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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Medicinal plants used in traditional medicine by Oromo people, Ghimbi District, Southwest Ethiopia

Balcha Abera

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2014, 10:40  doi:10.1186/1746-4269-10-40

Published: 8 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Ethiopia is one of the six centres of biodiversity in the world with several topographies, climatic conditions and various ethnic cultures. Ethnobotanical study is a real and encourageable in rich biological resource areas for medicinal plant identification, documentation, ranking, conservation and sustainable usages. The purpose of this study was to identify the most effective medicinal plants for specific treatment through priority ranking and to assess the status of the transfer of Traditional Botanical Knowledge (TBK) based on age groups and educational levels.

Methodology

Ethnobotanical data were collected using field observation and semi-structured interview, A total of 30 key informants and 165 community members were interviewed and data on medicinal plant species and associated knowledge were recorded, quantified and verified using several preference ranking methods.

Results

The study revealed a total of 49 medicinal plant species (belonging to 31 families and 46 genera) used to treat various human ailments, the majority of which 40 (81.6%) species were collected from wild while the rests from home garden. Herbs constituted the largest growth habit (18 species, 37%) followed by trees (16 species, 32%) and shrubs (15 species, 31%). Leaf `17 (35%) is the plant part widely used followed by root 13 (27%), leafy-stem 5 (10%), and seed 6 (12%). Oral administration was the dominant route (63%), followed by dermal route (22%) and nasal (11%). The highest number of plant species being used for infectious (48%) followed by two or more diseases and non-infectious disease. Of five and seven medicinal plants of preference ranking the highest ranks were given first for Croton macrostaychus used for malaria treatment and for Prunus africana as ‘’rare” for immediate collection and use in the traditional treatment. Significantly higher average number of medicinal plants (p < 0.05) were reported by informants of higher institution (14.3 ± 34) and adult age groups (11.6 ± 43).

Conclusion

The Ghimbi people possess rich ethno-medicinal knowledge. This study can be used as a basis for developing management plans for conservation, sustainable use and drug development.

Keywords:
Ethnobotany; Traditional knowledge transfer; Preference ranking; Oromia; Ethiopia