Herbal remedies and their adverse effects in Tem tribe traditional medicine in Togo

Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(1):45-60. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i1.60522. Epub 2010 Oct 2.


In Africa, up to 80% of the population relies on herbal concoctions for their primarily health care. In Togo, western Africa, Tem tribe is a population with old knowledge of medicinal plants, however, still very little is known about their medical practices. The present study was conducted to access for the apprehension of adverse effects of traditional remedies by Tem traditional healers (TH). Enquiry was performed by interviews with healers from August to October 2007 in Tchaoudjo prefecture (Togo). The study allowed us to interview 54 TH including 41(75.93%) males and 13(24.07%) females, who cited 102 recipes assumed to have adverse effects. The recipes were used alone to cure several diseases including haemorrhoids (22.55%), female sexual disorders and infertility (21.57%), gastrointestinal disorders (18.63%), and malaria (6.86%). A total of 34 plants belonging to 21 families were cited to be components of the recipes. Euphorbiaceae and Mimosaceae families were the most represented, however, Nauclea latifolia, Khaya senegalensis, Pseudocedrela kotschyi and Xeroderris stuhlmannii were the main components of recipes linked to adverse effects. A total of 20 adverse effects were linked to the administration of theses drugs, and among them; diarrhoea, abdominal pains, polyuria, general weakness and vomiting were the most frequently encountered. These findings were in accordance with several reports of the literature concerning medicinal plants, although they were based on empirical observations. Laboratory screenings are needed to access for the effectiveness as well as the possible toxic effects of the recipes.

Keywords: Togo; adverse effects; medicinal plants; traditional concoctions.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Ethnobotany
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, African Traditional / adverse effects*
  • Phytotherapy / adverse effects
  • Plants, Medicinal / adverse effects*
  • Population Groups
  • Togo