Man, Plants and Medicine in Africa: Some Fundamental Perspectives
Plants have served man and animal as food, fodder as well as ornaments. Many plants have also been used for medicinal purposes. Among the common well known food plants are wheat, barley, oats, maize, rice, yams, cassava, assorted vegetables and selected grasses for animal food. A good number of species that have been used solely as ornamental plants in the past are recently gaining world fame for their medicinal properties. For example, the plant Catharanthus roseus G. Don, otherwise known as the Madagascan periwinkle with its beautiful purple flowers is now grown on a large scale on the island of Madagascar for sale to Europe and USA where large scale extraction of vincristine and vinblastine takes place.