Review Article

Utilization of Plants for Medicinal Purposes and Concerns with Endangered Plant Species from Ghana


There has always been a strong human dependency on plants for health purposes and such an important relationship should be sustained. Plants remain a repository of drug leads for discovering new pharmaceutical agents for prevention, treatment and improving the quality of health for many people globally. In the effort to improve healthcare services, Ghana put up the Recommended Essential Herbal Medicine List (REHML) consisting of products that are used in the treatment of both Communicable and non-Communicable diseases. To inspire confidence among prescribers and clients of the products it has become necessary to validate the plants and their products. The aim of the study was to identify the medicinal plants' species in the herbal products in Ghana’s REHML commonly used for treatment, the conditions being treated with them and finding published research for the plants therapeutic use. Medicinal plants on the REHML with chances of getting extinct were also assessed. The REHML of Ghana and the Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia were reviewed for the required information. Electronic databases; PubMed and Scopus, as well as online search engines, Google Scholar and Google were used to obtain information on the identified medicinal plants and their families. A total of 167 medicinal plant species were found to be used in 180 products as compiled in the Ghana REHML and these belonged to 63 botanical families. Most of the medicinal plants are collected from the wild making sustainability and bio-conservation a challenge. Decoctions, creams and ointments are the commonest dosage forms. The REHML of Ghana caters for 13 disease areas using 180 finished herbal products. These products are made from 167 medicinal plants, 16 of which are in the group of medicinal plants classified as endangered species. There should be a conscious effort to bio-conserve these endangered medicinal plant species so that there can be continuous supply for use in the preparation of herbal products for healthcare purposes.

Addo-Fordjour P, Anning AK, Akanwariwiak WG, Belford EJD, Firempong CK. Medicinal plants of Ghana. Genetic resources, chromosome engineering, and crop improvement: Medicinal Plants 2012;6:221-246.

Adeyemi AA, Ibe AE, Okedimma FC. Tree structural and species diversities in Okwangwo Forest, Cross River State, Nigeria. Journal of Research in Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. 2015;7(2):36-53.

Adeyi AO et al. In vivo and in vitro antibacterial activities of Momordica charantia on Salmonella typhi and its effect on liver function in typhoid-infected rats. J Pharmacogn Phytother. 2013;5:183-188.

Agyemang AO et al. Clinical Evaluation of the Safety and Effectiveness of Heptonica: A Ghanaian Hepatorestorative Polyherbal Product. Evid Based Complementary Altern Med 2020;2020.

Ajayi TO, Moody JO, Anthony CS. Ethnobotanical survey of plants used in the management of hypertension in Ibadan North Local Government Area of Oyo State, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 2019;15:61-73.

Akinwunmi KF, Oyedapo OO. In vitro anti-inflammatory evaluation of African nutmeg (Monodora myristica) seeds. Eur J Med Plants 2015;167-174.

Akpuaka A, Ekwenchi MM, Dashak DA, Dildar A. Biological activities of characterized isolates of n-hexane extract of Azadirachta indica A. Juss (Neem) leaves. Nature and Science. 2013;11:141-147.

Alo MN, Anyim C, Igwe JC, Elom M, Uchenna DS. Antibacterial activity of water, ethanol and methanol extracts of Ocimum gratissimum, Vernonia amygdalina and Aframomum melegueta. Adv Appl Sci Res 2012;3:844-848.

Alzohairy MA. Therapeutics role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and their active constituents in diseases prevention and treatment. Evid Based Complementary Altern Med 2016;2016.

Aremu OO et al. Acute and sub-chronic antihypertensive properties of Taraxacum officinale leaf (TOL) and root (TOR). Trans R Soc S Afr 2019;74:132-138.

Aromolaran O, Badejo OK. Efficacy of fresh leaf extracts of Spondias mombin against some clinical bacterial isolates from typhoid patients. Asian Pac J Trop Dis 2014;4:442-446.

Asase A, Asafo-Agyei T. Plants used for treatment of malaria in communities around the Bobiri forest reserve in Ghana. Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants 2011;17:85-106.

Ayodele PO et al. Effect of Anthocleista nobilis root extract on the haematological indices of poultry chicken challenged with newcastle disease virus (NDV). Science and Nature. 2013;2:65-73.

Baradaran A, Nasri H, Rafieian-Kopaei M. Oxidative stress and hypertension: Possibility of hypertension therapy with antioxidants. Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences 2014;19:358.

Barg C, Robertson C. Khaya senegalensis:'Discover khaya, the period pain reliever'. JATMS 2019;25:146.

Bello I et al. Blood pressure lowering effect and vascular activity of Phyllanthus niruri extract: The role of NO/cGMP signaling pathway and β-adrenoceptor mediated relaxation of isolated aortic rings. J Ethnopharmacol 2020;250:112461.

Bello OA, Akinyele AO. In vitro seed germination of Pycnanthus angolensis (Welw.). AJATE 2016;5:40-50.

Bhat P, Hegde GR, Hegde G, Mulgund GS. Ethnomedicinal plants to cure skin diseases-an account of the traditional knowledge in the coastal parts of Central Western Ghats, Karnataka, India. J Ethnopharmacol 2014;151:493-502.

Boadu AA, Asase A. Documentation of herbal medicines used for the treatment and management of human diseases by some communities in southern Ghana. Evid Based Complementary Altern Med 2017;2017.

Bonferoni MC et al. A novel ionic amphiphilic chitosan derivative as a stabilizer of nanoemulsions: Improvement of antimicrobial activity of Cymbopogon citratus essential oil. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces 2017;152:385-392.

Bristow M, Skelton D. Preliminary weed risk assessment for Khaya senegalensis in plantations in northern Australia. Workshop Proceedings, ‘Prospects for high value hardwood timber plantations in the'dry'tropics of northern Australia’. Mareeba, 19th–21st October 2004.

Bugyei KA, Boye GL, Addy ME. Clinical efficacy of a tea-bag formulation of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta root in the treatment of acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Ghana Med J 2010;44:6-9.

Busia K. Ghana Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research 2007.

Calixto JB. The role of natural products in modern drug discovery. Acad Bras Cienc 2019;91.

Chen SL et al. Conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants: problems, progress, and prospects. Chin Med 2016;11:1-10.

Christine EA, Albert YK, Séraphin KC. Determination of the Minerals of the Herbal Tea and Tea Green from Lippia multiflora. Am J Plant Sci 2017;8:2608.

Cletus AU et al. Anti-hemorrhoid evaluation of selected medicinal plants used in bali north-east nigeria for the treatment of hemorrhoids (pile). J Pharm Res Int 2017;1-6.

Cock IE. The medicinal properties and phytochemistry of plants of the genus Terminalia (Combretaceae). Inflammopharmacology 2015;23:203-229.

Dehdari S, Hajimehdipoor H, Esmaeili S, Choopani R, Mortazavi SA. Traditional and modern aspects of hemorrhoid treatment in Iran: a review. J Integr Med 2018;16:90-98.

Musa DA, Sunday GO, Musa A, Nwodo OF. Evaluation of in vitro anti-salmonelal effect of combined crude aqueous extracts of Ficus capensis and Nauclea latifolia used for the treatment of typhoid fever. Biokemistri 2017;29:19-23.

Ekong MB, Nwakanma AA. Rauwolfia vomitoria and Gongronema latifolium extracts influences cerebellar cortex. Alzheimer’s, Dement Cogn Neurol 2017;1:1-6.

Ewudzie EE. Inventory and ethnobotanical studies of medicinal plants in the Asantemanso sacred grove, Ashanti Region, Ghana (Doctoral dissertation).

Fagodia SK, Singh HP, Batish DR, Kohli RK. Phytotoxicity and cytotoxicity of Citrus aurantiifolia essential oil and its major constituents: Limonene and citral. Ind Crops Prod 2017;108:708-715.

Fleischer TC et al. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils of Xylopia aethiopica. African J Trad Complement Altern Med 2008;5:391-393.

Ghana’s Sixth National Draft report to the United Nations on Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI). 2018.

Ghosh D. Quality issues of herbal medicines: internal and external factors. IJCAM 2018;11.

Gotep JG et al. Therapeutic and safety evaluation of combined aqueous extracts of Azadirachta indica and Khaya senegalensis in chickens experimentally infected with Eimeria oocysts. J Parasitol Res 2016;2016.

Hackman KO. The state of biodiversity in Ghana: Knowledge gaps and prioritization. Int J Biodivers Conserv 2014;6:681-701.

Haq I. Safety of medicinal plants. Pak J Med Res 2004;43:203-210.

Harris JB et al. Conserving imperiled species: a comparison of the IUCN Red List and US Endangered Species Act. Conserv Lett 2012;5:64-72. accessed on 6/7/2020 accessed on 6/7/2020 retrieved on 2/7/2020 accessed on 1/6/2020

Ilic NM et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta Schum) extract. J Agric Food Chem 2014;62:10452-10457.

Irawati NAV. Antihypertensive effects of avocado leaf extract (Persea Americana Mill). Journal Majority 2015;4:23-25.

Jackson PW, Kennedy K. The global strategy for plant conservation: a challenge and opportunity for the international community. Trends Plant Sci 2009;14:578-580.

Kabiru AY, Ibikunle GF, Innalegwu DA, Bola BM, Madaki FM. In vivo antiplasmodial and analgesic effect of crude ethanol extract of Piper guineense leaf extract in Albino mice. Scientifica 2016;2016.

Kala CP. Medicinal plants conservation and enterprise development. Med Plants 2009;1:79-95.

Karan M et al. Rapid microsatellite marker development for African mahogany (Khaya senegalensis, Meliaceae) using next‐generation sequencing and assessment of its intra‐specific genetic diversity. Mol Ecol Resour 2012;12:344-353.

Kingston DG. Modern natural products drug discovery and its relevance to biodiversity conservation. J Nat Prod 2011;74:496-511.

Kong JM, Goh NK, Chia LS, Chia TF. Recent advances in traditional plant drugs and orchids. Acta Pharmacol Sin 2003;24:7-21.

Kravchenko I, Eberle L, Nesterkina M, Kobernik A. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of ointment based on dense ginger extract (Zingiber officinale). J Herbmed Pharmacol 2019;8:126-132.

Kulkarni R, Deshpande A, Saxena K, Varma M, Sinha AR. Ginger supplementary therapy for iron absorption in iron deficiency anemia. IJTK 2012;11:78-80.

Kumadoh DO, Ofori-Kwakye KW. Dosage forms of herbal medicinal products and their stability considerations-an overview. J Crit Rev 2017;4:1-8.

Lata H, Chandra S, Khan IA, ElSohly MA. Propagation through alginate encapsulation of axillary buds of Cannabis sativa L.—an important medicinal plant. Physiol Mol Biol Plants 2009;15:79-86.

Lobay D. Rauwolfia in the treatment of hypertension. IMCJ 2015;14:40.

Lobo R, Ballal M. Screening for antidiarrheal activity of Psidium guajava: A possible alternative in the treatment against diarrhea causing enteric pathogens. J Chem 2011;3:961-967.

McChesney JD, Venkataraman SK, Henri JT. Plant natural products: back to the future or into extinction?. Phytochem 2007;68:2015-2022.

Mills-Robertson FC. Characterization of Wild-Type Salmonella and Their Susceptibility to “Mist Enterica” An Anti-Typhoid Herbal Preparation (Doctoral dissertation, University of Ghana).

Ministry of Health (MOH). Recommended List of Herbal Medicines Essential for Primary Healthcare Services 2008.

Ministry of Health (MOH). Strategy for Formal Initialization of Plant Medicine Services, Medical Herbalism and Complementary Medicine in Ghana 2009.

Musa AD. Biochemical and pharmacological studies on Morinda lucida and Eucalyptus camaldulensis (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus) 2011.

Nabatanzi A, Nkadimeng SM, Lall N, Kabasa JD, McGaw LJ. Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Activity of Kigelia africana (Lam.) Benth (Bignoniaceae) Plants 2020;9:753.

Nagalingam A. Drug delivery aspects of herbal medicines. Jpn Kampo Med Treat Common Dis Focus Inflammation 2017;17:143.

Ngwoke KG et al. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic properties, and phytochemical characterization of stem bark extract and fractions of Anthocleista nobilis. Pharmacogn Res 2018;10:81.

Noorhosseini SA, Fallahi E, Damalas CA, Allahyari MS. RETRACTED: Factors affecting the demand for medicinal plants: Implications for rural development in Rasht, Iran 2017.

Noundou XS, Krause RW, Van Vuuren SF, Ndinteh DT, Olivier DK. Antibacterial effects of Alchornea cordifolia (Schumach. and Thonn.) Müll. Arg extracts and compounds on gastrointestinal, skin, respiratory and urinary tract pathogens. J Ethnopharmacol 2016;179:76-82.

Oladeji OS, Adelowo FE, Oluyori AP, Bankole DT. Ethnobotanical description and biological activities of Senna alata. Evid Based Complement Altern Med 2020.

Omoregie ES, Oriakhi K, Oikeh EI, Okugbo OT, Akpobire D. Comparative study of phenolic content and antioxidant activity of leaf extracts of Alstonia boonei and Eupatorium odoratum. Nigerian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences 2014;22:91-97.

Oso BJ, Oyewo EB, Oladiji AT. Influence of ethanolic extracts of dried fruit of Xylopia aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich on haematological and biochemical parameters in healthy Wistar rats. Clin Phytoscience 2019;5:1-10.

Ouattara LH, Kabran GR, Konan KM. Biological activities and phytochem of Paullinia pinnata LI. J Cur Res 2019;11:10.

Owoyele BV, Owolabi GO. Traditional oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) and its medicinal uses: A review. CELLMED 2014;4:16.

Perera PK, Amarasekera HS, Weerawardena ND. Effect of growth rate on wood specific gravity of three alternative timber species in Sri Lanka: Swietenia macrophylla, Khaya senegalensis and Paulownia fortune. JTFE 2012;2:26-35.

Petrovska BB. Historical review of medicinal plants’ usage. Pharmacogn Rev 2012;6:1.

Rabadeaux C, Vallette L, Sirdaarta J, Davis C, Cock IE. An examination of the antimicrobial and anticancer properties of Khaya senegalensis (Desr.) A. Juss. bark extracts. Pharmacogn J 2017;9.

Ramawat KG, Merillon JM, editors. Bulbous plants: biotechnology. CRC Press 2013.

Rasoanaivo P, Wright CW, Willcox ML, Gilbert B. Whole plant extracts versus single compounds for the treatment of malaria: synergy and positive interactions. Malaria Journal 2011;10:1-2.

Rates SM. Plants as source of drugs. Toxicon 2001;39:603-613.

Ried K, Fakler P. Potential of garlic (Allium sativum) in lowering high blood pressure: mechanisms of action and clinical relevance. Integr Blood Press Control 2014;7:71.

Roy A, Jauhari N, Bharadvaja N. Medicinal plants as a potential source of chemopreventive agents. Inanticancer plants: Natural products and biotechnological implements. Springer. Singapore. 2018; pp 109-139.

Sofowora A, Ogunbodede E, Onayade A. The role and place of medicinal plants in the strategies for disease prevention. Afr J Trad Complement Altern Med 2013;10:210-229.

Srirama R et al. Species adulteration in the herbal trade: causes, consequences and mitigation. Drug safety 2017;40:651-661.

Sun S, Wang Y, Wu A, Ding Z, Liu X. Influence factors of the pharmacokinetics of herbal resourced compounds in clinical practice. Evid Based Complement Altern Medi 2019;2019.

Sunderland TC et al. Vegetation assessment of Takamanda forest reserve, Cameroon. Takamanda: the Biodiversity of an African Rainforest. SIMAB Series 2003;8:19-53.

Tepongning RN et al. Potential of a Khaya ivorensis–Alstonia boonei extract combination as antimalarial prophylactic remedy. J Ethnopharmacol 2011;137:743-751.

Thirumalai T, Beverly CD, Sathiyaraj K, Senthilkumar B, David E. Ethnobotanical Study of Anti-diabetic medicinal plants used by the local people in Javadhu hills Tamilnadu, India. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 2012;2:S910-S913.

Tilburt JC, Kaptchuk TJ. Herbal medicine research and global health: an ethical analysis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2008;86:594-599.

Tripathi N. International Year of Plant Health. 2020.

World Health Organization. WHO global report on traditional and complementary medicine. World Health Organization; 2019.

Woo CS, Lau JS, El-Nezami H. Herbal medicine: toxicity and recent trends in assessing their potential toxic effects. Adv Bot Res 2012;62:365-384.

Woode E et al. Effects of an ethanol extract and the diterpene, xylopic acid, of Xylopia aethiopica fruits in murine models of musculoskeletal pain. Pharm Biol 2016;54:2978-2986.

Xiao J, Zhang H, Niu L, Wang X. Efficient screening of a novel antimicrobial peptide from Jatropha curcas by cell membrane affinity chromatography. J Agric Food Chem 2011;59:1145-1151.

Yuan H, Ma Q, Ye L, Piao G. The traditional medicine and modern medicine from natural products. Molecules 2016;21:559.

Zaigham H, Tauheed A, Ali A. Recent trend in traditional medicine dosage form and present status of Unani and Ayurvedic Medicine. Int J Pharm Sci Res 2019;10:1640-1649.

IssueVol. 6, No. 1 (Winter 2021) -In Press- QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Phytotherapy Ethnobotany Bio-conservation Polyherbal Biodiversity

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Ofori Agyemang A, Amponsah I, Mensah M, Turkson B, Baidoo M, Orman E, Bayor M. Utilization of Plants for Medicinal Purposes and Concerns with Endangered Plant Species from Ghana. Trad Integr Med. 6(1).