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Indigenous Traditional Knowledge on Health and Equitable Benefits of Oil Palm (Elaeis spp.)

DOI: 10.4236/oalib.1105103, PP. 1-25

Subject Areas: Public Health, Sociology

Keywords: Elaeis guineensis, Elaeis oleifera, Ethnic Groups, Ethno-Botany, Ethno-Medicine, Health Benefits, Indigenous Knowledge, Indigenous Medicine, Oil Palms, Perceptions

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Recent international policy resolutions have recognized the importance of indigenous knowledge and potential of native medicinal plants in providing health and equitable benefits to the indigenous communities. Lack of knowledge on available native medicinal plants and their health potential may result in inappropriate health care practices causing ailments and as-sociated problems. Oil palm is among the plants that are widely used by the traditional natives of West Africa. Every part of the oil palm has domestic, economic, environmental and medicinal values. This review aims at exploration, perpetuation and preservation of indigenous knowledge on oil palm for health and equitable benefits for incorporation of the same into primary health care system. The traditional medicinal uses of oil palm by indigenous communities are well known from the bibliographical records. The literature consulted for this review was obtained from Medline, PubMed, Embase, Science Direct, Scopus, SID and Google Scholar search carried out from October, 2018 to November, 2018. The literature survey and screening of data revealed that preparations from different parts of Elaeis guineensis are widely used in traditional medicine by the indigenous communities, with most of the uses relating to leaf, fruit, seed, infructescence/inflorescence, root and heart. E. guineensis is used in traditional medicine mostly without being mixed with other plants, and less commonly in mixtures, sometimes in mixture with products of animal origin to treat ailments like malaria, anaemia, gonorrhoea, amenorrhea, menorrhagia, hernia, rheumatism, bronchitis, hepatitis, small pox, measles, influenza, fever, dysentery, pleurisy, lumbago, cancer, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, headache, earache, perinatal abdominal pain, hiccoughs, convulsions, filariasis, candidiasis, Tinea cruris, to reduce mental fatigue, mental disorders, palpitations and heart trouble, to regulate body temperature, to heal ulcers, boils, piles, cuts and fractures, for sexual impotence, male and female sterility, easy flow of menses, to prevent miscarriage, to reduce bleeding during pregnancy, to promote easy delivery of women, for postpartum placental retention, to increase milk flow in nursing mothers, to encourage children to walk at an early age, to accelerate maturity and softness of boils and abscesses, to remove thorns from body and as a poison antidote. Elaeis oleifera has a narrow range of ethno-medicinal uses as it was cited to cure only stomach or gastrointestinal disorders. On the whole, all parts of E. guineensis have ethno-medicinal uses, and further research is required as to explore the potential therapeutic properties, clinical and toxicological aspects of this plant. The result of this study provides the basis for further pharmacological studies on the herbal remedies used.

Cite this paper

Reddy, M. T. , Kalpana, M. , Sivaraj, N. , Kamala, V. , Pandravada, S. R. and Sunil, N. (2019). Indigenous Traditional Knowledge on Health and Equitable Benefits of Oil Palm (Elaeis spp.). Open Access Library Journal, 6, e5103. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/oalib.1105103.


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