n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Efficacy of traditional plant medicine for the treatment of soil transmitted intestinal worms in humans - a systematic review

Volume 21 Number 2.2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Soil transmitted helminths (STHs) remain a common public health disease infecting more than two billion people, especially children in impoverished developing countries. To date, most traditional systems of medicine heavily depend on medicinal herbs and plants as a source of remedy against intestinal worm infections, however there is a dearth of published data on the efficacy of anthelminthic plants. We conducted a systematic review of clinical trials evaluating the anthelmintic plants in order to determine what is known about the efficacy of anthelmintic plants and also to identify gaps in our knowledge. From 127 possible studies, our meta-analysis included four quasi-randomised studies comparing any traditional medicinal plants against a standard drug, placebo or no treatment. Both authors independently appraised and extracted the main outcome measures: egg reduction rate; reduction of parasitic burden and adverse effects. Nausea was the most common side effect reported in almost every study. The plants Chenopodium ambroisodes, Carica papaya and pumpkin seeds combined with areca nut showed high efficacy rates in reducing the intestinal parasites. There is urgent need for further high quality randomised controlled trials in order to inform and guide clinical decisions regarding integrating indigenous plants into primary healthcare.

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