Medicinal Plants Used in the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases in Uganda

  • Esezah Kakudidi
  • Claude Kirimuhuzya
  • Godwin Anywar
  • Esther Katuura
  • Juliet Kiguli


Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are recent and growing health problem in Uganda. The NCDs epidemic is burdening the healthcare systems, which is already under pressure from the high prevalence of communicable diseases. Hypertension is the most common NCD in Uganda; more females than males suffer from NCDs. High blood pressure and heart disease equally affect 5.3 % of the female population, while they affect 2.4 % and 2.6 % males, respectively. Cancers of the prostate and cervix are ranked number one in men and women, respectively. Traditional herbal medicine remains the most utilized form of healthcare. With the emergence of various NCDs, the services of traditional medical practitioners (TMPs) are set to rise. We collated 42 medicinal plants from literature used in the treatment of NCDs, of which 20 (47.6 %) are used in the management of hypertension, an indicator of its prevalence. Seven priority species were also identified for various NCDs by TMPs. The Uganda government realizing the importance of traditional medicine in primary healthcare established the Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute to undertake research on medicinal plants used by TMPs with the aim of justifying the therapeutic claims. Research on medicinal plants is still faced with the challenge of funding and collaboration between institutions to harness synergies towards the gradual integration into modern healthcare systems. The Ministry of Health needs to invest in training professional health providers and TMPs and public sensitization using targeted messages on prevention and management of NCDs, as was done for the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Uganda.


Medicinal plants Noncommunicable diseases Traditional medical practitioners Uganda 



Action for natural medicine


Bushenyi Meditrad Healers’ Association


Chronic diseases of lifestyle


Chronic diseases


Department of Botany


Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome


Intellectual property rights


Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation


International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry


Mass spectrometry


National Council for Traditional Healers and Herbalists Association


Natural Products Research Network for Eastern and Central Africa


Noncommunicable diseases


Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute


National Drug Authority


National Environmental Management Authority


Nuclear magnetic resonance


Sub-Saharan Africa


Traditional and complementary medicine


Traditional and Modern Health Practitioners Together Against AIDS


Traditional herbal medicines


Traditional medical/complementary alternative medicine


Traditional medicinal knowledge


Traditional medical practitioners


Uganda Bureau of Standards


Uganda Medicinal Plant Growers Ltd.


United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation


Uganda National Health Research Organization


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esezah Kakudidi
    • 1
  • Claude Kirimuhuzya
    • 2
  • Godwin Anywar
    • 1
  • Esther Katuura
    • 1
  • Juliet Kiguli
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology, College of Natural SciencesMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  2. 2.Western Campus, Department of PharmacologyKampala International UniversityBushenyiUganda
  3. 3.Department of Community Health & Behavioral Sciences, College of Health SciencesMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda

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