Ethnopharmacological relevance: Plant materials are used worldwide as complementary and alternative therapeutics for the treatment of various illnesses. In Ethiopia, folk medicines are utilized across a wide range of cultures and settings. Ethiopia has numerous plant species of which around 12% are endemic, making it a rich source of medicinal plants that are potentially important for human wellbeing.
Aim of the study: The aim of this study was to assess Ethiopian medicinal plants with anti-inflammatory or wound healing activities, in an attempt to compile the information required for further investigation of their potential role in the management of lymphoedema.
Methods: A systematic review protocol was developed according to the preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) statement. The protocol for this review was registered on PROSPERO with registration number CRD42019127471. This review considers all controlled in vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory and wound healing studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of Ethiopian medicinal plants. The search strategy included all articles containing descriptors such as Ethiopia, medicinal plants, herbal products, care, management, lymphoedema, lymphedema, swelling, podoconiosis, elephantiasis, wound, wound healing, inflammation, an anti-inflammatory that were published until June 28, 2019. Outcomes were measured as the percentage of inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cell inhibition, as the percentage of carrageenan-induced oedema (anti-inflammation) inhibition, and the percentage of cell migration and proliferation (wound healing). For quality assessment of individual animal studies, the Risk of Bias tool for animal intervention studies (SYRCLE’s RoB tool) criteria were used. For quality assessment of individual in vitro studies, the OECD guidelines and the WHO Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) handbook were used. Results: A total of 46 articles on anti-inflammatory and 17 articles on wound healing properties were reviewed. For the in vivo studies, Swiss albino mice and Wistar rats were used, and the concentration of plant extracts or fractions administered to the lab animals varied considerably. Acetone extract of Vernonia amygdalina (Delile) Sch.Bip. showed the fastest anti-inflammatory activity at lower concentrations in carrageenan-induced paw oedema. Conclusion: Lawsonia inermis, Azadirachta indica, Achyranthes aspera, and Cuminum cyminum are the most studied plant species in terms of anti-inflammatory activity, while Lawsonia inermis and Azadirachta indica are the most studied ones for wound healing. The most common in vivo techniques used for the anti-inflammatory and the wound healing assays were carrageenan-induced paw oedema, and excision and incision wound models, respectively.


Dereje Nigussie (MSc in Medical Pharmacology), Ph.D. Fellow, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK & CDT-Africa, Ethiopia