Nutri-medicinal indigenous plants and management of Immuno-compromised opportunistic ailments: A case study of Wakiso District, Uganda
Nakibuuka, Mary Magdalein
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As a result of the AIDS epidemic, many people are immunocompromised and opportunistic infections are common. Nutri-medicinal plants are commonly used in management of HIV–related ailments, and also to counteract the side effects of antiretroviral therapy. Indigenous plants used for medicinal purposes in the rural communities are used as self-medication hence their action, effectiveness and safety needs to be ascertained. This study documents the nutri-medicinal plants used in the management of opportunistic ailments affecting communities in Wakiso District, Central Uganda. Secondly, the total anti-oxidant capacity and micronutrient content of fifty-two of selected indigenous nutri-medicinal plants and the acute toxicity of three screened nutri-medicinal plants (Amaranthus lividus, Solanum aethiopium and Bidens pilosa) was determined. Focus group discussions and household surveys were conducted to screen plants used in the management of malnutritional conditions and HIV/AIDs opportunistic ailments. Total anti-oxidant capacity was determined using UV spectroscopy assays of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH) and Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma (FRAP). Acute toxicity was measured using the mondus operandi assay based on disease free Swiss albino mice for each plant extract and a limit dose test of 2,500 and 5,000 mg/kg body weight. The DPPH range was 1.5 to 30.6% with Annona muricata L registering 30.6% and FRAP range of 0.08 to 9.9% with Amaranthus hybridus registering 9.9%. Aqueous extract of B. pilosa (2.83%) registered the highest yield followed by S. aethiopium (2.18%) and A. lividus (1.48%). Amaranthus lividus registered the highest value in Zinc content as 6567.65±20.81mg/kg while Erythrina abyssinica registered the lowest at 0.39±0.03mg/ kg. The leaves of a commonly consumed tuber Manihot esculenta registered the highest Iron content at 1289.54±0.14mg/kg and Kigelia africana registered the lowest amount at 3.23±0.37mg/kg. The study indicated the selenium is presented in very small amounts compared to Zinc and Iron; however Amaranthus lividus registered the highest value at 8.18±2.46mg/kg well as Spathodea campanulata registered the lowest value of 0.20±0.004mg/kg. Both aqueous and ethanolic extracts of B. pilosa were found to be of limited toxicity with LD50 (3,559 mg/kg). Aqueous and Ethanolic extracts of S. aethiopicum were found to be of boundless toxicity with both LD50 values above 5,000 mg/kg. A. lividus ethanolic extract was found to have LD50 below 5,000 mg/kg, with the aqueous extract having a relatively higher LD50 value of 5,754 mg/kg. These screened nutri-medicinal plants represent a strategic contribution to healthcare action and management of nutritional disorders opportunistic ailments.