Extent of use of Aloe vera locally extracted products for management of ailments in communities of Kitagata Sub-county in Sheema District, Western Uganda.
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Abstract Aloe vera is widely used locally in communities in Uganda as a medicinal plant. It is said to contain various nutrient substances and vitamins that have curative properties. It is said to heal a variety of diseases in various communities. However the extent of use of this potential medicinal plant in Uganda and the various ailments for which it is used and the treatment outcomes are not clearly established and documented. In this cross-sectional study, carried out in August 2012 in Kitagata sub-county in Sheema district in western Uganda, data was collected from 131 randomly selected adult respondents using an interviewer administered semi-structured questionnaire. Key informants interviews and focused group discussions were also carried out with purposively selected participants. Data were collected on social demographic characteristics, practices and beliefs about Aloe vera. The data were analyzed using Excel version 2007 and Epi_Info software. To get the proportion of the community that use Aloe vera, the number of respondents that use aloe vera was expressed as a percentage of the total number of respondents. It was found out that all the respondents (100%) know aloe vera plant, 96.1% think that it can cure and 84.7% have ever used it. 90.9% of the respondents believe that Aloe vera is effective in curing ailments. 82.9% of these strongly believe in Aloe vera’s effectiveness. The diseases reported included malaria (31%), wounds (23%), abdominal pains (16%) and skin diseases (9%) among others. It was significantly noted that all the participants who had ever used Aloe vera still believe in it. 92.0% respondents reported that they can recommend aloe vera to a friend or relative. Only one participant strongly disagrees that Aloe vera has any curative properties and has never used it.