Short Courses

Teaching Methodology Course for Educational and Health Care Professionals

Short Course on Traditional Medicine Development
Starting Date: 16th to 20th October, 2017. Deadline: 10th October, 2017 . Download the Advert and Application Form (Swahili, English)

Useful Links

Pharmaceuticals for Medicine Without Borders
Research done on valuable botanical pharmaceutical information for cures for many of the world's diseases. Entirely free information offered to empower individuals who may suffer from these diseases.

National Institute of Medical Herbalists 
Founded in 1864, NIMH is the oldest body of professional practising herbalists in the western world. Information and frequently asked questions about herbs. Click to See More!!


‘Mstafeli’ Potential Cancer Cure

An expert from the Institute of Traditional Medicine at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences – Department of Medical Botany, Plant Breeding and Agronomy, Dr Joseph Otieno exclusively told the ‘Daily News on Saturday’ Read More!!

Research Projects

 i. The HIV/AIDS Projects:

About five projects are working on HIV research. They seek to map, identify and collection plant samples especially of the genus Combretum, Terminalia, Garcinia, Carissa. The species have been earmarked as potential sources of bioactive ant-HIV-1 compounds. Also, screening the crude extracts for antimicrobials, cytotoxicity (BST), for HIV-1 PR and RT inhibition and HIV-1 neutralization activities  and Formulation and standardization of biologically active extracts are currently been done. Phytochemical and chemical profiling of standardized products for marker compounds will pave the way for products development.

ii. Invivo antimalarial testing:

In-vivo testing for antimalarial activity using the Plasmodium bherghei model in mice has been strengthened through a proposal which is been implemented as a PhD study of one of the academic staff. The project is done in-house with the prospect of strengthen both laboratory wares and instrumentation as well as techniques among ITM staff.

iii. Pest and vector control for health and crop protection.

The Institute has initiated studies geared into isolating active compounds for human and animal health as well as crop protection. It has established facilities to test for mosquitocidal assay whereby three on-going projects seeks to isolate compounds and formulate mosquito larvicidal agents. Also two projects searching for botanicals for crop protection are currently running in collaboration with Sokoine University of Agriculture.

iv. Antimicrobial testing:

This program mainly involves invitro and invivo evaluation of plant extracts against bacteria and fungi. An invivo model of Candida infection in mice was developed and invitro microtitre assays for bacteria and fungi. The programme also involved collaboration with clinicians in the area of clinical trials of antifungal agents, and invitro studies using clinical oral Candida isolates. Both plant extracts and pure drug molecules were tested for the studies.

v. Cytotoxcity testing:

The brine shrimp lethality test is a well-established preliminary test for toxicity, but also a screening tool for possible anticancer activity. The Institute of Traditional Medicine continue collaborating with National Institute for Cancer (NCI) to do further joint research on Phyllanthus engleri a promising anticancer source of englerins A and B. Englerin A shows 1,000-fold selectivity against six of eight renal cancer cell lines

vi. Anticonvulsant testing:

Both ethnomedical surveys and testing for anticonvulsant activity using the chemical-induced convulsions model with picrotoxin and pentylenetetrazol are well established at the institute. This is one of the areas which generated publications and further activities are ongoing in Mahenge District and at the Institute with the support of SIDA-SAREC.

vii. Anti-TB Natural Products research:

There have been three research projects on the Ethnobotanical studies and search for anti-TB compounds from Tanzanian medicinal plants. As an outcome to this, two anti-TB assays have been established at the institute which include whole cell inhibition assay (using Mtb marker organisms), and the enzyme assay which inhibits Mycothione reductase redox cycle. Furthermore, various analytical instruments which are important in the assays and other biochemical experiments were brought.

viii. Anti-ulcers research

This research area was established to give a preliminary proof of ethnomedical claims from the traditional healers on the use of herbal medicines in the treatment of peptic ulcers. Currently we use Ethanol/Hydrochloric acid to induce gastric ulcers in rats. Using this model, several plant species were tested for their protective effect and some were found to be gastro-protective. It is intended to develop other peptic ulcer models to facilitate understanding the mechanisms of antiulcer activity of plant extracts. Helicobacter pylori  is implicated in peptic ulcer disease and therefore testing herbal extracts against this bacterium can provide an additional information regarding the use of medicinal plants in the treatment of peptic ulcers. The Department of Biological and Pre-Clinical Studies is now struggling to get this strain of bacterium so as to be used as a screening tool.

ix. Anti-diabetes research.

This area involves both identification of the medicinal plants traditionally used for treatment of diabetes and testing using animal models. The Oral glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is commonly used to screen medicinal plants with oral hypoglycaemic potential.  A number of publications have been obtained through the research works in this area

x. Ethnobotanical studies

Ethnobotanical studies to exploit the rich indigenous medical knowledge within the different ethnic groups in Tanzania as the source of ethnomedical knowledge for drug development. Such ethnobotanical research has been carried out in North, Central and Southern Tanzania. Projects in this thematic area are being developed to investigate unique tribal groups; eg among the Watindiga and Sonjo in Manyara region.

xi. Cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants

Projects on cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants at ITM farms for gene conservation and production of herbal products at the institute continue at Kongowe Kibaha district in Coast region (for hot-climate plants); and at Rua Maua in Moshi district in Kilimanjaro region; Olmotonyi and Arumeru farms in Arusha region and Lushoto farm in Tanga region. The later farms been used for cold-climate loving medicinal plants.

xii. Traditional health practitioners practices

The institute collects information from Traditional health practitioners (THP) and Traditional birth attendants (TBA) on how traditional healthcare practices delivered during provision of healthcare. Also, provides training and consultations to  Traditional health practitioners on good practices of processing and packaging of traditional medicine  and provision of healthcare to patients

Contact US

P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam,
Direct Line: 21500096, 2150302-6 Ext 216, 2150302-6 Ext. 262