Plant Use of the Oromo


Plant use in Odo-Bulu and Demaro, Bale region, Ethiopia

Rainer W Bussmann, Paul Swartzinsky, Aserat Worede & Paul Evangelista
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Sep 24;7:28
PubMed Central: PMC3196683
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Oromia Region
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Oromia Region (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:Golbez)

Researchers from Missouri Botanical Garden, The Murulle Foundation, Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris and Colorado State University report on the plant use of the indigenous Oromo people in Southern Ethiopia.

The authors documented 46 species used for human medicine and 13 species used for veterinary purposes. The medicinal plants served to treat stomach problems and diarrhea, for wound treatment, as toothbrushsticks, as anthelmintics, for skin infections and to treat sore muscles.

From the Introduction:

“Plants have been an integral part of life in many indigenous communities, and Africa is no exception. Apart from providing building materials, fodder, weapons and other commodities, plants are especially important as traditional medicines. Many tribes and cultures in Africa have an elaborated plant knowledge-base. Most of this knowledge is still entirely transferred orally within the family unit or community. Western influences have, however, led to an accelerating decline of
this tradition. For example, Western style healthcare supplied by some governments has been expanded in the last decades, but it is still often not readily available and many regions remain completely underserved. Subsequently, most rural communities still use herbal remedies as readily and cheaply available alternatives. This knowledge is however, rapidly dwindling due to desired changes towards a more Western lifestyle, and the influence of modern tourism and other agents of globalization.”

The authors interviewed 12 respondents (all male, as “access to female informants was not possible”). A comprehensive table lists all plants encountered in the region, including uses and other notes.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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