Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Antivenin Plants Used for Treatment of Snakebites in Uganda: Ethnobotanical Reports and Pharmacological Evidences

Version 1 : Received: 17 October 2019 / Approved: 18 October 2019 / Online: 18 October 2019 (11:41:08 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Omara, T., Kagoya, S., Openy, A. et al. Antivenin plants used for treatment of snakebites in Uganda: ethnobotanical reports and pharmacological evidences. Trop. Med. Health 48, 6 (2020). Omara, T., Kagoya, S., Openy, A. et al. Antivenin plants used for treatment of snakebites in Uganda: ethnobotanical reports and pharmacological evidences. Trop. Med. Health 48, 6 (2020).


Snakebite envenomation, cognized as a neglected tropical disease, is a dread public health concern with the most susceptible groups being herdsmen, the elderly, active farmers, hunters, fishers, firewood collectors, 10 to 14-year old working children and individuals with limited access to education and health care. Snakebites are fragmentarily documented in Uganda primarily because most occur in rural settings where traditional therapists end up being the first line defence for treatment. Ethnobotanical surveys in Uganda have unveiled that some plants are used to antagonize the activity of various snake venoms. This review was sought to compile the sporadic information on the vegetal species reported as antivenins in Uganda. Electronic data indicate that no study entirely reported on antivenin plants in Uganda. A total of 77 plant species belonging to 65 genera, distributed among 42 botanical families claimed as antiophidic in Uganda are used for treatment of snakebites. Majority of these species belong to family Fabaceae (30.9%), Euphorbiaceae (14.3%), Asteraceae (11.9%), Amaryllidaceae (9.5%) and Solanaceae (9.5%). The antiophidic species listed are shrubs (40.5%), trees (32.9%) and herbs (17.7%), usually found in the wild and uncultivated. Antivenin extracts are primarily prepared from roots and leaves, through decoctions, infusions, powders and juices and administered orally or topically. The most frequently encountered therapeutically important species are Allium cepa L., Carica papaya L., Securidaca longipedunculata Fres., Harrisonia abyssinica Oliv. and Nicotiana tabacum L. Baseline epidemiological data on snake envenomation and antivenin plants in Uganda remain incomplete due to inadequate research and diverse ethnic groups in the country. There is a dire need to isolate and characterize the bioactive compounds in the claimed plants to enable their adroit utilization in handling the plague of snake envenomation. More baseline data should be collected on snake ecology and human behaviour as well as antivenin plants in Uganda. Indigenous knowledge on the use of plant preparations in traditional medicine in Uganda is humongous, but if this is not quickly researched and appropriately documented, indications as to the usefulness of this vegetal treasure house will be lost in the not so distant future.


antiophidic; antivenin plants; envenomation; ethnobotany; ethnomedicine; phospholipase A2; snakebite; traditional medicine; Uganda


Medicine and Pharmacology, Pharmacology and Toxicology

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Received: 16 February 2020
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