John Libbey Eurotext

Médecine et Santé Tropicales


Phytotherapy against buruli ulcer in the Health District of Yamoussoukro (Cote d’Ivoire) : Identification, description, and symbolic functions of the plants and recipes used Volume 26, issue 4, Octobre-Novembre-Décembre 2016


  • Figure 1
  • Figure 2


1 Université Jean Lorougnon Guede, Daloa, BP 150 Daloa, Cote d’Ivoire
2 Centre suisse de recherches sentifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, 01 BP 1303 Abidjan 01, Côte d’Ivoire
* Correspondance
  • Key words: Buruli ulcer, treatment, african medicine, Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast
  • DOI : 10.1684/mst.2016.0630
  • Page(s) : 408-13
  • Published in: 2016

This study aims to describe the plants and recipes proposed by traditional healers against Buruli ulcer in Côte d’Ivoire and to analyze their symbolic aspects. Buruli ulcer is an increasingly serious health problem in Côte d’Ivoire. The ivorian state through the National Buruli Ulcer Control Programme and its partners, has developed various actions to fight that disease. Medical and surgical treatments are offered free of charge to patients. Hundreds of health centers in different health districts have been converted into Buruli ulcer management centers. Despite these actions, traditional treatment continues to dominate the treatment journey. In rural areas, traditional healers provide management for Buruli ulcer. This qualitative and descriptive study studied 4 traditional healers and 37 patients at the Kongouanou care center. The traditional healers offer patients products that are disinfectants and ointments prepared from leaves, bark, roots, and fruits of different plants. The modes of treatment are supported by both dietary restrictions and a set of symbolic elements. Several reasons explain the predominance of traditional medicine in patients’ treatment routes, although none of the patients interviewed was cured. It is, however, appropriate to establish collaboration with traditional healers to promote early detection and immediate recourse to specialized treatment centers.