Medicinal plants used traditionally as insecticides and antifeedants in sub-Saharan Africa: A review

K. C. Shilaluke, A. N. Moteetee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Synthetic chemical pesticides are well known to be the most effective way to protect the plants and their products. However, their indiscriminate use has caused severe toxic effects on the environment, useful microbes, and animal and human health. Plant-based biopesticides have been shown to be better alternatives as compared to the synthetic pesticides as they show no residual toxicity in soil and are considered eco-friendly. This review aims to provide existing knowledge on the subject in the sub-Saharan African region where plants have been used traditionally as insecticides. These plants have proven insecticidal and chemical properties, documented in the literature. The survey identified 92 plant species distributed in 38 families, which are used throughout the sub-Saharan African region as insecticides against beetles, aphids, termites, and flies. Plant species, such as Azadirachta indica, Bidens pilosa, and Lantana camara, were recorded to be very effective plant-based insecticides. Several phytochemicals have been recorded in most plants and the presence of these chemicals may be responsible for their insecticidal properties. However, many others have not yet been tested, therefore, this review shows the need for further research where knowledge gaps exist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-149
Number of pages21
JournalBiopesticides International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Antifeedants
  • Botanical insecticides
  • Pesticides
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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