Forestry Studies in China

, 13:163

Ziziphus mucronata: an underutilized traditional medicinal plant in Africa

Review

Abstract

In Africa, rural people depend heavily, if not exclusively, on medicinal plants and indigenous healthcare knowledge to meet their medical needs. Over 80000 flowering plant species are used medicinally worldwide. Amongst them are the underutilized Ziziphus species in the Rhamnaceae family. In terms of abundance and economic value, Z. jujuba and Z. mauritiana are currently the most important, especially in China and India where they are cultivated and exploited for medicinal use and their edible fruits. We examined a related common species widely distributed in Africa, Z. mucronata, whose economic value has not, as yet, been explored. Local people in various African countries use its different parts to cure a large number of diseases, many of which are similar to those treated with Z. jujuba and Z. mauritiana. Several studies have shown that Z. mucronata has cyclopeptide alkaloids, i.e., mucronines F, G and H, with antibacterial properties. Conservation strategies to sustain and maximize the benefits of Z. mucronata to people are proposed.

Key words

Africa medicinal plant traditional remedy underutilization Ziziphus mucronata 

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Copyright information

© Beijing Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Engineering Laboratory for Forest Tree Breeding, College of Biological Sciences and BiotechnologyBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingP. R. China

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