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J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Apr;85(2-3):269-77.

Medicinal use and social status of the soap berry endod (Phytolacca dodecandra) in Ethiopia.

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Center for International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Agricultural University of Norway, P.O. Box 5001, N-1432 As, Norway.


Berries from Phytolacca dodecandra L'Herit. (endod in Amharic) offer a readily available molluscicide to control schistosomiasis. Parts of the endod plant have been used as a detergent and as traditional medicine for centuries in Ethiopia. An interview survey was performed in the highlands of Ethiopia to provide information on the distribution of the plant, people's traditional use of it, their perception of the plant, and the potential for increased production and use of endod as a soap for indirect control of schistosomiasis. People of all ages report that they are familiar with the plant and its detergent and medicinal uses. The plant is largely disappearing from unprotected areas due to land clearing. Younger people appear to use endod as a soap whenever it is available. Older women prefer commercial soap and consider endod to be associated with poor people. Common medicinal uses include treatment of skin itching (ringworm), abortion, gonorrhea, leeches, intestinal worms, anthrax and rabies. Two thirds of the people express interest in cultivating endod for personal use if supplied with rooted cuttings. Increased cultivation of endod and use of berries for washing might be possible if information about schistosomiasis and its control is disseminated among people. Preference for commercial soap and lack of land for cultivation are major obstacles for increasing the availability and use of endod.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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