In this study, five species (Enantia cholorantha Oliv., Pteleopsis hylodendron Mildbr.and Spathodea campanulata P. Beauv., Costus afer Ker-Gawler and Mormodica charantia L.) belonging to five families were used for treatment of viral diseases including chicken pox, measles, influenza, shingles and viral hepatitis. The ethnobotanical survey of plant medicine was conducted in the Centre and South regions of Cameroon. The study aim was to obtain information on the use of plants in the treatment of viral diseases, the plant organs used, method of preparing herbal antiviral remedies and how it is administered, with a view to contribute to the search of new natural antiviral medicines. Results showed that traditional prescription of viral diseases generally included drinking, purging and steam bathing of the aqueous herbal preparations until symptoms of the disease disappear. This study shows the need for the enlightenment of traditional healers and the public in general on selective use of plants for the treatment of viral diseases.
Key words: Ethnobotanical survey, viral diseases, medicinal plant, traditional healers.
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