Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants utilized in the management of candidiasis in Northern Uganda


The emergence of resistant Candida species to antifungal drugs has led to resurgence in herbal usage globally. However, little is known about anti-candida plants. This study explored ethnomedicinal plants as treatment option for candidiasis in Pader, Northern Uganda. A cross-sectional survey of potential anti-candida plants was conducted using questionnaires, focus group discussions and field observations in March 2022. Sixty-three respondents were selected by snowball technique. The frequencies of respondents/responses were analyzed, associations of respondents’ socio-demographics with indigenous knowledge of herbal usage established by Chi-square (χ2) test using SPSS 27. Informant Consensus Factor was computed to establish level of agreement on herbal usage, and thematic analysis done for focus group discussions. Candidiasis is still common and troublesome in Pader. All herbalist had equal chances of receiving and treating candidiasis patients irrespective of herbalist’s gender, age, education level, occupation, marital status and religion (p > 0.05). About 39.7% of herbalists received candidiasis patients weekly (p < 0.01). All herbalists had knowledge on candidiasis. Death (56.8%) and discomfort (36.8%) were the major health risks of oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) and vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), respectively. A total of 32 potential anti-candida plant species in 18 families were identified. Families of Fabaceae (9 species) and Asteraceae (5 species) had most plant species. Trees (50.0%) and herbs (43.8%) were the dominant life forms. The commonest plants by frequency of mention were: Momordica foetida (26), Sansevieria dawei (20), Khaya anthotheca (15), Piliostigma thonningii (10), Clerodendrum umbellatum (7), Hallea rubrostipulata (5) and unidentified plant, ‘Agaba/daa layata’ in Acholi dialect (5). Plant parts mainly used were roots (56.3%) and stem barks (15.6%) harvested majorly by cutting (46.9%) and uprooting (12.5%). Most respondents (females, 95%) preferred herbal to western medication (p < 0.01) due to its perceived effectiveness. There was high consensus among herbalists on herbal remedies for OPC and VVC (FIC = 0.9). Pader communities have diverse indigenous knowledge on candidiasis and prefer herbal medicines to orthodox treatment for candidiasis. However, the herbalists use unsustainable harvesting techniques like uprooting whole plants and cutting main roots. Hence, the need to document such indigenous knowledge before being lost for community usage and scientific validation.



Candida species, Health risks, Medicinal plants, Oropharyngeal candidiasis, Vulvovaginal candidiasis


Akwongo, B., Katuura, E., Nsubuga, A.M. et al. (2022). Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants utilized in the management of candidiasis in Northern Uganda. Trop Med Health, 50(78):1-22.