Alchornea cordifolia is one of the most widely-used plants in traditional medicine throughout Africa, from Senegal east to Kenya and Tanzania and south throughout Central Africa to Angola. It is cultivated in DR Congo for its medicinal use. It is principally used for inflammatory, antimicrobial and parasitic diseases. Alchornea cordifolia is commonly used as a medicinal plant throughout its area of distribution. The leaves are mostly used, but also the stem bark, stem pith, leafy stems, root bark, roots and fruits enter in local medicine. The leaves or leafy stems, as an infusion or chewed fresh, are taken for their sedative and antispasmodic activities to treat a variety of respiratory problems including sore throat, cough and bronchitis, urinary problems including venereal diseases and female sterility, and intestinal problems including gastric ulcers, diarrhoea, amoebic dysentery and worms.
As a purgative, they are also taken as an enema; high doses taken orally are emetic. They are also taken as a blood purifier, as a tonic and to treat anaemia and epilepsy. In Senegal a leaf decoction is taken to treat tachycardia. Young stem pith is bitter and astringent and is chewed for the same use. The extract of the leaves of Alchornea cordifolia (AC) is extensively used in ethnomedicine for ulcers, rheumatic pains, febrile convulsions and for enhancing physical performance. The results of this preliminary study provide evidence, which may support the use of Alchornea cordifolia against stress or fatigue in ethnomedicine. For medicinal purposes Alchornea cordifolia is mainly harvested from the wild. It is an important medicinal plant in traditional medicine and much pharmacological research has been effected including its antibacterial, antifungal and antiprotozoal properties, as well as its anti-inflammatory activities, with significant positive results.
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