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J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2013 Nov 4;9:73. doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-9-73.

Medicinal plants used by women from Agnalazaha littoral forest (Southeastern Madagascar).

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Antananarivo, BP 566, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar.



The country of Madagascar is renowned for its high level of biodiversity and endemism, as well as the overwhelming pressures and threats placed on the natural resources by a growing population and climate change. Traditional medicine plays an important role in the daily lives of the Malagasy for various reasons including limited access to healthcare, limited markets and traditional values. The objective of this study was to assess the modern utitilization of the Agnalazaha Forest by the local population in Mahabo-Mananivo, Madagascar, for medicinal plants used by women, and to establish a list of medicinal plants used by women sourced from Agnalazaha Forest.


Ethnobotanical studies were conducted over a period of five months in 2010 to determine the diversity of medicinal plants used by women in the commune of Mahabo-Mananivo. In all, 498 people were interviewed, both male and female ranging age from 15 to over 60 years old.


152 medicinal plants used by local people were collected during the ethnobotanical studies. Among the recorded species, eight native species are widely used by women. These species are known for their therapeutic properties in treating placental apposition and complications during childbirth as well as tropical illnesses such as malaria, filariasis, and sexual diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis.


Littoral forests are rare ecosystems that are highly threatened on the island nation of Madagascar. Our investigation into the use of medicinal plants sourced from and around the Agnalazaha Forest by the women of Mahabo-Mananivo reinforces the need for this natural resource as a first line of health care for rural families.

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