Use & Management of Medicinal Plants by Maale & Ari Communities of Ethiopia

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Use and management of traditional medicinal plants by Maale and Ari ethnic communities in southern Ethiopia

Kidane B, van Andel T, van der Maesen LJ, Asfaw Z
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2014 Jun 4;10:46
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4055949

Berhane Kidane of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and Wageningen University and Research Center, with colleagues from Naturalis Biodiversity Center and The National Herbarium at Addis Ababa University, conducted an ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used for the treatment of human health problems in the Maale and Debub Ari districts of southern Ethiopia.

From the Background:

“Medicinal plant knowledge is shaped by the ecological diversity of the country, known to be site-specific and varies across peoples with different religious, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. In Ethiopia, there are over 70 ethnic communities, residing in different ecological regions and the studies so far have shown extensive medicinal plant knowledge, acquired through centuries of experience. Although several studies have been conducted on medicinal plants throughout the country e.g., the full wealth of this knowledge has not yet been sufficiently studied. We therefore document medicinal plants used by the Maale and Ari communities less studied Ethiopian communities and evaluate similarities and differences among sites and between the two communities.”

Ruta chalepensis
Ruta chalepensis [source: Xemenendura, Wikimedia Commons]
The team documented 128 medicinal plant species used as herbal medicine by Maale and Ari communities in the two districts, including Solanum dasyphyllum, Indigofera spicata, Ruta chalepensis, Plumbago zeylanica and Meyna tetraphylla.

Noting that medicinal plant resources and ethnobotanical knowledge are both under threat in the region, the authors recommend policies promoting conservation and sustainable development:

“Agricultural land expansion and a lack of cultivation practices limit the availability of medicinal plant resources in the area. Urgent action is required towards conservation (both ex-situ and in-situ combined) of medicinal plants and traditional knowledge before we lose them in the near future. Moreover, land use planning and development plan should also consider strategies that stimulate medicinal plant availability in the landscape and work towards increasing their cultivation to complement ex-and in-situ conservation efforts.
“Popular medicinal species such as Solanum dasyphyllum, Indigofera spicata, Plumbago zeylanica, Meyna tetraphylla and multi-use species like Oxalis radicosa are good candidates for consideration in further phytochemical and pharmacological research to verify their efficacy.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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