Saturday, 25 July 2015

Ethnopharmacological analysis of medicinal plants used against non-communicable diseases in Rodrigues Island, Indian Ocean

Volume 173, 15 September 2015, Pages 20–38


Ethnopharmacological relevance

Rodrigues is an autonomous outer island that form part of the Republic of Mauritius and one of three islands that constitute the Mascarene archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Though herbal medicine is in common use in Rodrigues, there has been no ethnopharmacological study to document quantitatively such traditional practise particularly against non-communicable diseases (NCD) which is currently a growing major health issue on the island. The aim of the present study was to collect, analyse and document traditionally used medicinal plants (MP) from key informants and traditional medicine practitioners (TMP) in the tropical island of Rodrigues to treat and/or manage common NCD.

Materials and methods

Data was collected via face-to-face interviews with MP users (n=113) and TMP (n=9). Seven quantitative ethnopharmacological indices, namely family use value (FUV), use value (UV), informant agreement ratio (IAR), relative frequency of citation (RFC), fidelity level (FL), relative importance (RI) and ethnobotanicity index (EI) were calculated.


Hundred and three plants belonging to 55 families were recorded for the treatment and/or management of 27 different NCD. Three of the MP (Terminalia bentzoë (L.) L.F, Sarcostemma cf. adontolepis Balf.f. and Clerodendrum laciniatum Balf.f.) recorded are endemic to Rodrigues and 2 (Carissa xylopicron Thouars., Phyllanthus casticum Willemet f.) endemic to the Mascarene Islands. The most solicited MP family was Asteraceae with a total of 8 species. Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle scored the highest RFC (RFC=1.02) value. Ten plants were found to score 100% FL and the highest IAR (0.98) was observed for the disease category of certain conditions originating in the perinatal period. Arecaceae scored the highest FUV value and Ayapana triplinervis (Vahl) R.M. King et H.Rob highest UV (UV= 2.72).


Given the dearth of updated information on traditional medicine of Rodrigues, this study can provide an opportunity to establish valuable primary information on the different MP used by the local people and hence can open new perspectives for further pharmacological research.

Graphical abstract

Image for unlabelled figure


  • NCD, non-communicable diseases;
  • FUV, family use value;
  • UV, use value;
  • IAR, informant agreement ratio;
  • RFC, relative frequency of citation;
  • FL, fidelity level;
  • RI, relative importance;
  • EI, ethnobotanicity index;
  • IPNI, International Plant Name Index;
  • IUCN, international union for conservation of nature;
  • UV, use value;
  • MP, medicinal plants;
  • MOHQL, Ministry of Health and Quality of Life;
  • TM, traditional medicine;
  • WHO, World Health Organization


  • Rodrigues;
  • Medicinal plants;
  • Republic of Mauritius;
  • Mascarene archipelago;
  • Non-communicable diseases

Corresponding author.