Research groups in Cameroon and all over Africa are actively engaged in an ethnobotanical/guided search for active principles from medicinal plants which are employed in traditional medicine. The aim has been to extract, isolate and structurally characterize plant metabolites which could be developed into modern therapeutic agents. Research on medicinal plants from Cameroon and their endophytes have led the isolation of more than 4000 secondary metabolites documented with more than 3500 publications in international journals. However; these studies which have been done since more than half a decade with the aim of improving the populations´ quality of life have not yet had broad success. Likewise, the formulation of standardized herbal medicines or the scientific validation and rationalization for using the species used in traditional medicine are still underdeveloped. This is attributed to the lack of
between traditional healers, ethnobotanists, plant taxonomists, phytochemists, biochemists, and pharmacologists. Even in cases where metabolites showed promising activity on some strains of microbes or high toxicity, the feedback is not always given to traditional healers.
A change of paradigm is urgently needed: The proposed bilateral graduate school YaBiNaPA will bring together specialists from disciplines of natural products and offering facilities for learning, knowledge transfer and multidisciplinary research. It will focus on the search for new antiparasitic and antimicrobial agents or extracts, as well as on the formulation and quality analysis of herbal medicine. As a synergistic effect, this research platform will enable scientific investigations starting with the selected trees or bushes in the Cameroonian rainforest and ending up with formulations for improved plant drugs, ready to produce affordable remedies against parasitic and microbial diseases.