Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.

2 Department of Medical Microbiology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika, Nigeria.

3 Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.

4 Department of Pharmaceutics and Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

5 Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.

6 Department of Biological Sciences , Faculty of Science, Taraba State University Jalingo, Taraba State, Nigeria.



Cancer disease has been on the increase recently in both developed and developing countries of the world resulting in 40 million deaths annually. Ethno-medicinal survey of indigenous herbal plants used in traditional medicine in the treatment of cancers was conducted in major communities in Bali, Gashaka and Sarduana Local Government Areas Taraba State Nigeria. Traditional medicine practitioners as well native herbalists, herbal plants and product marketers were orally interviewed by structured questionnaires. One hundred and six (106) species of plants from forty-nine (49) families were surveyed and documented in this study. Out of these, 70 % of the plants were neither screened for their anticancer activity nor documented in literatures while no any members of the Families Salvadoraceae, Simaroubaceae, and Elatinaceae have ever been reported for their anticancer activity. Members of the Family Fabaceae have the highest number of species distribution with 15%, followed by Family Asteraceae with 9% while Family Rubiaceae and Annonaceae have 6% and 5% distribution respectively. The leaves of the plants were the most used part in the treatment of cancers in all the communities, and preparation is usually by decoction. Sides effects of these plants were generally low on observation.The need for conservation of these plants is of utmost important because most these plants might go into extinct as a result of urbanization pressure and timber activities in most of these areas surveyed.


Main Subjects

Abubakar, MS, Musa, AM, Ahmed, A, Hussaini, IM. (2007). The Perception and Practice of Traditional Medicine in the Treatment of Cancers and Inflammations by the Hausa and Fulani Tribes of Northern Nigeria. J. Ethnopharm., 111:625-629.

Ashutosh, K. (2007). Medicinal Chemistry. New Age Intl. Pub. New Delhi, India,pp 960.

Bagul, MS, Pathak, SB, Ravishankara, MN, Rajani, M.(2006). Phytochemical standardization of polyherbal Unani formulation Sharbat-E-Ejaz. In: Abdin MZ, Abrol YP (Eds) Traditional Systems of Medicine. Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, India, pp. 131.

Bagul, MS, Rajani, M. (2006). Phytochemical evaluation of Chyavanprash. In: GovilBenzie, IF, Wachtel-Galor, S. (2011). Herbal Medicine. In Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, 2nd ed.; CRC Press-Taylor& Francis: Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 391.

Ene, AC, Atawodi, SE. (2012). Ethnomedicinal Survey of Plants Used by the Kanuris of North Eastern Nigeria. Indian J. Tradit. Knowledge, 11(4):640-645

ESCOP. (1999). European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Monographs on Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs, ESCOP Secretariat, UK.

Gbile, ZO. (1986). Ethnobotany, taxonomy and Conservation of medicinal plants.’ In: “The state of medicinal plants research in Nigeria”. Sofowora, A. (Ed.) University of Ibadan Press, Nigeria: 13-29.

Iwu, MM.  (1993). Handbook of African Medicinal Plants.CRC Press Inc., Florida.

Kishan, GR, Jean-Michel, M. (Eds.) (2008). Bioactive Molecules and Medicinal Plants. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 391.

Michael, H, Joanne, B, Gibbons, S, Elizabeth, M, Williamson, A, Kinghorn, D, Phillipson, JD. (2012). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy 2nd Edition. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, USA. pp. 337.

Mike, O, Soladoye, N, Amusa, A, Salmot, OR, Emmanuel, CC, Ayanbamiji, AT. (2010). Ethnobotanical Survey of Anti-Cancer Plants in Ogun State, Nigeria. Annal. Biol. Res., 1(4):261-273.

Mohammed, ZK, Daja, A, Hamza, HG, Gidado, A, Hussaini, IM. (2014). Ethnomedicinal Survey of Folkloric Plants Used in Managing Breast Cancers by the Traditional Medical Practitioners of North- East Nigeria. J. Med. Appl.Biosci., 6(1):29-43.

Odugbemi, T. (2006). Outlines and Pictures of Medicinal Plants from Nigeria. University of Lagos Press, Nigeria. URL: http//

Okafor, J, Ham, R. (1999). Issues in African Biodiversity, No. 3: Identification, Utilization, and Conservation of Medicinal Plants in South-eastern Nigeria.

Pathak, SB, Bagul, MS, Rajani, M. (2006). Multiple marker based Standardization of a polyherbal Unani Formulation Majoon-E-Jograj Gugal. In: Abdin MZ, Abrol YP (Eds). Traditional Systems of Medicine. Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, India, pp. 113.

Ramawat, KG. (2009). Herbal Drugs: Ethnomedicine to Modern Medicine (Ed.). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 414.

Sawadogo, WR, Schumacher, M, Teiten, MH, Dicato, M, Diederich, M. (2012). Traditional West African Pharmacopeia, Plants and Derived Compounds of Cancer Therapy. Biochem. Pharmacol., 84(10):1225- 1240.

Singh, VK, Arunachalam, C. (Eds) (2016). Recent Progress in Medicinal Plants – Search for Natural Drugs, Vol. 13. Stadium, Houston, pp. 251.

Srinivasa, H, Bagul, MS, Ravishankara, MN, Rajani, M. (2006). Phytochemical standardization of Unani formulations – Sharbat-E-Nilofer and Majoon Zabeeb. In: Abdin MZ, Abrol YP (Eds) Traditional Systems of Medicine. Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, India, pp. 139.

Timothy, ST, Kingston, RL. (2007). Herbal Products. Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology 2nd Edition (Eds.).Humana Press, Totowa New Jersey USA, pp. 300.

Upton, R (Ed.). (1999). American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, California, USA.

WHO. (1999). WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Vol.  1 and   2. World Health Organization, Geneva.