Role of Ethnobotanical Surveys of Medicinal Plants in Combating Drug Resistance
By Kenneth Bitrus DAVID (500 Level A)
Kim (2007) defined ethnobotany as “the study of how people of particular cultures and regions make use of the plants in their local environments. These uses can include as food, medicines, fuel, and shelter and in many cultures, in religious ceremonies.” The use of medicinal plants in the treatment of infections and diseases has been in existence since the origin of human civilization. This information about the medicinal uses of plants is still intact with the native healers who often do not document them and fail to pass it to the younger generation. By carrying out ethnobotanical surveys, such vital traditional medicine knowledge can be conserved. The continuous increase in multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains of microbes poses serious difficulties in the treatment of infectious diseases. While the number of novel antimicrobials developed has greatly fallen; the number of pathogens becoming resistant to the commonly used drugs is rising progressively. This increase in the number of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains of microbes provides the need for developing new antimicrobial agents. Plants have been used as potential sources of drugs.
According to a research carried out by Oladunmoye and Kehinde in 2011, it was found out that the number of plant species used for medicinal purposes were above 35,000. Such a great number! But without proper documentation, the uses of such plants will become eluded in no distant time. The transfer of information on the medicinal uses of plants is poorly documented as it is mainly passed orally from one generation to the other. This act may lead to the loss of medicinal plant knowledge, especially for those that are paid little attention on or those not often used). Ethnobotanical surveys are aimed at filling the knowledge gap of medicinal plant uses across people of different generations. It conserves this knowledge and makes it accessible to the younger generation who may use in the treatment of diseases including infectious ones), screening for pharmacological activity, or even used by pharmaceutical industries as one of the most successful criteria in finding new therapeutic agents. The threat on medicinal plants by cultural and environmental changes is becoming alarming and called for an urgent conservation practices; ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants is one of such methods.
Antimicrobial compounds are substances that are capable of killing or inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms. They can be synthetic, semi-synthetic, or obtained from natural sources (plants and animals). Drug resistance is a situation whereby some sub-popul