Western African Herb Plants

Updated November 21, 2016

Herb plants are an important part of West African life. They have been used for medicinal and sometimes religious purposes throughout history. Hundreds of herbs can be found in markets in West Africa. They are purchased by citizens to keep in the home medicine cabinet or by herbal practitioners to administer relief to patients. There are herbs said to alleviate the symptoms of everything from a snake bite to impotency. The majority of citizens in Nigeria visit herbal medicine practitioners for their health care needs more often than they consult practitioners of western medicine.


The leaves, sap and roots of the Abamoda plant are used in West Africa to treat cough. It is also used to treat dysentery and diarrhoea. Wound care is given with Abamoda as is treatment for fever. It is a diuretic, antifungal and antimicrobial.

Wild Yam

This is a powerful sedative. It is used to treat acute episodes of epilepsy, panic and psychosis. It is also used in mild form as an analgesic and sleep inducer. Historically Wild Yam was used as general anaesthetic. It was the herb natural healers called upon to anaesthetise patients to set broken limbs.


Kinkiliba is the most common herbal tea found throughout West Africa. Many West Africans begin their morning with a cup of this powerful tea that is great for maintaining general health and well-being. Kinkiliba aids in the treatment of fevers, colds, flues, aches and pains. The leaves are also used to apply directly on wounds.


When West Africans wish to cleanses their bodies internally they choose the herb known as Kelle. It also used as an energy booster. The bark is soaked in water and the tea is taken over a period of days. Kelle is also used to bring down fevers.


The stem, roots and bark of this herbal plant are used in West Africa as a treatment for convulsions and fever. Its use may prevent miscarriage. Sometimes the herb is used to treatment malaria, jaundice or anaemia.


A favoured treatment for high blood, the roots, fruit and leaves of the Akerejupon plant are used as poultices and taken internally. This can be used as an aphrodisiac. It reduces menstrual swelling in breasts and is sometimes used for cough and fever, even malarial fever.


The herbal plant Botuje has many purposes. All parts of the plant are used, the leaves, stem, root and sap. The medicine is said to relieve worms and fevers and skin ailments. It restores normal menses, stops convulsion and is used to treat smallpox.

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About the Author

Roz Calvert was a contributing writer for the award-winning ezine Urban Desires where her travel writing and fiction appeared. Writing professionally since 1980, she has penned promotional collateral for Music Magnet Media and various musicians. The "Now Jazz Consortium" published her jazz educational fiction. She published a juvenile book about Zora Neale Hurston and attended West Virginia University and the New School.