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BMC Vet Res. 2011 Jul 11;7:36. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-7-36.

Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in the treatment of animal diarrhoea in Plateau State, Nigeria.

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National Veterinary Research Institute, P.M.B. 01. Vom, Plateau State, Nigeria.



The use of medicinal plants in the treatment of diseases has generated renewed interest in recent times, as herbal preparations are increasingly being used in both human and animal healthcare systems. Diarrhoea is one of the common clinical signs of gastrointestinal disorders caused by both infectious and non-infectious agents and an important livestock debilitating condition. Plateau State is rich in savannah and forest vegetations and home to a vast collection of plants upheld in folklore as having useful medicinal applications. There is however scarcity of documented information on the medicinal plants used in the treatment of animal diarrhoea in the state, thus the need for this survey. Ten (10) out of 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs), spread across the three senatorial zones were selected. Farmers were interviewed using well structured, open-ended questionnaire and guided dialogue techniques between October and December 2010. Medicinal plants reported to be effective in diarrhoea management were collected using the guided field-walk method for identification and authentication.


A total of 248 questionnaires were completed, out of which 207 respondents (83.47%) acknowledged the use of herbs in diarrhoea management, while 41 (16.53%) do not use herbs or apply other traditional methods in the treatment of diarrhoea in their animals. Medicinal plants cited as beneficial in the treatment of animal diarrhoea numbered 132, from which 57(43.18%) were scientifically identified and classified into 25 plant families with the families Fabaceae (21%) and Combretaceae (14.04%) having the highest occurrence. The plant parts mostly used in antidiarrhoeal herbal preparations are the leaves (43.86%) followed by the stem bark (29.82%). The herbal preparations are usually administered orally.


Rural communities in Plateau State are a rich source of information on medicinal plants as revealed in this survey. There is need to scientifically ascertain the authenticity of the claimed antidiarrhoeal properties of these plants and perhaps develop more readily available alternatives in the treatment of diarrhoea.

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