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J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jul 30;124(3):513-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.05.009. Epub 2009 May 18.

Medicinal plants of the Meinit ethnic group of Ethiopia: an ethnobotanical study.

Author information

1
Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa University, Torhailoch Street, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. mirutseg@yahoo.com

Abstract

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE:

The majority of the Ethiopian people, including the Meinit ethnic group, are highly dependent on medicinal plants for their day-to-day public healthcare and veterinary needs. The existence of medicinal plants and the associated knowledge is, however, currently being threatened mainly due to deforestation, environmental degradation and acculturation. Thus, there is an urgent need to document and analyse the knowledge.

AIM OF STUDY:

The aim of this study was to record and analyse local knowledge of the Meinit people of Ethiopia on the use of plants to treat or cure diseases of humans and domestic animals.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Ethnobotanical data were gathered through series of individual interviews conducted with selected informants representing different social groups within the Meinit Community. Fidelity Level (FL) values were calculated to estimate the healing potentials of claimed medicinal plants.

RESULTS:

The study revealed 51 medicinal plants, most of which were herbs. Root was the most frequently used part in remedy preparation. The majority of medicinal plants were not cultivated. Significantly higher numbers of medicinal plants were cited by men than women, by older people than younger ones and by illiterate people than literate ones. Rumex nepalensis Spreng., Leucas deflexa Hook.f. and Embelia schimperi Vatke were the medicinal plants that scored the highest FL values.

CONCLUSIONS:

Acculturation of the young generation has been found to be the major treat to the continuation of traditional medical knowledge and practice in the study area. Efforts should, therefore, be made to incorporate traditional medicine in school curricula so that younger people could appreciate its usefulness. Priority for further Pharmaco-chemical investigation should be given to plants that scored highest FL values, as such values could indicate better efficacy.

PMID:
19454310
DOI:
10.1016/j.jep.2009.05.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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