Friday, 23 December 2016

Ethnopharmacological appraisal of culturally important medicinal plants and polyherbal formulas used against communicable diseases in Rodrigues Island.

2016 Dec 24;194:803-818. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.10.041. Epub 2016 Nov 3.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, 230 Réduit, Mauritius.
  • 2Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, 230 Réduit, Mauritius. Electronic address:



The tropical island of Rodrigues is one of three islands that constitute the Mascarene archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Currently considered as a biodiversity hotspot, the island has also a resilient history in the use of traditional medicine. However, there has been no ethnopharmacological study to document quantitatively such traditional practice against communicable diseases (CD), which currently accounts for 6.61% annual death and 30.7% attendances in public hospitals. The aim of the present study was to collect, analyse, and document traditionally used medicinal plants (MP) and polyherbal formulas from key informants and traditional medicine practitioners (TMP) in Rodrigues to treat and/or manage common CD.


Data was collected via face-to-face interviews with MP users (n=113) and TMP (n=9) from 17 key sites. 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.


Ninety-seven plants belonging to 49 families were recorded to be in common use as monotherapy (80 plants) and/or as part of polyherbal preparation (23 plants) for the treatment and/or management of 16 different CD. Thirteen MPs were found to have a maximum FL of 100% for CD. The highest IAR (0.98) was observed for diseases of the eye and adnexa and skin and subcutaneous tissue. The highest FUV was for Arecaceae. Ayapana triplinervis (Vahl) R.M. king et H.Rob. scored the highest UV (UV=2.72). Seven endemic medicinal plants have been recorded to be employed in cultural rituals for the management of common CDs, whereas 14 polyherbal preparations were used to treat and/or manage 6 different types of CDs. Side effects were also reported following use of some these medicinal plants.


Given the dearth of updated information on traditional medicine from Rodrigues, this work has provided an opportunity to establish valuable primary information on the different MP used by the local people. Further research is needed to probe into the possible active constituents that could open new perspectives for further pharmacological research and hence be the basis of an evidence-based investigation to discover new drugs.


Indian Ocean; Infection; Mascarene archipelago; Medicinal plants; Republic of Mauritius; Traditional medicine