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Dombeya rotundifolia (Hochst.) Planch.: review of its botany, medicinal uses, phytochemistry and biological activities

Alfred Maroyi.


Dombeya rotundifolia is an important medicinal plant throughout its distributional range in tropical Africa. The aim of the current study was to review the botany, medicinal uses, phytochemistry and biological activities of D. rotundifolia. Information on the medicinal uses, phytochemistry and biological activities of D. rotundifolia was undertaken using electronic databases such as Medline, Pubmed, SciFinder, SCOPUS, Google Scholar, Science Direct, EThOS, ProQuest, OATD and Open-thesis. Pre-electronic literature was sourced from the University library. Literature search revealed that D. rotundifolia is used as traditional medicine in 64.3% of the countries where the species is indigenous in tropical Africa. It is mainly used to induce labour and as herbal medicine for constipation, fever, malaria, infertility, abdominal pains, dyspepsia, chest complaints, pneumonia, nausea, headache, heart problems, palpitations, diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach problems and intestinal ulcers. Pharmacological studies of D. rotundifolia extracts revealed that the species has anthelmintic, anti-hypertensive, acetylcholinesterase inhibitory, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Considering its importance as herbal medicine in tropical Africa, there is need to subject D. rotundifolia to detailed phytochemical and pharmacological evaluations aimed at elucidating its chemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties.

Key words: Dombeya rotundifolia, ethnopharmacology, Malvaceae, Sterculiaceae, traditional medicine

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