Natural Products and Bioprospecting

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 92–103 | Cite as

Gems from traditional north-African medicine: medicinal and aromatic plants from Sudan

  • Hassan Khalid
  • Wail Elsadig Abdalla
  • Haider Abdelgadir
  • Till Opatz
  • Thomas Efferth
Open Access


Sudanese folk medicine represents a unique blend of indigenous cultures with Islamic, Arabic and African traditions. In addition, Sudan encompasses different terrains and climatic zones, ranging from desert and semi-desert in the north to equatorial with a short rainy season (semi-aridand semi-humid) in the centre to equatorial with a long rainy season (arid-humid and equatorialhumid) in the south. This variation contributes to the immense diversity of vegetation in the region. The flora of Sudan consists of 3137 species of flowering plants belonging to 170 families and 1280 genera. It is estimated that 15% of these plants are endemic to Sudan. The intersection of diverse cultures and the unique geography holds great potential for Sudanese herbal medicine. Medicinal and aromatic plants and their derivatives represent an integral part of life in Sudan. Indigenous remedies are the only form of therapy available to the majority of poor people. It has been estimated that only 11% of the population has access to formal health care. Therefore, research on the desired pharmacological effects and possible unwanted side effects or toxicity is required to improve efficacy and safety of Sudanese herbal medicine. In the future, it would be preferable to promote the use of traditional herbal remedies by conversion of raw plant material into more sophisticated products instead of completely replacing the traditional remedies with synthetic products from industrialized countries. The present review gives an overview of traditional Sudanese medicinal and aromatic herbs and their habitats, traditional uses, and phytochemical constituents.


herbal medicine natural products pharmacognosy phytochemistry phytotherapy traditional medicine 

Supplementary material

13659_2012_15_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2 mb)
Supplementary material, approximately 2.03 MB.


  1. [1]
    Akerele, O. Fitoterapia1988, 59, 355–367.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Khalid, H. S. Biological & Phytochemical Studies on Albizzia anthelmintica. Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty Pharmacy, University of Khartoum, August 1991.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Alkhalifa Al Mugtadir (908–938), Cited by Hamid MR. “Gisat Al Dawa Ailm wa Tahdyat” (Arabic), MR Hamid, Maktaba Al Academia 121 Shari Al Tahrir Dougi Algeeza, Cairo, Egypt.
  4. [4]
    Abu Bakr Al Razi (854–932) Kitab Alhawi (Arabic). Ministry of Education Printing Press, Haiderabad, India.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Ibn El Bitar (1248 A.D.). Al Jami Li Mfradat Al Dawiyya wa Al Aghzhiyya (Mufradat Ibn EL Bitar) (Arabic). Four Volumes, Cairo Matba’at Bulaq, 1874.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Al Dainori, Ahmed Ibn Daoud. Kitab Alnabat (Arabic). Lieden: B. Loin, 1953.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Daoud Al-Antaky (1600 A.D.). Tazkirt Ulil Al Albab wa Aljami’a Lil Ajab Alujab (Popularly known as Tazkirt Daoud Alantaki) (Arabic). Cairo; Matha’at Abd Alraziq publishers.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Khalid, S. A. Nat. Prod. Comm.2009, 4, 1431–1446.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    El-Hamidi, A. Planta Med.1970, 18, 279–280.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Banthorpe, D. V.; Duprey, R. J.; Hassan, M.; Janes, J. F.; Modawi, B. M. Planta Med.1976, 29, 10–25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Antoun, M. D.; El Khawad, A. O.; Taha, O. M. Lloydia1977, 40, 337–339.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Antoun, M. D.; Taha, O. M. J. Nat. Prod.1981, 44, 179–183.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    El Sheikh, M. O.; El Hassan, G. M.; El Tayeb Abdel Hafeez, A. R.; Abdalla, A. A.; Antoun, M. D. Planta Med.1982, 45, 16–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    El Ghazali, G. E. B. Medicinal Plants of Sudan Part I. Medicinal Plants of Erkawit, National Council for Research, Khartoum, 1986.Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    El Ghazali, G. E. B.; Bari, E. A.; Bashir, A. K.; Salih, A. M. Medicinal Plants of Sudan Part II. Medicinal Plants of Eastern Nuba Mountains. National Council for Research, Khartoum, 1987.Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    El Ghazali, G. E. B.; El Tohami, M. S.; El Egami, A. A. B. Medicinal Plants of the Sudan Part III, Medicinal Plants of White Nile Province. National Council for Research, Khartoum, 1994.Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    El Ghazali, G. E. B.; El Tohami, M. S.; El Egami, A. A.; Abdalla, W. E.; Galal, M. Medicinal Plants of the Sudan Part IV. Medicinal Plants of North Kordofan. National Council for Research, Khartoum, 1997.Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    El Ghazali, G. E. B.; Abdalla, W. E.; Khalid, H. E.; Khalafalla, M. M.; Hamad, A. A. Medicinal Plants of the Sudan Part V. Medicinal Plants of Ingassana Area. National Council for Research, Khartoum, 2003.Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    El-Tahir, A.; Satti, G. M.; Khalid, S. A. Phytother. Res.1999, 13, 474–478.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    Hussein, G.; Miyashiro, H.; Nakamura, N.; Hattori, M.; Kakiuchi, N.; Shimotohno, K. Phytother. Res.2000, 14, 510–516.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Elegami, A. A.; Almagboul, A. Z.; Omer, M. E.; El Tohami, M. S. Fitoterapia2001, 72, 810–817.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    Ali, H.; König, G. M.; Khalid, S. A.; Wright, A. D.; Kaminsky, R. J. Ethnopharmacol.2002, 83, 219–228.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    Ahmed, El-H. M.; Nour, B. Y.; Mohammed, Y. G.; Khalid, H. S. Environmental Health Insights2010, 4, 1–6.PubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. [24]
    El Kheir, Y. M.; El Tohami, M. S. J. Trop. Med. Hygiene1979, 82, 242–247.Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    Ahmed, E. H.; Bashir, A. K.; El Kheir, Y. M. Planta Med.1984, 50, 74–77.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    Koko, W. S.; Galal, M.; Khalid, H. S. J. Ethnopharmacol.2000, 71, 247–252.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. [27]
    Koko, W. S.; Abdalla, H. S.; Galal, M.; Khalid, H. S. Fitoterapia2005, 76, 30–34.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. [28]
    Koko, W. S.; Mesaik, M. A.; Yousaf, S.; Galal, M.; Choudhary, M. I. J. Ethnopharmacol.2008, 118, 26–34.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. [29]
    White, F. Nat. Resources Res.1983, 20, 1–1356.Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    Tuley De Silva. Manual on The Essential Oil Industry, Presentations made by the resource persons at third UNIDO workshop on essential oil and aroma chemical industries held at the Andoulu University, Medicinal and Aromatic Plant and Drug development. Eskisher, Turkey, 1996.Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    Arcury, T. A.; Grzywacz, J. G.; Stoller, E. P.; Bell, R. A.; Altizer, K. P.; Chapman, C.; Quandt, S. A. J. Gerontology2009, Series B, Psychol. Sci. and Social Sci. 64, 635–643.Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    Bakhiet, A. O.; Adam, S. E. Veterinary Hum. Toxicol.1995, 37, 255–258.Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    Omer, S. A.; Adam, S. E. Veterinary Hum. Toxicol.1999, 41, 299–301.Google Scholar
  34. [34]
    Barri, M. E.; Onsa, T. O.; Elawad, A. A.; Elsayed, N. Y.; Wasfi, I. A.; Abdul-Bari, E. M.; Adam, S. E. J. Comparative Pathol.1983, 93, 559–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. [35]
    Barakat, S. E.; Wasfi, I. A.; Adam, S. E. Veterinary Pathol.1983, 20, 611–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. [36]
    Galal, M.; Adam, S. E. Veterinary Hum. Toxicol.1988, 30, 447–452.Google Scholar
  37. [37]
    Galal, M.; Bashir, A. K.; Salih, A. M.; Adam, S. E. J. Ethnopharmacol.1991, 31, 333–337.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. [38]
    Galal, M.; Bashir, A. K.; Salih, A. M.; Adam, S. E. Veterinary Hum. Toxicol.1991, 33, 537–539.Google Scholar
  39. [39]
    Baser, K. H. C.; Abeywickrama, K. Fact-Finding and Preparatory Assistance to Assess the Potential for the Industrial Utilization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Sudan, UNIDO Mission Report, Khartoum, 1995.Google Scholar
  40. [40]
    Vasisht, K.; Kumar, V. Compendium of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants — Volume I — Africa. UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), 2006.Google Scholar
  41. [41]
    Farnsworth, N. R.; Akerele, O.; Bingel, A. S.; Soejarta, D. D.; Eno, Z. Bull. World Health Org.1985, 63, 965–981.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. [42]
    Blumenthal, M. (Ed). The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. American Botanical Council/Thieme, New York, 2003.Google Scholar
  43. [43]
    Singh, R.; Singh, B.; Singh, S.; Kumar, N.; Kumar, S.; Arora, S. Toxicol. In Vitro2008, 22, 1965–1970.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. [44]
    Singh, R.; Singh, B.; Singh, S.; Kumar, N.; Kumar, S.; Arora, S. J. Food Chem.2010, 120, 825–830.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. [45]
    Eldeen, I. M.; Van Heerden, F. R.; Van Staden, J. J. Ethnopharmacol.2010, 128, 555–560.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. [46]
    Aspinall, G. O.; Hunt, K.; Morrison, I. M. J. Chem. Soc. Perkin 11966, 21, 1945–1949.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. [47]
    Mueller-Harvey, I.; Hartley, R. D.; Reed, J. D. J. Sci. Food Agricult.1987, 39, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. [48]
    Mangan, J. L. Nutr. Res. Rev.1988, 1, 209–231.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. [49]
    Kinghorn, A. D.; Chai, H. B.; Sung, C. K.; Keller, W. J. Fitoterapia2011, 82, 71–79.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. [50]
    Viljoen, A. M.; Wyk, B. V.; Newton, L. E. Biochem. Systematics Ecol.2001, 29, 53–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. [51]
    Mahmoud, A. A.; Ahmed, A. A.; El Bassuony, A. A. Fitoterapia1999, 70, 575–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. [52]
    Siddiqui, B. S.; Afshan, F.; Gulzar, T.; Hanif, M. Phytochem.2004, 65, 2363–2367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. [53]
    Ragasa, C. Y.; Nacpil, Z. D.; Natividad, G. M.; Tada, M.; Coll, J. C.; Rideout, J. A. Phytochem.1997, 46, 555–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. [54]
    Beit-Yannai, E.; Ben-Shabat, S.; Goldschmidt, N.; Chapagain, B. P.; Liu, R. H.; Wiesman, Z. Phytochem. Lett.2011, 4, 43–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. [55]
    Kim, T. R.; Pastuszyn, A.; Vanderjagt, D. J.; Glew, R. S.; Millson, M.; Glew, R. H. J. Food Comp. Analysis1997, 10, 73–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. [56]
    Hamm, S.; Bleton, J.; Connan, J.; Tchapla, A. Phytochemistry2005, 66, 1499–1514.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. [57]
    Schweiggert, U.; Carle, R.; Schieber, A. Analyt. Chim. Acta.2006, 557, 236–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. [58]
    Tannin-Spitz, T.; Grossman, S.; Dovrat, S.; Gottlieb, H. E.; Bergman, M. Biochem. Pharmacol.2007, 73, 56–67.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. [59]
    Ngadjui, B. T.; Abegaz, B. M.; Keumedjio, F.; Folefoc, G. N.; Kapche, G. W. F. Phytochemistry2002, 60, 345–349.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. [60]
    Ngadjui, B. T.; Folefoc, G. G.; Keumedjio, F.; Dongo, E.; Sondengam, B. L.; Connolly, J. D. Phytochemistry1999, 51, 171–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. [61]
    Block, S.; Baccelli, C.; Tinant, B.; Meervelt, L. V.; Rozenberg, R.; Jiwan, J. L. H.; Llabrès, G.; De Pauw-Gillet, M. C.; Quetin-Leclercq, J. Phytochemistry2004, 65, 1165–1171.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. [62]
    Stange, R. R. Jr.; Sims, J. J.; Midland, S. L.; McDonald, R. E. Phytochemistry1999, 52, 41–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. [63]
    Shahi, A. K.; Kaul, M. K.; Gupta, R.; Dutt, P.; Chandra, S.; Qazi, G. N. Flavour Fragrance J.2005, 20, 118–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. [64]
    El-Askary, H. I.; Meselhy, M. R.; Galal, A. M. Molecules2003, 8, 670–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. [65]
    Ragasa, C. Y.; Co, A. L.; Rideout, J. A. Nat. Prod. Res.2005, 19, 231–237.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. [66]
    The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India. Part I, Vol. II. Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.Namo Narayana. First edition, New Delhi, India, 1999.Google Scholar
  67. [67]
    Bouchet, N.; Levesque, J.; Blond, A.; Bodo, B.; Pousset, J. L. Phytochemistry1996, 42, 189–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. [68]
    Mahmoud, E. H. N.; Khalid, S. A. Phytochemistry1997, 46, 793–794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. [69]
    Fiot, J.; Sanon, S.; Azas, N.; Mahiou, V.; Jansen, O.; Angenot, L.; Balansard, G.; Ollivier, E. Ethnopharmacol.2006, 106, 173–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. [70]
    Tseng, T. H.; Hsu, J. D.; Lo, M. H.; Chu, C. Y.; Chou, F. P.; Huang, C. L.; Wang, C. J. Cancer Lett.1998, 126, 199–207.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. [71]
    Hou, D. X.; Tong, X.; Terahara, N.; Luo, D.; Fujii, M. Arch. Biochem. Biophys.2005, 440, 101–109.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. [72]
    Abdelgaleil, S. A. M.; Okamura, H.; Iwagawa, T.; Sato, A.; Miyahara, I.; Doe, M.; Nakatani, M. Tetrahedron2001, 57, 119–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. [73]
    Govendachari, T. R.; Krishna Kumari, G. N. Phytochemistry1998, 47, 1423–1425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. [74]
    Hsouna, A. B.; Trigui, M.; Culioli, G.; Blache, Y.; Jaoua, S. Food Chem.2011, 125, 193–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. [75]
    Erdelmeier, C. A.; Regenass, U.; Rali, T.; Sticher, O. Planta Med.1992, 58, 43–48.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. [76]
    Shigemori, H.; Kagata, T.; Ishiyama, H.; Morah, F.; Ohsaki, A.; Kobayashi, J. Chem. Pharm. Bull.2003, 51, 58–61.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. [77]
    Grayer, R. J.; Kite, G. C.; Veitch, N. C.; Eckert, M. R.; Marin, P. D.; Senanayake, P.; Paton, A. J. Biochem. Syst. Ecol.2002, 30, 327–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. [78]
    Baliga, M. S.; Baliga, B. R. V.; Shaun Mathew Kandathil, S. M.; Bhat, H. P.; Vayalil, P. K. Food Res. Intern.2011, 44, 1812–1822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. [79]
    Ferraz, A. C.; Angelucci, M. E.; Da Costa, M. L.; Batista, I. R.; De Oliveira, B. H.; Da Cunha, C. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav.1999, 63, 367–375.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. [80]
    Holfelder, M. G. A. H.; Steck, M.; Komor, E.; Seifert, K. Phytochemistry1998, 47, 1461–1463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. [81]
    Malik, S.; Ahmad, S. S.; Haider, S. I.; Muzaffar, A. Tetrahedron Lett.1987, 28, 163–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. [82]
    Ohtani, K.; Kasai, R.; Yamasaki, K.; Tanaka, O.; Kamel, M. S.; Assaf, M. H.; El-Shanawani, M. A.; Ali, A. A. Phytochemistry1992, 31, 2469–2471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. [83]
    Oshio, H.; Imai, S.; Fujioka, T.; Sugawara, M.; Miyamoto, M.; Tsukui, M. Chem. Pharm. Bull.1974, 22, 823–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. [84]
    Oshio, H.; Tsukui, M.; Matsuoka, T. Chem. Pharm. Bull.1978, 26, 2096–2097.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  85. [85]
    Wu, Q. P.; Wang, Z. J.; Fu, M. H.; Tang, L. Y.; He, Y.; Fang, J.; Gong, Q. F. Zhong Yao Cai2007, 30, 1250–1252.[Article in Chinese]PubMedGoogle Scholar
  86. [86]
    Hasan, A. F.; Furumoto, T.; Begum, S.; Fukui, H. Phytochemistry2001, 58, 1225–1228.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  87. [87]
    Furumoto, T.; Iwata, M.; Feroj Hasan, A. F.; Fukui, H. Phytochemistry2003, 64, 863–866.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  88. [88]
    Eltayeb, E. A.; Al-Ansari, A. S.; Roddick, J. G. Phytochemistry1997, 46, 489–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. [89]
    Kamel, M. S.; Ohtani, K.; Hasanain, H. A.; Mohamed, M. H.; Kasai, R.; Yamasaki, K. Phytochemistry2000, 53, 937–940.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. [90]
    Hassan, H. A.; Hamed, A. I.; El-Emary, N. A.; Springue, I. V.; Mitome, H.; Miyaoka, H. Phytochemistry2001, 57, 507–511.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  91. [91]
    Sudjaroen, Y.; Haubner, R.; Würtele, G.; Hull, W. E.; Erben, G.; Spiegelhalder, B.; Changbumrung, S.; Bartsch, H.; Owen, R. W. Food Chem. Toxicol.2005, 43, 1673–1682.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  92. [92]
    Han, Y.; Nishibe, S.; Noguchi, Y.; Jin, Z. Phytochemistry2001, 58, 577–580.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. [93]
    Evidente, A.; Fernández-Aparicio, M.; Andolfi, A.; Rubiales, D.; Motta, A. Phytochemistry2007, 68, 2487–2492.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hassan Khalid
    • 1
  • Wail Elsadig Abdalla
    • 1
  • Haider Abdelgadir
    • 1
  • Till Opatz
    • 2
  • Thomas Efferth
    • 3
  1. 1.The Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research Institute (MAPRI)National Centre for ResearchKhartoumSudan
  2. 2.Institute of Organic ChemistryJohannes Gutenberg UniversityMainzGermany
  3. 3.Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and BiochemistryJohannes Gutenberg UniversityMainzGermany

Personalised recommendations