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Document Type : Short Review Article


1 Department of Chemistry, Federal University Gashua, Nigeria

2 Department of Chemistry, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

3 Department of Chemistry, Federal College of Education Zaria, Nigeria


Snake envenomation from different nations causes an emergency in public health, which result in high levels of mortality and morbidity. Snakebites are mostly treated with anti-venom administration to neutralize venom toxins. However, anti-venoms have some limitations due to their high cost, inadequate storage facilities, and hypersensitivity reactions in some people. This brings about the need to search for other alternatives in the snakebites treatment using medicinal plants. Plant extracts have been used over the years as an antidote in the treatment of envenomation by snakes worldwide. However, the efficacy of these plants has not been validated. This review aims at providing a mini review of some twenty-nine plant extracts used traditionally as antidotes to treat snakebites.

Graphical Abstract

A Short Review on Plants Used as Anti-Snake Venom


Main Subjects

  1. Introduction

Medicinal plants play a vital and important role in world health since they provide a rich source of bioactive compounds with therapeutic activities [1-3]. Recently, different medicinal plants have been investigated by researchers to ascertain claims of these therapeutic properties [4-8], and other research areas.

Over the years, different parts of plant varieties have been used in the treatment of different diseases, including snake bites and animal bites [9, 10]. Information over the past years has revealed that there are over 420 different species of snakes in Africa while 100 of these snakes occur in Nigeria; 40 of the snakes are very dangerous, while 10 of them are deadly [11, 12].

Snake venom contains high levels of protein toxins that exhibit neurotoxic and cytotoxic effects that cause damage and are harmful to humans. Snake envenomation brings about inflammation, hemorrhage, necrosis, neurotoxicity, cardiotoxicity, and eventually death [13].

Anti-snake venom (ASV) is presently considered as the best antidote in the treatment of specific snake bites. Antivenin is hardly available in rural areas due to its high cost and poor storage conditions. Moreover, hospitals and centers that control snake bites are very few, creating a need for the development of a new and affordable antidote against snake envenomation [11, 13].

Various studies have revealed that plant extracts have been found to inhibit enzymes in snake venom and act as antidotes. This review aims at evaluating some medicinal plant extracts with anti-venom activity against snakes [14, 15, 18].

Table 1 indicates a list of twenty-nine plants that presented anti-snake venom activity against snake bite.

Table 1. Details of selected medicinal plants with anti-snake venom activity

  1. Discussion

Snake venom causes a high rate of mortality in the world. Venoms are toxic saliva containing mixtures of bioactive compounds that consist of proteins, nucleotides, and inorganic ions. Plant extracts containing phenols, flavonoids, and tannins have reported anti-snake venom activity [25, 40].

Some phytoconstituents active against snake envenomation isolated from some of these plants include: wadelolactone from Eclipta prostate, melanin from Thea sinensis, D-mannitol from Mimosa pudica, and 2-Hydroxy-4-Methoxy Benzoic acid from Hemidesmus indicus [18, 20, 41]. However, computational studies have been employed to ascertain the efficacy of compounds including those from medicinal plants [42-47].

Based on the literature research carried out, medicinal plants are displayed in Figures 1-25 and have anti-venom activity, as presented in Table 1. Some plant families were found to contain plants with anti-snake venom activity against snake envenomation; some of these families include: Fabaceae, Acanthaceae, Apocynaceae, Malvaceae, Euphorbiaceae, etc. This review shows a list of some plants from these families that have anti-venom activity [16, 27, 38].

One of the key outcomes of the current investigation was that the phytochemicals present in medicinal plants potentiated the effects of snake venom antiserum in experimental animals and neutralized snake venom. The phytochemicals, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, steroids, coumarins, polyphenol, etc. from the medicinal plants extract of the twenty-nine medicinal plant were shown to potentiate the anti-serum activity in a manner similar to that was reported in [48-53]. This shows that protection by medicinal plants against snake venom will be of great value for snakebite victims, especially in rural regions.

  1. Conclusion

The medicinal plants have shown anti-snake venom activity with very small sides or more preferred side effects than the serum treatment and can be considered as a better alternative and option for effective treatment against snakebite.


The authors would like to express their gratitude to God almighty who gave the privilege to carry out this research. And also the professors for their support and encouragement throughout this research period, may God bless them.


Maryam Adamu:

Ahmed Jibrin Uttu:

Abduljelil Ajala:

Rukayya Muhammed Obansa:

Mark Madumelu:

Citation: M. Adamu, A.J. Uttu*, A. Ajala, R.M. Obansa, M. Madumelu, A Short Review on Plants Used as Anti-Snake Venom. J. Chem. Rev., 2023, 5(3), 341-352.


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