a primary level of education; 46.67% have a secondary level of education; 20% are illiterate and 6.67% have a university level of education. The very low proportion of resource persons with a university level could explain the lack of documentation of traditional medicine in these localities.

The experience of informants in terms of administering care in the condition studied varied from 2 to at least 13 years. This result is consistent with the work of Benkhnigue et al (2011) who reported that knowledge of medicinal plant ingredients and uses are generally acquired through long accumulated experience and passed down from one generation to the next. Thus, experience accumulated with age is the main source of information at the local level.

It is noted, that on 25 listed recipes, leaves are cited 20 times in the preparations and are the most used organs for the therapy of our disease. Fruits and rhizomes are cited 6 times in the recipes. The combination leaves and stems is cited 4 times, pods 3 times, barks and roots 2 times in preparation. The more recurrent use of leaves can be explained by the ease and speed of harvesting, but also by the abundance of chemical groups they contain, as they are known to be the place of synthesis of primary and secondary metabolites (Simbo, 2010). As for the barks, they are the places of storage of secondary metabolites. According to Hseini (2008) and Lahsissene & Kahouadji (2010), several organs of the same plant can be used in the treatment of one or several diseases. It is also noted that each exploited part has a disadvantage on the survival of the species. The overexploitation of plant organs (roots, leaves, bark, and wood) leads to physiological disorders and a decrease in the reproductivity of the exploited plants.

Regarding the state of the plants, 94% of the plants are used in a fresh state compared to 6% of the plants used in a dry state. Drying a plant can lead to the loss of many therapeutic properties (Nga et al., 2016). In addition, the best use of a plant would be the one that preserves all its properties, while allowing the extraction and assimilation of the active principle (Betti, 2001; N'Guessan et al., 2009; Didier et al., 2011).

The majority of our plants are prepared in the form of macerations and decoctions 38%. This is explained by the fact that maceration allows the extraction of the active principle for the purge very used to clean the genital tract in women suffering from ovarian cysts or any other pathology blocking the tubes. The decoction, allows to collect the most active principle, disinfect the plant and could attenuate or cancel the toxic effects of certain recipes (Betti, 2002; Gurib-Fakim, 2006; Ameenah, 2006; Salhi et al., 2010; Hele et al., 2014). In addition, decoctions have a longer shelf life than other preparation methods (Betti, 2001; Jiofack et al., 2009; Jiofack et al., 2010). The preparations mentioned are almost administrated orally or anally or both. This could be explained by the fact that the disease is related to bacterial, fungal and/or parasitic infections localized in deep organs. To reach these organs, the compound must pass through the digestive tract to facilitate uptake and action (Tra-Bi et al., 2008; Jiofack et al., 2008; Didier et al., 2011).

Most of these recipes are prepared using a combination of plants. Several studies conducted on traditional treatments in Africa have highlighted this complexity in the preparation and content of traditional remedies, which rarely contain a single plant species, with some recipes containing more than three to four different plant ingredients. This form of combining various plant species in treatment could present risks of interactions or toxicity. However, Fleurentin et al. (2004), emphasized that the real therapeutic activities of certain medicinal plants cannot be explained by the sole presence of one or other of the constituents. Indeed, in these complex mixtures that are the molecular soups of extracts of various plants, it is the association or the synergy that exists between the molecules, which is very often responsible for the desired effect. The contribution of plants to the constitution of recipes is relatively higher in some plants than in others. In this case with species such as Aframomum landestuanum Ageratum conyzoides, Tandrapleura tandraptera, Allium sativum, Crinum distichum, Cyathula prostrata, Kalanchoe pinnata, and Zingiber officinale; their presence in many recipes could be a proof of their efficacy in the treatment of infertility. These species are found domesticated in agro-ecosystems, as domestication of plants may prove to be an alternative in strategies for sustainable exploitation of this resource (Mvogo, 2013; Ndjouondo et al., 2015). The dosage depends on the gender involved.

Conclusion

This study allowed making a non-exhaustive inventory of medicinal plants used in the treatment of infertility in the localities of Lala, Nlowe and Manjo. The survey series led to identifying 36 species belonging to 32 genera and 21 families from 138 informants. The most represented family is Asteraceae, Liliaceae, Acanthaceae, Malvaceae and Zingiberaceae. The most used plants in the treatment of female and male infertility in the localities are Aframomum letestuanum Ageratum conyzoides, Tetrapleura tetraptera, Allium sativum, Crinum distichum, Cyathula prostrata, Bryophylum pinnatum and Zingiber officinale. Some findings were made during this study most of the recipes are prepared in the form of maceration (48%). It is followed by decoction (35%), Infusion (13%) and powder (4%). Leaves are the most used organs in the treatment (42%), followed by whole plants (16%), fruits (13%), rhizomes (9%), barks (7%), seeds (5%), flowers (4%), bulbs (2%) and roots (2%). According to the literature review, several plants listed in this study have not yet been the subject of laboratory studies for the verification of their beneficial effects on female and male fertility and could constitute interesting subjects of research. Also, phytochemical screening in the laboratory is necessary to know the chemical compounds contained in the main plants and their degree of toxicity.

Acknowledgement

We sincerely thank the people interviewed for their good will and their contribution to the project. We also express our sincere gratitude to the traditional authorities of the Manjo subdivision.

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Citation: Noiha NV et al. (2022). Quantitative ethno botanical survey of medicinal plants used in the infertility by local people in Cameroon. IRJPS. 13: 011