3 years ago

The role of endemic plants in Mauritian folkloric medicine - Therapeutic efficacy or placebo effect?

The role of endemic plants in Mauritian folkloric medicine - Therapeutic efficacy or placebo effect?
The Mauritian endemic flora has been recorded to be used as medicinal for nearly 300 years. Despite acceptance of these endemic plants among the local population, proper documentation of their therapeutic uses is scarce. This review aims at summarizing documented traditional uses of Mauritian endemic plants with existing scientific data of their alleged bioactivities, showing there is a need for more stringent evidence-based validations for clinical efficacy. Material and Methods We made a comprehensive bibliographic search of Mauritian endemic plants on ethnobotanical textbooks, regional and local herbal pharmacopeia and dissertations and theses, concurrently with screening of peer-reviewed journals. Available data on the usage of Mauritian endemic plants in the folklore medicine and scientific investigation were correlated. Results and Discussion Analysis of the available literature shows that a small percentage of the Mauritian endemic plants are used for their medicinal value. Endemic plants are either used as part of complex herbal formulations or singly, and are prescribed by herbalists to mitigate a myriad of diseases from metabolic disorders, dermatological pathologies, arthritis to sexually transmissible diseases. However, these species have undergone a limited consistent evaluation to validate their purported ethnomedicinal claims. As the World Health Organization Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014–2023 emphasizes on moving traditional medicine into mainstream medicine on an equally trusted footage, the re-evaluation and modernization of Mauritius cultural heritage become necessary. Conclusions With a consumer-driven ‘return to nature’, scientific validation and valorization of the herbal remedies, including evidence-based efficacy and safety are, therefore, important. The use of optimized methodologies to investigate the claims of these traditional medicines is mandatory for effective treatments to emanate from unfounded superstitions.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0378874117316550

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