Herbal medicine use to treat andrological problems in Africa and Drug interaction
Several medicinal plants or food supplements are popularly used worldwide in and different regions of Africa for the treatment of male infertility, sexual asthenia, erectile dysfunction and impotency, or as aphrodisiac. Scientific studies have proven the acclaimed traditional use of these plants to enhance sexual activities or sperm concentration, motility and viability. Some of the mechanisms of actions associated with these plants included increased level of testosterone and the relaxation of the smooth carvenosal muscles. However, certain plants were also shown to be inefficient or to have detrimental effects on the male reproductive system, which may be due to the varying modes of plant extraction, duration of treatment, experimental design, dosage used, quality of the plant, or toxic effects. Interactions of these herbal preparations with conventional drugs, involving mainly the possible effects of drug - metabolizing enzymes, transporters and pharmacodynamic activities in their co-administration are reported. Focus is laid on herbal drugs evaluated in clinical trials, in which such interaction has been reported. The clinical implications of the interactions of herbal medicines used in andrology depend on the drugs that are co-administered, the patient, the origin of the herbal medicines, the composition of their constituents and the dosage regimens. More clinical trial should be conducted to fill the gap for the safe and efficient use of these nutritional supplements in some chronic diseases and there is a need to standardize the protocols as well as to better understand their mechanism of actions.