Alumni Project

Traditional Sudanese Medicine for Modern Drug Development?

Field and Laboratory Study

Despite tremendous advances in modern medicine, the utilization of plants as a cure in health care is still of high importance. In Sudan, medicinal plants still play an important role in the treatment of diseases, especially in rural areas. Sudanese folk medicine represents a unique blend of Islamic, Arabic, and African traditions. The intersection of diverse cultures and the unique geography holds great potential for Sudanese herbal medicine and its application in modern medicine.

The project of AGYA Alumni Prof. Dr. Abdalla Elbashir and Dr. Jan Friesen focusses on the so-called desert rose (Adenium obesum) and the veldt grape (Cissus quadrangularis L.). Both belong to the most promising herbal plants, which have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. Adenium obesum is widespread in western Sudan in the sub-Saharan area. Even though this plant produces a toxic milky sap, almost every part of Adenium obesum has been used in various therapeutic strategies such as for the treatment of venereal diseases, skin diseases, to kill lice, for the recovery of decaying teeth, as antiseptic, nasal drop and further; Cissus quadrangularis has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal and even more effects.
However, the responsible chemical components of these plants, the desired pharmacological effects, and possible unwanted side-effects have still not been researched in detail. This research project tries to close this gap. The collection of samples in different parts of Sudan are conducted in collaboration with the respective local communities. Furthermore, the medical applications are documented. In the next step, the chemical compounds of the collected samples are analyzed to improve the efficiency of herbal medicine, ensure the safety of people in Sudan and beyond, as well as to evaluate the potential to use Adenium obesum and Cissus quadrangularis L. for drug development.


Plant Adenium Obesum

The plant Adenium Obesum AGYA/Abdalla Elbashir

Disciplines Involved
Chemistry, Pharmacy, Biology, Medicine, Anthropology
Cooperation Partner
University of Khartoum, Sudan
Project Title
Traditional Sudanese Medicine for Modern Drug Development?
Funding Scheme
Alumni Project
Countries Involved
Sudan, Germany