Open Access

Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by people in Zegie Peninsula, Northwestern Ethiopia

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine20073:12

DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-3-12

Received: 21 December 2006

Accepted: 14 March 2007

Published: 14 March 2007

Abstract

An ethnobotanical study was conducted from October 2005 to June 2006 to investigate the uses of medicinal plants by people in Zegie Peninsula, northwestern Ethiopia. Information was gathered from 200 people: 70 female and 130 males, using semistructured questionnaire. Of which, six were male local healers. The informants, except the healers, were selected randomly and no appointment was made prior to the visits. Informant consensus factor (ICF) for category of aliments and the fidelity level (FL) of the medicinal plants were determined. Sixty-seven medicinal plants used as a cure for 52 aliments were documented. They are distributed across 42 families and 64 genera. The most frequently utilized plant part was the underground part (root/rhizome/bulb) (42%). The largest number of remedies was used to treat gastrointestinal disorder and parasites infections (22.8%) followed by external injuries and parasites infections (22.1%). The administration routes are oral (51.4%), external (38.6%), nasal (7.9%), and ear (2.1%). The medicinal plants that were presumed to be effective in treating a certain category of disease, such as 'mich' and febrile diseases (0.80) had higher ICF values. This probably indicates a high incidence of these types of diseases in the region, possibly due to the poor socio-economic and sanitary conditions of this people. The medicinal plants that are widely used by the local people or used as a remedy for a specific aliment have higher FL values (Carissa spinarum, Clausena anisata, Acokanthera schimperi, Calpurnia aurea, Ficus thonningii, and Cyphostemma junceum) than those that are less popular or used to treat more than one type of aliments (Plumbago zeylanicum, Dorstenia barnimiana).

Background

Ethnobotanical studies are often significant in revealing locally important plant species especially for the discovery of crude drugs. Right from its beginning, the documentation of traditional knowledge, especially on the medicinal uses of plants, has provided many important drugs of modern day [1, 2]. Traditional medicine still remains the main resource for a large majority (80%) of the people in Ethiopia for treating health problems and a traditional medical consultancy including the consumption of the medicinal plants has a much lower cost than modern medical attention [35].

Out of the total flowering plants reported from the world, more than 50,000 are used for medicinal purposes [6, 7]. In Ethiopia, about 800 species of plants are used in the traditional health care system to treat nearly 300 mental and physical disorders. The wide spread use of traditional medicine among both urban and rural population in Ethiopia could be attributed to cultural acceptability, efficacy against certain type of diseases, physical accessibility and economic affordability as compared to modern medicine. Ethiopian traditional medical system is characterized by variation and is shaped by the ecological diversities of the country, socio-cultural background of the different ethnic groups as well as historical developments, which are related to migration, introduction of foreign culture and religion. Previous studies showed the existence of traditional medical pluralism in the country. In Ethiopia, either the knowledge from herbalists is passed secretively from one generation to the next through words of mouths or their descendants inherit the medico-spiritual manuscripts [812].

The study of Ethiopian medicinal plants has not been realized as fully as that of India or other traditional communities elsewhere [13]. In Ethiopia, though there has been some organized ethnomedicinal studies, there is limited development of therapeutic products and the indigenous knowledge on usage of medicinal plants as folk remedies are getting lost owing to migration from rural to urban areas, industrialization, rapid loss of natural habitats and changes in life style. In addition, there is a lack of ethnobotanical survey carried out in most parts of the country. In view of these, documentation of the traditional uses of medicinal plants is an urgent matter and important to preserve the knowledge. Furthermore, most of the ethnomedicinal studies in northern part of Ethiopia are focused on 'Medihanit Awakie' (professional traditional practitioners) and the ancient medico-magical and/or medico-spiritual manuscripts and old Gee'z manuscripts [11, 14, 15], and ignore the knowledge of ordinary people in the locality [16]. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate the traditional uses of medicinal plants by the ordinary people in Zegie Peninsula and to provide baseline data for future pharmacological and phytochemical studies.

Methods

Description of the Study Area

Zegie Peninsula (11° 43' N, 37° 20' E) is located at 600 km northwest of Addis Ababa in the country's northwest highlands, at an altitude of approximately 1800 meters. It is partly surrounded by Lake Tana, which is the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile. Zegie Peninsula is about three hours motorboat drive or 37 km on land from Bahir Dar, the capital city of Amahra Regional State (Fig. 1). The residents are Amahra people and speak the country's official language Amharic. Tankwas (papyrus boats) of ancient design, manufactured on the shores of Lake Tana, are the alternative forms of transport for the local people between Zegie and Bahir Dar. There are seven monasteries on the peninsula from the 16th and 17th century. Ura Kidane Mhret, one of the monasteries, houses myriads of treasures, beautiful mural paintings, icons, scrolls and thousand-year-old manuscriptsas well as crowns and dresses from Ethiopian Emperors. During the study time, there were no modern health facilities in the area. The main occupation of the people is fishing, and coffee plantation. Until recently, there was no farming practice because the monasteries in the peninsula had forbidden the use of any type of draft animal for farming. Nevertheless, currently, the people have started farming and clearing the forest for agricultural purposes and this may affect the natural habitats of some of the medicinal plants.
https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-3-12/MediaObjects/13002_2006_Article_78_Fig1_HTML.jpg
Figure 1

Map of Zegie Peninsula in Ethiopia.

Survey on the Use of Medicinal Plants

The ethnobotanical surveys were carried out from October 2005 to June 2006 using semistructured questionnaire [17] and interview was conducted in Amharic. Prior to the administration of the questionnaire, conversations with the informants were held with the assistance of local Farmers' Association representative to elaborate the objective of the study and to build on trust with the common goal to document and preserve the knowledge on medicinal plants. Two hundred informants were interviewed out of about 2855 inhabitants (1,338 females and 1517 males) of the Zegie peninsula (unpublished data, Bahir Dar Zuria Woreda Administration), these included 130 males and 70 females. Of which, six were male local healers (the only ones found on the peninsula). The female informants' age ranges from 30 to 85 years and the mean age is 51 years, and the male informants' age ranges from 30 to 93 years and the mean age is 64 years. The informants, except the healers, were selected randomly and no appointment was made prior to the visits. They were asked to give their knowledge about the plants they use against a disease, plant parts harvested, method of preparation of the remedy, details of administration and the dosage. Specimens of the reported medicinal plants were collected during regular systematic walk in the fields and identified by specialists at the Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology and the National Herbarium of Addis Ababa University following the Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea [1821]. Voucher specimens were deposited at the Herbarium of Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University.

Data Analysis

The reported aliments were grouped into 10 categories based on the information gathered from the interviewees. The categories were: evil eye and 'satan beshita' (devil sickness), external injuries and parasites infections, gastrointestinal disorder and parasites infections, 'mich' (febrile disease characterized by fever, headache, sweating, Herpes labialis, and muscle spasm) and febrile diseases, rabies and internal disease, respiratory and throat infections, sensorial disease, snake bite, swelling (non-infectious or infectious swelling) and cancer, and venereal disease and impotence. Informant consensus factor (ICF) was calculated for each category of aliments to identify the agreements of the informants on the reported cures for the group of aliments. ICF was calculated as follows: number of use citations in each category (nur) minus the number of species used (nt), divided by the number of use citations in each category minus one [22].

ICF = n ur n t n ur 1 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafiart1ev1aaatCvAUfKttLearuWrP9MDH5MBPbIqV92AaeXatLxBI9gBaebbnrfifHhDYfgasaacH8akY=wiFfYdH8Gipec8Eeeu0xXdbba9frFj0=OqFfea0dXdd9vqai=hGuQ8kuc9pgc9s8qqaq=dirpe0xb9q8qiLsFr0=vr0=vr0dc8meaabaqaciaacaGaaeqabaqabeGadaaakeaacqqGjbqscqqGdbWqcqqGgbGrcqGH9aqpdaWcaaqaaiabb6gaUnaaBaaaleaacqqG1bqDcqqGYbGCaeqaaOGaeyOeI0IaeeOBa42aaSbaaSqaaiabbsha0bqabaaakeaacqqGUbGBdaWgaaWcbaGaeeyDauNaeeOCaihabeaakiabgkHiTiabigdaXaaaaaa@3FB7@

The fidelity level (FL), the percentage of informants claiming the use of a certain plant for the same major purpose, was calculated for the most frequently reported diseases or ailments as:

FL ( % ) = Np N × 100 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafiart1ev1aaatCvAUfKttLearuWrP9MDH5MBPbIqV92AaeXatLxBI9gBaebbnrfifHhDYfgasaacH8akY=wiFfYdH8Gipec8Eeeu0xXdbba9frFj0=OqFfea0dXdd9vqai=hGuQ8kuc9pgc9s8qqaq=dirpe0xb9q8qiLsFr0=vr0=vr0dc8meaabaqaciaacaGaaeqabaqabeGadaaakeaacqqGgbGrcqqGmbatcqGGOaakcqGGLaqjcqGGPaqkcqGH9aqpdaWcaaqaaiabb6eaojabbchaWbqaaiabb6eaobaacqGHxdaTcqaIXaqmcqaIWaamcqaIWaamaaa@3B08@

Where Np is the number of informants that claim a use of a plant species to treat a particular disease, and N is the number of informants that use the plants as a medicine to treat any given disease [23]. These two methods are helpful in the selection of plants for further studies.

Result and discussion

Knowledge of Informants and Medicinal Plants

Eighty two percent of informants reported remedies for 52 aliments. Of which 26% are females and 74% are males, which indicated that most people continue to use traditional systems of health care including medicinal plants alone or in combination with modern pharmaceuticals. This continued reliance of many African people on traditional medicines is partly due to economic circumstances, which place modern health facilities, services and pharmaceuticals out of the reach of the majority of the population. However, in many cases, it is also attributable to the widespread belief in the effectiveness of many traditional therapies. Even where western biomedical care is available, many people still prefer traditional treatments for treating many aliments [4, 5, 11, 24].

The females reported remedies to diseases associated to children such as 'mich', stomachache, 'kuruba' (diarrhea, dysentery, stomach disorder), dysentery, tonsillitis and babies' sickness (thinning, loss of appetite). The males reported (mean = 6.7 ± 2.79) more number of remedies than the females (mean = 2.3 ± 0.9) and there is a significant difference (p = 0.004) between female and male and agrees with the previous reports of ethnobotanical studies in northern and southern Ethiopia [4, 5]. This is because the traditional knowledge in the family or community is passed from male parent to his first-born son [25, 26].

All the healers were male and the number of aliments reported by them ranged from six to twenty. They also reported combination of multiple medicinal plants to treat an illness, whereas most of the non-healers, both females and males reported only a single medicinal plant treatment (Table 1, 2). The multiple prescriptions reported by the healers usually contain a range of pharmacologically active compounds; in some cases, it is not known which ingredients are important for the therapeutic effect and some are used as adjuvants [27].
Table 1

Single medicinal plants treatment with parts used and preparation

Species

Family

Local Name

Use(s)

Parts used and preparation

Achyranthes aspera L.

Amaranthaceae

Telenzje

'shererit kusil' (Herpes zoster)

Chewing fresh leaves

   

blood clotting

Dressing with crushed fresh leaves

Acokanthera schimperi (A. DC.) Schweinf.

Apocynaceae

Yemerz Enchet

'kusil'

Dressing with crushed whole plant

   

'yetat merz' (bacterial infection of nail)

Dressing with crushed fresh root

Allium sativum L.

Alliaceae

Nech Shinkurt

'ayne maz' (eye sickness)

Rubbing with warmed bulb

   

evil eye

Smelling aroma of bulb

Asparagus africanus Lam.

Asparagaceae

Yeset Kest

'sinfete wesib'

Root powder is eaten with chicken soup

Brucea antidysenterica J. F. Mill.

Simaroubaceae

Aballo (Waginos)

'bullad' (weight loss fever, itching, diarrhea)

Fruit powder mixed with honey and fermented for seven days is taken orally until cure

   

'fintita sigelebet' (Haemorrhoids)

Fruit powder mixed with milk is taken orally for three days

   

'mushuro' (weight loss, dysentery and fever)

Root powder mixed with honey is taken orally until cure

   

dysentery

Juice of leaf is taken orally in the morning

   

'chiffea' (Eczema)

Dressing with inner bark paste mixed with butter or oil

Calpurnia aurea (Alt.) Benth.

Fabaceae

Digita

'kuruba'

Leaves or Fruit powder mixed with water or honey is taken orally

Carica papaya L.

Caricaceae

Papaya

malaria

Juice of leaves is taken orally

Centella asiatica L.

Apiaceae

Yeayit Joro

swelling

Dressing with leaf paste

Clausena anisata (Willd.) Benth

Rutaceae

Limche

ear sickness

Juice of leaves is used as ear drop

Clausena anisata (Willd.) Benth

Rutaceae

Limche

stomachache

Chewing root

Clematis hirsuta Perr & Guill

Ranunculaceae

Azo Hareg

'mich'

Juice of fresh leaves is used as body lotion

   

cough

Juice of leaves with butter of fat is taken orally

   

swelling

Dressing with Leaf paste

Commelina sp.

Commelinaceae

Yemariam Wuha

allergic

Dressing with crushed fresh leaf

   

ear infection

Juice of leaves as ear drop

Croton marcostachyus Del.

Euphorbiaceae

Bissana

'ekeke' (scabies)

Dressing with Crushed leaves mixed with butter or oil

   

'kuruba'

Leaves are eaten with wat(Diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach disorder) (local soup)

   

'wef beshita' (hepatitis, jaundice)

Leaf powder mixed with water is taken orally for seven days

   

diarrhea

Leaf powder mixed with water is taken orally

   

quaqucha (Tinea versicolor)

Rubbing and dressing with Latex from leaves

Cucumis ficifolius A. Rich.

Curcurbitaceae

Yemidir Embuay (Este Melecot)

'ayn bar tessa'

Chewing root

   

'majrat getr' (meningitis)

Root powder mixed with honey taken orally

   

'nessr' (epistaxis)

Juice of root applied though nose

   

'wef beshita'

Root powder is taken mixed with skimmed milk or noug orally in the morning

   

rabies

Root powder is eaten with tef kita

   

stomachache, 'kuruba', umbilical cord labouring

Chewing root

Cussonia holstii Harms ex. Engl.

Araliaceae

Sila

burning

Dressing with crushed fresh leaves

Cyphostemma junceum (Webb) Decoings ex Wild & Drummond

Vitaceae

Etse Zewe

snake bite

Chewing roots

Datura stramonium

Solanaceae

Astenagir

swelling

Dressing with leaf paste

   

tooth ache

Fresh leaves are boiled with water and the vapour is inhaled

   

'fore fore' (dandruff)

Fresh leaves are used for rubbing and dressing

   

'kusil'

Dressing with leaf paste

Dorstenia barnimiana Schwienf.

Moraceae

Work Bemeda

'wef beshita'

Root powder is taken with skimmed milk or noug orally in the morning

   

'yeahya kintarot' (donkey's wart)

Dressing with root paste

   

cancer

Making small opening and inserting the root

   

rabies

Root powder is taken with skimmed milk or noug orally in the morning for seven days

   

syphilis

Root powder is taken with honey orally in the morning

   

weight loss, diarrhea and fever

Root powder mixed honey and fermented for seven days is taken orally in the morning until cured

Draceana steudeneri Engl.

Dracaenaceae

Etse Patos

evil eye

Root is burned and smoke is inhaled

Echinops kebericho Mesfin

Compositae

Kebercho

evil eye

Root powder is sprinkled on burning charcoal and smoke is inhaled

Euphorbia abyssinica J. F. Gmel.

Euphorbiaceae

Qulqwal

venereal diseases

Latex is eaten with tef of wheat kit

   

'wef beshita'

Latex mixed with water is taken orally

   

rabies

Root powder mixed water is taken orally

Euphorbia tirucalli L.

Euphorbiaceae

Kinchib

'kintarot'

Rubbing with latex and dressing

   

'kusil'

Dressing with latex

Ferrula communis L.

Apiaceae

Dog

cough

Filtrate of boiled root mixed with honey taken orally until cured

Ficus thonningii Blume.

Moraceae

Chibha

'ayn bar tessa' (lose of appetite)

Root with Noug is eaten

   

diarrhea

Chewing root

   

stomachache

Chewing inner Bark

Glinus lotoides L.

Molluginaceae

Meterea

tapeworm

Fruit powder mixed with noug is taken orally

Gnidia glauca (Fresen)

Thymelaeaceae

Beto

rabies

Root powder mixed with skimmed milk is taken orally for seven days

Gossypium herbaceum L.

Malvaceae

Tit

snake bite

Chewing root

Hagenia abyssinica (Bruce) J. F. Gmel.

Rosaceae

Kosso

'kosso' (tape worm)

Powder mixed with water and fermented over night is taken orally in the morning

Helinu mystacinus (Ait.) E. Mey. ex Steud

Rhamnaceae

Esat Abered

burning

Dressing with crushed fresh leaves

Huernia concinna N. E. Br.

Asclepiadaceae

Yelam Tute

'kusil', swelling

Dressing with crushed fresh leaf

Impomea sp.

Convolvulaceae

Filatsut

babies' sickness

Bathing with crushed leaf and stem

   

cancer

Making small opening and inserting the root

Indigofera spicata Forssk.

Fabaceae

Yebab Alenga

babies' sickness

Bathing with crushed fresh leaf and stem

   

stomachache

Chewing root

Justicia schimperiana (Hochst. ex A. Nees) T. Anders

Acanthaceae

Sensel (Smiza)

'wef beshita', 'kuruba'

Juice of leaves is taken orally

   

evil eye

Smelling the aroma of fresh root

Kalanchoe petitana A. Rich.

Crassulaceae

Endehuahula

swelling

Making small opening and inserting the root

Millettia ferruginea (Hochst.) Bark

Fabaceae

Birbira

'mujelea' (chigger)

Dressing with fruit paste mixed with butter

   

'tfre metmte' (bacterial infection of nails)

Dressing with leaf paste

   

'yejoro kunkun' (earache)

Juice of leaves or stem is used as ear drop

   

amoeba

Fruits powder mixed with honey is taken orally

Mimusops kummel Bruce ex. DC.

Sapotaceae

Eshe

amoeba

Eating fruits

Momordica foetida Schumach

Cucurbitaceae

Qura Hareg

'zuresh' (babies sickness)

Bathing with crushed fresh root

Myrtus communis L.

Myrtaceae

Ades

'fore fore' (Dandruff)

Bathing with crushed fresh leaves

   

diarrhea, stomach disorder

Juice of leaf is taken orally in the morning

Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst.

Lamiaceae

Dama Kesse

'kusil'

Fresh crushed leaves dressing

Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst.

Lamiaceae

Dama Kesse

'kusil'

Dressing with Bark paste

   

'mich'

Juice of leaves is taken with coffee orally

Pergularia daemia L.

Asclepiadaceae

Yeayit Hareg

snake bite

Making small cut at location and inserting root

Phytolacca dodecandra L'Herit

Phytolaceae

Endod (Male)

'kuruba'

Root or leaf powder mixed with water is taken orally

   

'kusil'

Dressing with Fruit paste

   

'wef beshita'

Leaf powder mixed with water is taken orally

   

rabies

Root paste is taken with tef kita in the morning for seven days

Plumbago zeylanicum L.

Plumbaginaceae

Amira

'kurtimat' (rheumatic Pain)

Fresh leaves are boiled and the filtrate is taken with honey orally for seven days

   

cancer

Root powder mixed with digne (sulphur) is applied

   

cough

Fresh leaves are boiled and the filtrate is taken with fermented butter orally

   

snake bite

Chewing Leaves

   

swelling

Dressing with root paste

Podocarpus gracilis

Podocarpaceae

Zigba

vomiting

Juice of leaves is taken orally

Rhamnus prinoides L.

Rhamnaceae

Gesho

'chiffea' (Eczema)

Appling leaf paste mixed with butter as ointment

Ricinus communis L.

Euphorbiaceae

Kachima

'kuruba'

Juice of root is taken orally

   

tooth ache

Chewing fresh root

Rumex nepalensis Spreng.

Polygonaceae

Tult

'entil siwerd' (tonsillitis), 'kuruba'

Juice of root is taken orally

   

umbilical cord labouring

Tying fresh root around west

Ruta chalepensis L.

Rutaceae

Tena Adam

evil eye

Smelling aroma of fresh leaf and stem

   

flue

Juice of leaves is taken with coffee

Sansevieria erythraeae Mattei

Dracaenaceae

Algeti/cheret

'sinfete wesib' (impotence)

Root powder is taken with tef potage

Sida ternata L. F.

Malvaceae

Yemidir Hareg

'lashet' (fungal disease)

Dressing with crushed fresh leaves

Solanum marginatum L.f

Solanaceae

Geber Embuay

'kusil', swelling

Dressing with crushed fresh root

Stephania abyssinica (Dillon. & A. Rich.) Walp.

Menispermaceae

Kib Kitel (Etse Eyesus)

'kuruba'

Juice of root is taken orally

   

babies' sickness

Juice of leaves mixed with butter is taken orally

   

stomachache

Juice of leaf and stem is taken orally

   

'kintarot'

Dressing with stem paste

   

'girfita' (fever, headache)

Bathing with crushed fresh leaves

Stereospermum kunthianum

Bignoniaceae

Zana

'kola kusil' (infected cut or wound)

Dressing with Bark paste

Taverniera abyssinica A. Rich

Fabaceae

Dingetegna

Vomiting, dysentery

Chewing root

Verbascum sinaiticum Benth.

Scrophulariaceae

Daba Keded

'kusil'

Dressing with Fresh crushed leaves

   

diarrhea, stomachache

Juice of root is taken orally

Verbena officinalis L.

Verbenaceae

Atuch

'gusmit' (stomach disorder)

Juice of leaves is taken orally

   

'yeshererit beshita' (Herpes zoster)

Dressing with leaf paste

   

ear sickness

Juice of fruit with olive oil is used as ear drop

   

evil eye

Smelling of aroma of fresh root

   

snake bite

Chewing root

   

stomachache

Chewing root

   

'wesfat' (ascaris)

Juice of root is taken orally

Vernonia adoensis Sch. Bip. ex Walp.

Asteraceae

Este Mossa

menstrual disorders

Root are chewed with honey

Vernonia amygdalina Del.

Asteraceae

Girawa

'entil siwerd' (Tonsillitis)

Juice of leaf is taken orally

   

'likift' (devil sickness, madness)

Root is burned and smoke is inhaled

   

'satan beshita' (devil sickness)

Bathing with crushed fresh leaves

   

evil eye, 'satan beshita', 'tesbo beshita' (epidemic disease)

Root powder is sprinkled on burning charcoal and smoke is inhaled

Ximenia americana L.

Olacaceae

Enkoye

'entil siwerd' (tonsillitis)

Juice of bark is taken orally

   

'kusil'

Dressing with bark paste

Zehneria scabra

Asteraceae

Hareg Ressa (Este Sabek, Shahirit)

'mich'

Leaves and stem are boiled and the vapour is inhaled and bathing

   

'kintarot' (wart)

Pressing with warmed stem

Zingiber officinale Rosc.

Zingiberaceae

Zinjible

stomachache

Chewing rhizome

Table 2

Multiple medicinal plants treatment with parts used and preparation

Species

Family

Local name

Use(s)

Parts used and preparation

1

Pavonia urens Cav.

Malvaceae

Ablalit

'sinfete wesib' (impotence)

Root powder taken with tella (local beverage) orally

2

Asparagus africanus Lam.

Asparagaceae

Set Kest

  

3

Ferrula communis L.

Apiacae

Dog (Ramiron)

  

4

Clerodendrum myricoides (Hochst.) Vatke

Verbenaceae

Misrich

  

1

Carissa spinarum L.

Apocynaceae

Agam

evil eye

Sprinkling root powder on burning charcoal and inhaling smoke

2

Capparis tomentosa Lam.

Capparidaceae

Gumero

  

3

Verbascum sinaiticum Benth.

Scrophulariaceae

Daba Keded

  

4

Achyranthes aspera L.

Amaranthaceae

Telenzje

  

5

Justicia schimperiana (Hochst. ex A. Nees) T. Anders

Acanthaceae

Sensel (Smiza)

  

1

Carissa spinarum L.

Apocynaceae

Agam

evil eye

Sprinkling root powder on burning charcoal and smoke inhaled

2

Capparis tomentosa Lam.

Capparidaceae

Gumero

  

3

Asparagus africanus Lam.

Asparagaceae

Set Kest

  

4

Clausena anisata (Willd.) Benth

Rutaceae

Limchi

  

5

Draceana steudeneri Engl.

Dracaenaceae

Etse Patos

  

6

Justicia schimperiana (Hochst. ex A. Nees) T. Anders

Acanthaceae

Senel

  

7

Echinops kebericho Mesfin

Asteraceae

Kebercho

  

8

Ruta chalepensis L.

Rutaceae

Tena Adam

  

9

Allium sativum L.

Alliaceae

Nech Shnkurt

  

1

Carissa spinarum L.

Apocynaceae

Agam

evil eye

Root paste with water taken orally

2

Capparis tomentosa Lam.

Capparidaceae

Gumero

  

3

Clausena anisata (Willd.) Benth

Rutaceae

Limchi

  

1

Croton marcostachyus Del.

Euphorbiaceae

Bissana

stomachache disorder

Leaves, root and seeds boiled in butter taken orally

2

Solanum indicum L.

Solanaceae

Nech Embuay

  

3

Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter

Poaceae

Tef

  

1

Brucea antidysenterica J. F. Mill.

Simaroubaceae

Aballo (Waginos)

'chiffea'

Dressing root paste with honey

2

Cucumis ficifolius A. Rich.

Cucurbitaceous

Yemidir Embuay

  

1

Brucea antidysenterica J. F. Mill.

Simaroubaceae

Aballo

craziness

Bathing with crushed fresh leaves and root

2

Podocarpus gracilis

Podocarpaceae

Zigba

  

The number of ethnomedicinally important plant species documented in Zegie Peninsula was 67. These species belong to 64 genera and 44 families. The genera Asteraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae and Solanaceae were families with four species each followed by Malvaceae with three species and, Apocynaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Dracaenaceae, Moraceae, Rhamnaceae and Rutaceae, each contributing two species.

The most frequently utilized plant part was the underground part (root/rhizome/bulb = 42%) (Table 4). In studies conducted in Ethiopia, root (58.3%) is one of the most extensively used plant part in preparation of traditional herbal medicine [11]. In this study, herbs are used predominantly (52%, Fig. 2) as in most part of Ethiopia (34.8%) [27, 28].
Table 4

Frequency of plant parts used for the preparation of remedies

Plant parts used

Number of medicinal plant species

Percentage

Leaf

53

37%

Root

58

40%

Flower

10

7%

Leaf/Stem

4

3%

Leaf/Root

3

2%

Bark

6

4%

Latex

4

3%

Rhizome

1

1%

Bulb

2

1%

Seed

1

1%

Stem

2

1%

Whole

1

1%

https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-3-12/MediaObjects/13002_2006_Article_78_Fig2_HTML.jpg
Figure 2

Percentages of habits of medicinal plants.

The largest number of remedies was used to treat gastrointestinal disorder and parasites (22.8%) followed by external injuries and parasites (22.1%), rabies and internal diseases (17.9%). The proportion of remedies used for treatment of gastrointestinal related disease are also high in most studies conducted in Ethiopia, accounting for 35% compared to other type of remedies that were compiled as being used against human aliments [28]. The rest were used to treat swelling and cancer (8.3%), evil eye and devil sickness (6.2%), sensorial disease (6.2%), venereal disease and impotence (4.8%), 'mich' and febrile diseases (4.1%), respiratory and throat infection (4.1%), and snake bite (3.4%). Multiple plants treatments with different combinations of medicinal plants were used to treat seven external and internal illnesses. Seventy eight percent of the multiple plants treatments were roots and were prepared by mixing the ingredients with different proportions. Three were used to treat evil eye and one of the poly-herbal remedy had nine medicinal plants (Table 3).
Table 3

Medicinal plants of veterinary importance with parts used and preparation

Species

Family

Local name

Habit

Use(s)

Preparation

Achyranthes aspera L.

Amaranthaceae

Telenzje

Herb

blood clotting

Dressing with crushed leaves

Calpurnia aurea (Alt.) Benth.

Fabaceae

Digita

Tree

dysentery

Leaf paste mixed with water is applied orally

Croton marcostachyus Del.

Euphorbiaceae

Bissana

Tree

'wef beshita'

Making small opening and inserting crushed leaves with salt and soot in the opening

Cyphostemma junceum (Webb) Decoings ex Wild & Drummond

Vitaceae

Etse Zewe

Climber

snake bite

Crushed fresh root is applied orally

Ficus thonningii Blume.

Moraceae

Chibha

Tree

stomach disorder

Crushed fresh root is applied orally

Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst.

Lamiaceae

Dama Kesse

Shrub

'mich'

Juice of leaves with Dagusa injera is applied orally

Phytolacca dodecandra L'Herit

Phytolaceae

Endod (Male)

Shrub

'wef beshita'

Crushed fresh leaves is applied orally

Plumbago zeylanicum L.

Plumbaginaceae

Amira

Herb

swelling

Dressing with root paste

Route and dosage of administration

The administration routes are oral (51.4%), external (38.6%), nasal (7.9%), and through the ear (2.1%). The remedies are taken with water, skimmed milk, honey, tef injera (local thin bread made from tef, Eragrostis tef) and boiled coffee. The measurements used to determine the dosages are not standardized and depend on the age and physical appearance of the patient, sociocultural explanation of the illness, diagnosis and experience of individual herbalist [5, 11]. Children are given less than adults, such as, one fourth of a coffee cup (2 ml to 5 ml), whereas, an adult is given up to one glass (approximately 250 ml) depending on the type of illness and treatment. The quantity of plant part used is measured by number of leaves, seeds and fruits, and length of root. For example, seven young leaves of Justicia schimperiana are used to treat ascaris, seven seeds of Calpurnia aurea are used to treat diarrhea and about 2 cm of root of Dorstenia barnimiana is used to treat cancer. The frequency of treatment depends on the type of illness and severity. In preparation of poly-herbal medicines, each medicinal plant is dried, powdered and stored separately, and the amount taken from each for any given disease varies.

Veterinary Important Traditional Medicines

Eight species of medicinal plants have veterinary importance. The plant parts used were leaf (62.5%) and root (37.5%). These are used as remedy for seven internal and external illnesses (Table 3). The number of veterinary important medicinal plants is low compared to those areas with culture of cattle raring. Giday and Ameni [29] documented 83 medicinal plants that are used to treat 37 types of livestock aliments. In our study area, people are not accustomed to cattle raring and, therefore, have low knowledge of veterinary important medicinal plants.

Informants consensus and Species Use Value

The medicinal plants that are presumed to be effective in treating a certain disease have higher ICF values. Table 5 shows disease categories with relatively higher ICF values: 'mich' and febrile diseases (0.80), evil eye and satan beshita (devil sickness) (0.70), and respiratory and throat infections (0.64). This may indicate high incidence of these types of diseases in the region, possibly due to the poor socio-economic and sanitary conditions of the people. The categories of diseases that are only treated by the healers and those that are rare have lower ICF values. These include swelling and cancer (38), and sensorial disease (0.25). The medicinal plants that are widely used by the local people have higher FL values than those that are less popular. On the other hand, medicinal plants that are known as remedies of a single aliment have 100% fidelity level than those that are used as remedies for more than one type of aliment. For example, Plumbago zeylanicum is used to treat cancer, respiratory infection, swelling, and rheumatic pain and its FL value is 40% (Table 6).
Table 5

ICF values of category of aliments

Category

Species

(%) All Species

Use citations

(%) All use citations

ICF value

'Mich' and febrile diseases

6

9%

26

11%

0.80

Evil eye and satan beshita

13

20%

41

18%

0.70

Respiratory and throat infections

6

9%

15

7%

0.64

Rabies and internal disease

17

26%

45

20%

0.64

Gastrointestinal disorder and parasites infections

23

35%

60

26%

0.63

Venereal disease and impotence

7

11%

13

6%

0.50

External injuries and parasites infections

19

29%

33

14%

0.44

Snake bite

4

6%

6

3%

0.40

Swelling and cancer

9

14%

14

6%

0.38

Sensorial disease

4

6%

5

2%

0.25

Table 6

FL value of medicinal plants

Species and Family

Local name

Therapeutical uses

Fidelity level (FL)

Carissa spinarum L. Apocynaceae

Agam

evil eye

100%

Clausena anisata (Willd.) Benth Rutaceae

Limbche

evil eye

100%

Acokanthera schimperi (A. DC.) Schweinf. Apocynaceae

Yemerz Enchet

'kusil, yetat merz'

100%

Calpurnia aurea (Alt.) Benth. Fabaceae

Digita

diarrhea

100%

Ficus thonningii Blume. Moraceae

Chibha

'ayn bar teza'

100%

Cyphostemma junceum (Webb) Decoings ex Wild & Drummond Vitaceae

Etse Zewe

snake bite

100%

Sansevieria erythraeae Mattei Dracaenaceae

Algeti/chiret

'sinfete wesib'

100%

Zehneria scabra Asteraceae

Hareg Ressa (Este Sabek)

'mich', 'kintarot'

86%

Stephania abyssinica (Dillon. & A. Rich.) Walp. Menispermaceae

Kib Kitel/Etse Eyesus

stomachache/'kuruba', babies' sickness

80%

Phytolacca dodecandra L'Herit Phytolaceae

Endod

'wef beshita', 'kusil'

75%

Verbena officinalis L. Verbenaceae

Atuch

stomachache, evil eye, snake bite

73%

Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst. Lamiaceae

Dama Kesse

'mich', 'kusil'

67%

Croton marcostachyus Del. Euphorbiaceae

Bissana

gastrointestinal disorder, 'wef beshita'

63%

Justicia schimperiana (Hochst. ex A. Nees) T. Anders Acanthaceae

Sensel (Smiza)

evil eye, 'wef beshita', 'kuruba'

63%

Capparis tomentosa Lam. Capparidaceae

Gumero

evil eye, 'satan beshita, 'tesbo beshita'

57%

Cucumis ficifolius A. Rich. Curcurbitaceae

Yemidir Embuay

stomachache, 'kuruba', 'chiffea', 'majrat getr', 'nessr', rabies, 'wef beshita'

50%

Plumbago zeylanicum L. Plumbaginaceae

Amira

coughing, 'kurtimat', cancer, swelling

40%

Dorstenia barnimiana Schweinf. Moraceae

Work Bemeda

cancer, rabies, syphilis, 'wef beshita', 'yeahya kintarot', 'mushuro'

22%

Declarations

Acknowledgements

We are very much grateful to all the local informants and healers who shared their knowledge on the use of medicinal plants with us. Without their contribution, this study would have been impossible. We would also like to thank the Associate Vice President Office for Research and Publication, Addis Ababa University for the grant to conduct this study.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Endod and Other Medicinal Plants Unit, Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University

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Copyright

© Teklehaymanot and Giday; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.