Gulu University Plans Gene Bank for Trees with Medicinal Values

Dr Alice Veronica Lamwaka(with dark shades)

Gulu University Faculty of Medicine plans to establish a gene bank for species of plants with medicinal values, according Dr Alice Veronica Lamwaka, a Clinical Pharmaceutical Scientist and Pharmacogenomics at the university.

Dr Lamwaka explained that the major aim of the gene bank is to protect trees species with medicinal values from extinction.

According to Lamwaka, the faculty of medicine at Gulu University plans to construct a greenhouse where such trees will be preserved for future use as well as carrying out research to establish their value in treatment of ailments in humans

Lamwaka who has a PhD in Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences and  pharmacogenomics raised fear that if nothing is done to protect tree species with medicinal values, they are likely to disappear.

Lamwaka cited Prunus Africana which she said was once found in Latoro in Purongo Sub County, Nwoya district but which she said is now extinct due to commercial charcoal and timber business.

Lamwaka was speaking during a recent passing out of 27 herbalists from the Acholi region trained by the university on use of herbal medicine.

According to researchgate, Prunus africana is used in the control, treatment and management of common fungal and bacterial infections.

Gulu University is currently conducting clinical trials on treatment of herbal medicine in treatment of HIV/Aids and sickle cell.

Traditionally Prunus africana stem bark is used for treating and managing chest pain, malaria, and fever.

In the last five months, the university through its Faculty of Medicine has trained over 50 traditional herbalists from Acholi sub region on standardization and purification of the herbs to treat diseases.

Gulu University also plans to introduce undergraduate courses in Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics.

The Vice Chancellor of Gulu University Prof George Openjuru Ladah, said traditional medicine is widely used in countries such as South Africa, Canada and China.

Prof Openjuru noted that it is important for Gulu University to be involved in research, conservation and propagation of trees which are known to have medicinal value.