An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in Wonago Woreda, SNNPR, Ethiopia

  • Fisseha Mesfin1,

    Affiliated with

    • Sebsebe Demissew1 and

      Affiliated with

      • Tilahun Teklehaymanot2Email author

        Affiliated with

        Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine20095:28

        DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-5-28

        Received: 1 May 2009

        Accepted: 12 October 2009

        Published: 12 October 2009

        Abstract

        Background

        Medicinal plants are the integral part of the variety of cultures in Ethiopia and have been used over many centuries. Hence, the aim of this study is to document the medicinal plants in the natural vegetation and home gardens in Wonago Woreda, Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPR).

        Materials and methods

        Thirty healers were selected to collect data on management of medicinal plants using semi-structured interview, group discussion, and field observation. The distribution of plant species in the study areas was surveyed, and preference ranking, direct matrix ranking, priority ranking of factors and Informant consensus factor (ICF) were calculated.

        Results

        The informants categorized the vegetation into five community types based on plant density and associated landform: 'Raqqa', 'Hakka cadanaba', 'Mancchha', 'Bullukko', and 'Wodae gido'. 155 plant species were collected from the natural vegetation and 65 plant species from the home gardens ('Gattae Oduma'). Seventy-two plant species were documented as having medicinal value: Sixty-five (71%) from natural vegetation and 27 (29%) from home gardens. Forty-five (62%) were used for humans, 15(21%) for livestock and 13(18%) for treating both human and livestock ailments: 35 (43.2%) were Shrubs, 28(34.5%) herbs, 17 (20.9%) trees and 1(1.2%) climbers. The root (35.8%) was the most commonly used plant part. The category: malaria, fever and headache had the highest 0.82 ICF. Agricultural expansion (24.4%) in the area was found to be the main threat for medicinal plants followed by fire wood collection (18.8%). Peoples' culture and spiritual beliefs somehow helped in the conservation of medicinal plants.

        Conclusion

        Traditional healers still depend largely on naturally growing plant species and the important medicinal plants are under threat. The documented medicinal plants can serve as a basis for further studies on the regions medicinal plants knowledge and for future phytochemical and pharmacological studies.

        Introduction

        Ethiopians have used traditional medicines for many centuries, the use of which has become an integral part of the different cultures in Ethiopia. The indigenous peoples of different localities in the country have developed their own specific knowledge of plant resource uses, management and conservation [1].

        Traditional remedies are sometimes the only source of therapeutics for nearly 80% of human population and 90% of livestock in Ethiopia of which 95% are plant origin [2]. The majority of the population that lives in the rural and the poor people in urban areas rely mainly on traditional medicines to meet their primary health care needs.

        In most scenarios, the traditional knowledge in Ethiopia is passed verbally from generation to generation and valuable information can be lost whenever a traditional medical practitioner passes without conveying his traditional medicinal plants knowledge. In addition, the loss of valuable medicinal plants due to population pressure, agricultural expansion and deforestation is widely reported by different workers [3, 4]. As a result, the need to perform ethnobotanical researches and to document the medicinal plants and the associated indigenous knowledge must be an urgent task [5, 6].

        The studies conducted on the traditional medicinal plants in Ethiopia are limited when compared with the multiethnic cultural diversity and the diverse flora of Ethiopia. Thus, this study was initiated to document the medicinal plants in the natural vegetation and home gardens in Wonago Woreda, which assume that the data could be used as a basis for further studies on medicinal plants in Wonago Woreda and for future phytochemical and pharmacological studies.

        Materials and methods

        Study sites

        Wonago Woreda (N 6° 20' and E 38° 19') is located 380 km from Addis Ababa in Gedeo Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPR) and bordering with Oromia to the west and northwest, Yirgachefee to the south and southeast, Dilla to the north and Bule to the east. It is approximately 248 sq. km (24,790 ha) and comprises of 19 Kebeles (Fig. 1).
        http://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-5-28/MediaObjects/13002_2009_Article_158_Fig1_HTML.jpg
        Figure 1

        Location of Wonago Woreda in Gedeo zone; Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPR).

        The 2005 census indicates that Wonago Woreda has a total population of 162,663 of which 78,649 (48.3%) are males and 84,014 (51.6%) are females. The population density of the Woreda is 702 persons per km2 at a national growth rate of 1.07 percent. Seventy four percent of the population in the Woreda are the Gedeo people.

        As the agricultural sector is the dominant means of livelihood for the majority of Wonago Woreda people, out of the total of 24,790 hectares of land in the Woreda, 22,871 hectares are known to have potential for agriculture. Annual crops cover 5.03 percent; perennial crops 84.77 percent, uncultivable land 0.65 percent and others are 3.52 percent. It has three main agro-climatic zones with the topography ranging from wide flat valley bottoms to steep mountain slopes. The rainfall distribution of the study area is bimodal. The main rainy season is from June to September ('Kiremt' or Mahar') and the short rainy season is from February to April ('Belg'). The average annual rainfall is 107.72 mm and, the mean annual average temperature of the Woreda is 20°C (Fig. 2)
        http://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-5-28/MediaObjects/13002_2009_Article_158_Fig2_HTML.jpg
        Figure 2

        Climatogram of the study area from 1996 to 2005 at Kotty Weather Station, Wonago Woreda in Gedeo zone. Source: National Meteorological Service Agency.

        The study was conducted in ten kebeles (farmers' associations) in Wonago Woreda, SNNPR from November 1, 2006 to December 3, 2006. Prior to ethnobotanical data collection, discussions were made with elders and local authorities to select the kebeles where traditional healers were found. The kebeles were selected based on availability of traditional healers, and on the recommendations of elders and local authorities in the Wonago Woreda: 'Bankookoto', 'Balebukisa', 'Deko', 'Halemo', 'Haseharo', 'Karasodity', 'Mokonisa', 'Sokicha', 'Sugale', and 'Tumata cherecha'(Fig. 1).

        Ethnobotanical data collection

        Thirty traditional healers (22 males and 8 females) were selected from Gedeo people in the Wonago Woreda based on the recommendation from elders and local authorities (Development Agents and Kebele administration leaders). The ages of the healers were between 35 years and 75 years. A brief group discussion was made with the informants at each kebele prior to ethnobotanical data collection to get their consent and to explain to them that their cooperation is a valuable contribution to the documentation of the traditional medicinal plants of the Wonago Woreda. Semi-structured interview, group discussion, and field observation were employed to collect data on knowledge and management of medicinal plants [79]. The group discussions were conducted to elaborate the methods of preparation, administration and conservation of the medicinal plants. Interviews were conducted in "Gedeoffa" language with the help of local translator. During the study period, each informant was visited two to three times in order to confirm the reliability of the ethnobotanical information. The responses that were not in harmony with each other were rejected.

        Plant specimens' collections and identifications

        The reported medicinal plants were collected from natural vegetation and home gardens during the field walks and trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers were listed. Voucher specimens were collected, pressed and deposited in the National Herbarium of Addis Ababa University (AAU). The plants identification was performed both in the field, and at the National Herbarium of AAU [1016].

        Data analysis

        A descriptive statistical methods, percentage and frequency were used to analyze the ethnobotanical data on reported medicinal plants and associated indigenious knowledge.

        Preference ranking was computed to assess the degree of effectiveness of certain medicinal plants against most prevalent diseases in the area. Priority ranking of factors perceived as threats to medicinal plants based on their level of destructive effects (values 1-6 were given: 1 is the least destructive threat, and 6 is the most destructive threat) and Direct matrix ranking on uses perceived as threats to medicinal plants were conducted for multipurpose medicinal plants that were commonly reported by healers [7, 9].

        The Informant consensus factor (ICF) was calculated for each category to identify the agreements of the informants on the reported cures for the group of diseases. The ICF was calculated as follows: number of use citations in each category (nur) minus the number of species used (nt), and divided by the numbers of use citations in each category minus one [17].
        http://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-5-28/MediaObjects/13002_2009_Article_158_Equa_HTML.gif

        Results

        Local categories of vegetation

        The local communities categorized the vegetation of the study area into five types based on plant density and associated landform.
        1. I.

          'Raqqa' refers to densely forested land. Currently, this type of vegetation has declined in the study area because of degradation by human activities, over grazing, and climate changes.

           
        2. II.

          'Hakka Cadanaba' refers to vegetation growing in marshy or water logged areas often characterized by salty soil. Plant species such as Phoenix reclinata and Cyperus spp. were more frequent.

           
        3. III.

          'Mancchha' refers to a bare or with poor vegetation with some types of herbs and grasses appearing only during the rainy season.

           
        4. IV.

          'Bullukko' refers to the heterogeneous mixture of shrubs and grass communities not suitable for agriculture.

           
        5. V.

          'Wodae Gido' refers to wooded and under-growing herbaceous vegetation growing along riversides. Plant species like Spatodea nilotica, Erythrina brucei, Ficus spp. and Arundo donax were common.

           

        Plant species in the natural vegetation of the study area

        155 plant species were collected from the natural vegetation, which were distributed among 63 families and 136 genera. The leading family was Asteraceae with 18 species, followed by Fabaceae with 12 species, Euphorbiaceae with 9 species, Poaceae, Solanaceae and Rosaceae each with 6 species and Myrtaceae with 5 species. Fifty-seven (37%) were herbs, 53 (34%) were shrubs, 39 (25%) were trees, 5 (3%) were climbers, and one (1%) was epiphyte [see Additional file 1].

        Forty-two percent of 155 plant species were medicinal plants. They were distributed among 39 families and 63 genera. The leading family was Asteraceae with 7 species, followed by Euphorbiaceae with 6 species, Fabaceae with 5 species, Solanaceae with 4 species: 31 (49%) were shrubs, 17(27%) were herbs, and 15 (24%) were trees.

        Plant diversity of the 'Gattae Oduma' (Home garden)

        In the 'Gattae Oduma' (Home garden), the farmers grew diverse plant species with known uses. The number of plants recorded represents 65 species that belong to 33 families and 57 genera. In terms of species composition, Solanaceae had 6 species followed by Poaceae with 5 species, Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae and Rosaceae each with 4 species and Brassicaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Rutaceae each with 3 species (Table 1).
        Table 1

        List of plant species in home garden in the study area, Wonago Woreda (Habit: T-tree, Sh-shrub, H-herb, and Cl-climber. Uses: Sp-spice, F-food, M-medicine, CI- cash income, Fn-fence, Or-ornamental, and St-stimulant)

        Family

        Plant species

        Local name

        Habit

        Use

        Voucher No.

        Acanthaceae

        Justicia schimperiana (Hochst.ex Nees) T. Anders

        Dhumuga

        S

        M, Fn

        FM30

        Alliaceae

        Allium cepa L.

        Kagelcha Sunkurtae

        H

        F

        FM14

        Alliaceae

        Allium sativum L.

        Dimoxxa sunkurtae

        H

        F, M

        FM15

        Anacardiaceae

        Mangifera indica L.

        Mango

        T

        F, CI

        FM61

        Anacardiaceae

        Rhus vulgaris Meikle

        Suggutae

        Sh

        M

        FM57

        Annonaceae

        Annona squamosa L.

        Gishta

        S

        F

        FM18

        Apiaceae

        Daucus carota L.

        Karoti

        H

        F

        FM36

        Araceae

        Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott

        Godarre

        H

        F, M

        FM43

        Arecaceae

        Phoenix reclinata Jacq.

        Maxxaae

        T

        Or

        FM66

        Asteraceae

        Artemisia abyssinica Sch.Bip. ex A. Rich.

        Sugetieae

        H

        M

        FM17

        Asteraceae

        Artemisia afra Jack. ex Wild

        Chugughee

        H

        M

        FM38

        Asteraceae

        Helianthus annuus L.

        Suufii

        H

        F, M

        FM65

        Asteraceae

        Vernonia amygdalina Del.

        Ebicha

        S

        M

        FM31

        Brassicaceae

        Brassica carinata A. Br.

        Shaanna

        H

        F

        FM23

        Brassicaceae

        Brassica oleracea L.

        Faragae shaanna

        H

        F

        FM70

        Brassicaceae

        Lepidium sativum L.

        Faxxoo

        H

        M

        FM20

        Bromelianceae

        Ananas comosus L.

        Annanassae

        H

        F

        FM45

        Caricaceae

        Carica papaya L.

        Papaya

        T

        F, M

        FM46

        Celastraceae

        Catha edulis (Vahl) Forssk. ex Endl.

        Chatae

        S

        M, CI

        FM19

        Celastraceae

        Maytenus senegalensis (Lam.) Excell

        Shekko

        Sh

        M

        FM54

        Chenopodaceae

        Beta vulgaris L.

        Dammooxxa

        H

        F

        FM24

        Convolvulaceae

        Ipomeoea batatas L.

        Boynnaae

        C

        F,

        FM41

        Cucurbitaceae

        Cucurbita pepo L.

        Buqe

        Cl

        F, M

        FM16

        Dioscoreaceae

        Dioscorea praehensilis Benth.

        Qoco

        Cl

        F

        FM28

        Dracaenaceae

        Dracaena steudneri Engl.

        Afarfartu

        T

        M, Or

        FM37

        Euphorbiaceae

        Euphorbia candelabrum Kostshy

        Addama

        Sh

        Fn

        FM48

        Euphorbiaceae

        Euphorbia pulcherrima (R. Grah.) Willd.

        Ababa

        S

        Or

        FM40

        Euphorbiaceae

        Ricinus communis L.

        Qobo

        S

        Sp, CI

        FM71

        Fabaceae

        Cajanus cajan L.

        Atarra

        H

        F

        FM44

        Fabaceae

        Glycine max (L.) Merr.

        Atara

        S

        F

        FM55

        Fabaceae

        Phaseolus lunatus L.

        Coma

        Cl

        F

        FM34

        Fabaceae

        Vicia faba L.

        Baqqalleo

        H

        F

        FM59

        Flacourtiaceae

        Dovyalis abyssinica (A. Rich.) Warb

        Akuku

        S

        Fn, Or

        FM13

        Lamiaceae

        Ocimum basilicum L.

        Basobila

        H

        F

        FM67

        Lamiaceae

        Ocimum lamiifolium Benth.

        Damakase

        H

        M

        FM52

        Lamiaceae

        Otostegia tomentosa A.Rich

        Tunjuti

        S

        Fn

        FM63

        Lamiaceae

        Plectranthus edulis Vatke

        Dinich-Oromo

        H

        F

        FM60

        Lauraceae

        Persea americana Mill.

        Abokado

        T

        F, CI

        FM75

        Malvaceae

        Gossypium herbaceum L.

        Jirbi

        S

        M, CI

        FM29

        Moringaceae

        Moringa stenopetala L.

        Shifferaw

        T

        M, Or

        FM62

        Musaceae

        Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman

        Warqo

        Sh

        M, O

        FM5

        Musaceae

        Musa paradisiaca L.

        Musi

        H

        F, Or

        FM33

        Poaceae

        Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter

        Xxaffae

        H

        F

        FM22

        Poaceae

        Hordeum vulgare L.

        Dinnaae

        H

        F

        FM21

        Poaceae

        Saccharum officinarum L.

        Shunkora

        H

        F, CI

        FM72

        Poaceae

        Sorghum vulgare Pers.

        Agadae

        H

        F

        FM35

        Poaceae

        Zea mays L.

        Beedeella

        H

        F, CI

        FM58

        Punicaceae

        Punica granatum L.

        Romanoo

        S

        F

        FM68

        Rhamnaceae

        Rhamnus prinoides L'Herit.

        Geshae

        S

        CI

        FM47

        Rosaceae

        Malus sylvestris Mill

         

        T

        F

        FM53

        Rosaceae

        Prunus persica (L.) Batsch

        Kokae

        S

        F

        FM32

        Rosaceae

        Rosa abyssinica Lindley

        Xigeradao

        Sh

        Or

        FM6

        Rosaceae

        Rubus steudneri Shweinf.

        Engorrei

        Sh

        F, Or

        FM74

        Rubiaceae

        Coffea arabica L.

        Buno

        S

        M, CI

        FM1

        Rutaceae

        Citrus limon (L.) Burm.f.

        Lomae

        S

        F, M

        FM64

        Rutaceae

        Citrus medica L.

        Trungo

        S

        F

        FM27

        Rutaceae

        Ruta chalepensis L.

        Ciladami

        H

        M

        FM50

        Solanaceae

        Capsicum annum L.

        Miximixo

        H

        F, M

        FM25

        Solanaceae

        Capsicum frutescens L.

        Bereberae

        H

        F

        FM26

        Solanaceae

        Datura stramonium L.

        Atsefareceae

        H

        M

        FM47

        Solanaceae

        Lycopersicon esculentum Mill

        Timatimi

        H

        F

        FM42

        Solanaceae

        Nicotiana tabacum L.

        Tambo

        H

        CI, M

        FM56

        Solanaceae

        Solanum americanum Miller

        Dinicha

        Sh

        F

        FM73

        Zingebraceae

        Aframomum corrorima (Braun) Jansen.

        Okkoshae

        H

        Sp

        FM39

        Zingiberaceae

        Zingiber officinale Roscoe

        Jaanjiibeello

        H

        F, M

        FM51

        Out of the Sixty-five 'Gattae Oduma' plant species, 31(48%) were herbs, 23(35%) were shrubs, 7 (11%) were trees and 4 (6%) were climbers. The home gardens' flora were composed of 25 (38%) food, 10(15%) medicinal and 30(46%) other useful plant species. Majority of the plant species in the home gardens (48%) provided at least two of the uses listed in Table 2.
        Table 2

        Service categories of home garden plants ('Gattae Oduma') in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        Service categories

        No. species

        % of the total species

        Cash income

        1

        2%

        Cash income, Stimulant

        1

        2%

        Fence

        2

        3%

        Fence and Ornament

        1

        2%

        Food

        25

        38%

        Food and Cash income

        4

        6%

        Food and Medicine

        8

        12%

        Food and Ornament

        2

        3%

        Medicine

        10

        15%

        Medicine and Cash income

        3

        5%

        Medicine and Fence

        1

        2%

        Medicine and Ornament

        3

        5%

        Ornament

        3

        5%

        Spice

        1

        2%

        Spice and Cash income

        1

        2%

        Medicinal plants

        Medicinal plants used to treat human and livestock diseases

        The highest medicinal plant knowledge acquisition by the healers in this study site was from parents or close relatives (91%) followed by self trial and error method (9%). The healers have a very high intention to keep their traditional knowledge secrete and less than 2% of them were ready to transfer their knowledge on incentive bases.

        Seventy-two plant species distributed into 48 families and 70 genera were documented as having medicinal value in the study area. Sixty-five (71%) of the medicinal plants were collected from natural vegetation and 27 (29%) from home gardens. Of these 45(62%) were used as human medicines (Table 3), 15(21%) as livestock medicines (Table 4) and 13(18%) were used for treating both human and livestock diseases (Table 5).
        Table 3

        List of medicinal plants for treating human diseases in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        Families

        Scientific name

        Local name

        Habit

        Preparation and application

        Diseases treated

        Voucher Number

        Acanthaceae

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

        Dummiuggae

        Sh

        Pounded fresh/dry leaves is concocted with bark of Croton macrostachyus is taken orally for three days.

        Intestinal parasites

        FM30

        Alliaceae

        Allium sativum L.

        'Sunkurtae'

        H

        Fresh or dry fruits is Chewed and orally

        Malaria

        FM15

        Apiaceae

        Foeniculum vulgare Mill

        Melloo

        H

        Pounded dry/fresh root is taken with coffee or tea as drink.

        Abdominal pain

        FM193

        Araceae

        Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott.

        Godarre

        H

        Crushed/pounded dry/fresh concocted with Zingiber officinale rhizome is taken with coffee as drink.

        Diarrhea

        FM43

            

        Fine powder of plant part mixed with water and mixture drunk or thick paste applied to affected part

        Trachoma

         

        Asclepidaceae

        Gomphocarpus purpurascens A. Rich

        Mexxino

        Sh

        Pound fresh/dry root bark with water is taken as a drink

        Febrile illness

        FM142

        Asclepidaceae

        Kanahala laniflora (Forssk.) R. Br.

        Wundiffo

        Sh

        Pounded fresh/dry root concocted with roots of Croton macrostachys and Senna occidentalis is taken orally

        Amoebas

        FM136

            

        Pounded fresh/dry root concocted with roots of Croton macrostachys and Senna occidentalis and mixed with butter is taken orally

        Bronchitis

         
            

        Fresh/dry root powder mixed with honey is taken orally before breakfast for three days.

        Hepatitis

         

        Asparagaceae

        Asparagus africanus L.

        'Uffae '

        Sh

        Powder of dry root with butter is applied on wound

        Wound

        FM206

        Asteraceae

        Artemisia abyssinica Sch.Bip. ex A. Rich

        Sugetieae

        H

        Crushed or pounded fresh stem with butter is applied topically

        Eye infection

        FM17

        Asteraceae

        Artemisia afra Jack. ex Wild

        Chugughee

        H

        Crushed or pounded fresh or dry leaves are boiled in water and the filtrate is taken hot; orally

        Abdominal pain

        FM38

            

        Fresh leaves are chewed and taken orally

        Headache

         
            

        Powdered fresh/dry leaves nixed with butter is taken with coffee orally before breakfast for three days

        Malaria

         

        Asteraceae

        Carduus leptacanthus Fresen.

        Guccino

        H

        Powdered dry stem mixed with butter is taken with coffee or tea.

        Ascariasis

        FM86

            

        Crushed/pounded dry stem concocted with Vernonia amygdalina leaves mixed with water is taken orally

        Haemorrhoid

         

        Asteraceae

        Helianthus annuus L.

        Suffae

        H

        Mix the powder with water and drink

        Food poison

        FM65

        Asteraceae

        Vernonia amygdalina Del.

        Ebicha

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded and mix with little water then drink for five days.

        Diarrhea

        FM31

            

        Wash the patient body with the plant part and drink for three days.

          

        Asteraceae

        Vernonia auriculifera Hiern

        Dangireto

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded and mix with cold water, one cup of the filtrate is given for adult, one-half of the cup for children for three days

        Snake poison

        FM144

        Asteraceae

        Xantium strumarium L.

        Dehanekayae

        H

        The plant part squeezing it through clean locally made cloth for five days on affected part or wash the affected part for both diseases.

        Skin infection

        FM9

        Boraginaceae

        Cynoglossum lanceolatum Forsk.

        Korchibae

        H

        Handful root is crushed by hand, small amount of cold water is added to squash, the mixture is inhaled and few drops are drunk.

        Fertility & abnormal growth

        FM114

            

        Crushed, pounded and mix with water and drink.

        Mental problems

         

        Boragnaceae

        Cordia africana Lam.

        Waddissa

        T

        Powdered dry root bark is sprinkled on burning charcoal and smoke is inhaled covered by cloth

        Evil eye

        FM167

        Brassicaceae

        Lepidium sativum L.

        Feaxxo

        H

        Dry seed powder is taken as with coffee as drink

        Intestinal parasites

        FM20

            

        Pounded seeds mixed with Allium sativum bulbs and honey is taken orally for five days before breakfast After each dose, one glass of melted butter is recommended for immediate recovery.

        Malaria

         
            

        Dry seed powder with pounded seed of Ocimum lamiifolium is taken with coffee as drink

        'Mich'

         
            

        Dry seed powder with pounded seed of Ocimum lamiifolium is taken with coffee as drink

        Headache

         

        Caricaceae

        Carica papaya L.

        Papaya

        T

        Chewed and swallowed fresh seed

        Amoebas

        FM46

            

        Chew and swallow seed

        Intestinal parasite

         

        Caryophyllaceae

        Stellaria sennii Chiov.

         

        H

        Decoction root

        Hepatitis

        FM188

        Celastraceae

        Catha edulis (Vahl.) Forssk ex Endl.

        Chatae

        Sh

        Crushed/pounded fresh stem concocted with leaves of Vernonia amygdalina is boiled and one glass of the filtrate is taken orally

        Urine retention

        FM19

        Celastraceae

        Maytenus senegalensis (Lam.) Excell

        Shekko

        Sh

        Powdered fresh/dry seed with water or butter is taken with coffee or tea as drink for five days.

        Epilepsy

        FM54

            

        Powdered fresh/dry seed with Ocimum lamiifolium seed is take with coffee as drink

        Headache

         

        Cucurbitaceae

        Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl.

        Botto

        H

        Ripe fruits including seeds are immersed in water for overnight; the water is taken orally in the morning before breakfast.

        Gonorrhea

        FM205

        Cucurbitaceae

        Momordica foetida Schumach

        Yubarrae

        Sh

        Crushed/pounded fresh/dry root mixed with Allium sativum bulb is taken orally before breakfast for three days.

        Bronchitis

        FM108

            

        Infusion of fresh/dry root powder is taken orally

        Food poison

         

        Dracaenaceae

        Dracaena steudneri Engl.

        Afrafartu

        T

        Powder of dry root is applied to wound.

        Wound

        FM37

        Euphorbiaceae

        Croton macrostachyus Del.

        Bissano

        T

        Crushed/pounded fresh/dry leaves boiled with water is concocted with Allium sativum (bulb) roasted with butter and left over night outside home is taken orally at the morning

        Malaria

        FM162

            

        Rubbing affected part by exudates of old leaves

        Ringworm

         

        Euphorbiaceae

        Euphorbia candelabrum Kostshy

        Addama

        Sh

        Milky latex from plant mixed with roots powder of Ruta chalepensis and paste applied to affected area

        Ringworm

        FM48

        Euphorbiaceae

        Euphorbia tirucalli L.

        Kinchibae

        Sh

        Rubbing affected part with crushed fresh/dry root concocted with crushed leaves of Coffea arabica

        'Kintarot'

        FM40

        Euphorbiaceae

        Ricinus communis L.

        Gulloo

        Sh

        Crushed/pounded leaves with coffee, tea or milk is taken as a drunk before copulation

        impotency

        FM71

        Euphorbiaceae

        Tragia cinerea (Pax) Gilbert & Radcl. Smith

        Alebelabitae

        H

        Fine powder of plant part mixed with butter and drink before sexual intercourse with his partner.

        'Kintarot'

        FM87

            

        Fine powder of plant part mix with honey and drink before sexual intercourse

          

        Fabaceae

        Millettia ferruginea (Hochst.) Bark

        Berberae

        T

        Fresh/dry fruits powder with butter is applied topically

        Skin infection

        FM190

        Fabaceae

        Senna occidentalis (L.) Link

        Assenmeka

        H

        fresh root powder mixed with water is taken as a drink for three days

        Bleeding nose

        FM103

            

        Fresh root powder with butter is taken as a drink for before breakfast three days.

        Excessive menstruation

         
            

        Fresh root powder with honey is taken as a drink for before copulation

        Gonorrhea

         
            

        Chewing and swallowing fresh root

        Tonsillitis

         

        Lamiaceae

        Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst. Ex Benth.

        Damakase

        H

        Pounded fresh leaves mixed with butter is taken with coffee as drink at the morning

        Cough

        FM52

        Lognaceae

        Buddleja polystachya Fresen

        Affarao

        Sh

        Infusion of crushed/pounded dry leaves is taken orally

        'Dingetegia'

        FM7

        Malvaceae

        Gossypium arboretum L.

        Jirbiae

        Sh

        Powdered dry root bark infusion is taken as drunk

        Lymphatic swelling

        FM29

        Malvaceae

        Sida schimperiana Hochst. ex A.Rich

        Gebresede

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded, and boiled with water and cooled for 2 hours and 2 glasses are served as a drink.

        Epilepsy

        FM170

        Meliaceae

        Trichilia dregeana Sond.

        Yumbarro

        T

        Concoction root bark

        Mental problems

        FM126

        Meliantaceae

        Bersama abyssinica Fresen

        Jejjebba

        Sh

        Crushed/pounded fresh root mixed with cold water is taken orally

        Bronchitis

        FM163

            

        Crushed/pounded fresh root concocted with leaves of Ruta chalepensis with water is taken orally

        Febrile illness

         

        Moraceae

        Ficus ovata Vahl

        Shollae

        T

        powder of dry fruits mixed with butter is applied after scratching the affected area

        Ringworm

        FM153

        Moringaceae

        Moringa stenopetala L.

        Sihferaw

        T

        Chewing and swallowing fresh leaves

        Vomiting

        FM62

        Musaceae

        Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman

        Warqo

        Sh

        Crushed/pounded fresh root with water is taken orally

        Abdominal pain

        FM5

            

        Crushed/pounded fresh root with water is taken orally

        Amoebic dysentery

         

        Myrsinaceae

        Embelia schimperi Vatke.

        Sharrengo

        Sh

        Crushed fresh root with water is taken as a drink for several days

        Leprosy

        FM122

        Myrtaceae

        Eucalyptus globules Labill

        D/barzafae

        T

        Inhalation of steam of young fresh leaves with stem before bedtime

        'Mich'

        FM150

        Phytolaceae

        Phytolacca dodecandra L'Herit

        Indoodae

        Sh

        Pounded fresh/dry leaves mixed with water is taken orally before breakfast for three days.

        Malaria

        FM176

        Podocarpaceae

        Podocarpus falcatus (Thunb.) Mirb.

        Zigbo

        T

        Fresh/dry root powder mixed with water is taken orally

        Febrile illness

        FM11

        Polygonaceae

        Rumex nepalensis Spreng.

        Dangago

        H

        Paste of fresh/dry stem powder with butter is applied topically

        Wound

        FM10

        Resedaceae

        Caylusea abyssinica (Fresen.) Fish. & Mey.

        Sheggitae

        H

        Crushed/pounded fresh/dry root water is taken orally

        Ascariasis

        FM131

        Rosaceae

        Hagenia abyssinica (Brucie.) J. F. Gmel

        Kossae

        T

        Mix the powder with honey and a little bit of water and then boil and drink before breakfast for five days.

        Ascariasis

        FM120

            

        Mix the powder with local 'tella' and leave for overnight and drink before breakfast for three days

          

        Rosaceae

        Prunus africana (Hook.F.) Kalkam

        T/kaka

        T

        Crushed/pounded dry root bark mixed with water is taken as a drink

        Ascariasis

        FM209

            

        Dry root powder concocted with Parthenium hysterophorus root powder is taken orally for three days.

        Gonorrhea

         

        Rubiaceae

        Coffea arabica L.

        Buno

        Sh

        Smoke inhalation of dried leaves and infusion of leaves is taken orally

        Vomiting

        FM1

        Rubiaceae

        Pentas schimperiana (A. Rich) Vatke

        Dibexxo

        Sh

        Fresh/dry root bark powder mixed with water is taken orally

        Epilepsy

        FM78

        Rutaceae

        Citrus limon (L.)Burm.F.

        Lomae

        Sh

        Chew and swallow fresh fruits

        Cough

        FM123

        Rutaceae

        Ruta chalepensis L.

        Xenadamae

        H

        Crushed/pounded fresh leaves with water of or coffee is taken orally

        'Dingetega'

        FM50

            

        Chewing and swallowing fresh leaves

        Stomach-ache

         
            

        Chewing fresh leaves using the jaw with toothache

        Toothache

         

        Sapindaceae

        Dodonaea angustifolia L.F.

        Ittechhae

        Sh

        Decoction of dry fruit is applied topically

        Ectoparasite

        FM83

            

        Powder dry fruits with water is taken orally.

        Lymphatic swelling

         

        Simaroubaceae

        Brucea antidysenterica J.F.Mill

        Kapparro

        Sh

        Powdered fresh root bark mixed with water is applied topically

        Wound

        FM202

        Solanaceae

        Capsicum annuum L.

        Miximixo

        H

        Chew and swallow fresh/dry fruits

        Ascariasis

        FM25

        Tiliaceae

        Grewia ferruginea Hochst ex A. Rich

        Ogomdii

        Sh

        Crushed/pounded fresh/dry root bark concocted with root of Ensete ventricosum and mixed with water is kept over night and taken orally as a drink before breakfast.

        Cough

        FM121

            

        Pounded fresh/dry root bark mix with butter is taken as drink before breakfast for three days.

        Evil eye

         

        Tiliaceae

        Triumfetta tomentosa Boj.

        Kombocho

        Sh

        Mix the powder with a little bit of local 'araqi' and then apply the paste to wound

        Fire burn

        FM171

        Verbenaceae

        Lantana camara L.

        Yewef kollo

        Sh

        Dry stem powder mixed with water is taken orally

        Diarrhea

        FM146

        Zingeberaceae

        Zingiber officinale Rosc.

        Jaanjiibeello

        H

        Chewed and swallowed

        Stomach-ache

        FM51

        Table 4

        List of medicinal plants for treating livestock diseases in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        Families

        Scientific name

        Local name

        Habit

        Preparation and application

        Diseases treated

        Voucher Number

        Acanthaceae

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

        Dummiuggae

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded fresh/dry leaf concocted with Croton macrostachyus in cold water is given as a drink for three days.

        Intestinal parasites

        FM30

        Amaranthaceae

        Achyranthes aspera L.

        Derrgu

        H

        Powdered dry/fresh leaf with water is applied externally

        Ectoparasite

        FM115

            

        Powder of root mixed with water is given orally

        Diarrhea

         

        Anacardiaceae

        Rhus vulgaris Meikle

        Suggutae

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded fresh/dry root mixed with cold water; kept outside for overnight is given as drink in the morning

        Blackleg

        FM57

        Apocynaceae

        Maytenus arbutifolia (A. Rich) Wilczek

        Kombollechae

        Sh

        Powdered dry leaf mixed with butter is applied topically

        Wound

        FM138

        Asparagaceae

        Asparagus africanus L.

        Uffae

        Sh

        Powder of dry root is applied topically

        Wound

        FM206

        Asteraceae

        Cirsium englerianum O. Hoffm.

        Galigloo

        H

        Concoction of fresh/dry root mixed with residue of local 'tella' or 'areqie' is given as drink.

        Urine with blood

        FM64

            

        Crushed, pounded and mix with residue of local 'areqie' or 'tella' and drink.

        Sterility

         
            

        Powdered fresh leaf mixed with residue of local 'areqie' or 'tella' is given as drink

        Anthrax

         
            

        Crushed, pounded and mix with cold water, applied orally for three days

        Snake poison

         
            

        Fresh leaf is squeezed on to affected part for five days

        Skin infection/Kintarot

         

        Asteraceae

        Vernonia auriculifera Hiern

        Dangireto

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded root mixed with cold water is administered orally

        Snake poison

        FM144

        Asteraceae

        Xantium strumarium L.

        Dehanekayae

        H

        Squeezing leaf through clean locally made cloth for five days on affected part or wash the affected part

        Wart, Skin infection

        FM9

        Boragnaceae

        Cordia africana Lam.

        Waddissa

        T

        Root bar is smoked in the barn

        Evil eye

        FM167

        Casuarinaceae

        Casuarina cunninghamiana Miq.

        Shewshewae

        T

        Concoction of fresh/dry root bark mixed with leaf of Croton macrostachyus and water is given as drink.

        Lymphatic swelling/Urine retention

        FM76

        Celastraceae

        Maytenus senegalensis (Lam.) Excell

        Shekko

        Sh

        Root powder mixed with leaf of Ocimum lamiifolium is administered orally

        Febrile Disease

        FM54

        Clustiaceae

        Hypericum revolutum Vahl

         

        Sh

        Leaf is pounded and mix with water applied orally.

        Fattening

        FM93

        Cucurbitaceae

        Cucurbita pepo L.

        Buqe

        Cl

        Fresh/dry root ash mixed with butter is applied topically

        Skin infection

        FM16

        Fabaceae

        Calpurnia aurea (Alt.) Benth.

        Chekketa

        Sh

        Seed powder mixed with butter is applied on infected eye.

        Eye infection

        FM98

            

        Powdered fresh/dry root with water is given orally.

        Urine retention

         
            

        Powdered fresh/dry root with butter is given orally

        Black leg

         
            

        Crushed, pounded fresh root with fresh leaf of Vernonia amygdalina mixed with residue of local areqie or tella is given orally

        Anthrax

         
            

        Crushed, pounded fresh root with fresh leaf of Parthneium hysterophrus mixed with residue of local areqie or tella is given orally

        Blackleg

         

        Malvaceae

        Sida schimperiana Hochst. ex A.Rich

        Gebresede

        Sh

        Leaf powder is mixed with water is administered orally for three days before grazing

        Mental problem

        FM170

        Myrsinaceae

        Maesa lanceoloata Forssk.

        Kaggano

        T

        Powdered fresh/dry root mixed with residue of local 'areqie' or 'tella' is given as drink

        Anthrax

        FM210

            

        Powdered fresh/dry root and Vernonia amygdalina leaf mixed with residue of local 'areqie' or 'tella' is given as drink

        Blackleg

         

        Oleaceae

        Olea europaea L.

        Wayrro

        T

        The root powder is smoke in livestock fence

        Mental problem

        FM187

        Papaveraceae

        Argemone mexicana L.

        Kossalae

        H

        Crushed and pounded fresh leaf mixed with roots of Solanum indicum in cold water is given as a drunk

        Bloody Urine

        FM81

           

        H

        Powdered fresh leaf mixed with residue of local 'tella' or 'areqie' is given orally

        Diarrhea

         
           

        H

        Crushed and pounded fresh leaf mixed with leaf of Vernonia amygdalina is given orally.

        Intestinal parasites

         

        Polygonaceae

        Rumex nepalensis Spreng.

        Dangago

        H

        Powdered fresh/dry stem mixed with butter is applied topically

        Wound

        FM10

        Rubiaceae

        Pentas schimperiana (A. Rich) Vatke

        Dibexxo

        Sh

        Root bark fine powder is mixed with water given orally

        Mental problem

        FM78

        Santalaceae

        Osyris quadripartite Decn.

        Watto

        Sh

        Powdered fresh/dry fruit mixed with water is given orally for three days and applied topically on infected body part

        Skin infection

        FM105

        Sapindaceae

        Dodonaea angustifolia L.F.

        Ittechhae

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded dry fruit with water is applied

        Ectoparasite

        FM83

            

        Powdered dry fruit with water is given orally

        Lymphatic swelling

         

        Simaroubaceae

        Brucea antidysenterica J.F.Mill

        Kapparro

        Sh

        Powder of fresh/dry root bark is applied topically

        Wound

        FM202

        Solanaceae

        Datura stramonium L.

        Atsefareceae

        H

        Crushed, pounded fresh/dry root mixed with Parthenium hysterophorus leaf applied topically

        Wound

        FM47

        Solanaceae

        Discopodium penninervum

        Serbae

        T

        Rubbing affected part with fresh/dry crushed leaf

        Inability to walk properly

        FM198

        Solanaceae

        Solanum indicum L.

        Dimoxxa embayo

        Sh

        A cup of fresh/dry root powder concocted with Vernonia amygdalina leaf with seven cups of water is boiled until only one cup of mixture remains then mixed with the residue of 'tella' and ' areqie' is given for as drink for three days.

        Blackleg

        FM104

            

        Crushed, pounded fresh/dry root and root of Rhus vulgaris mixed with water is given as drink for 2 to 3 days.

        Anthrax

         
            

        Concoction of crushed, pounded fresh/dry root with Vernonia amygdalina leaf is given as drink

        Cough

         

        Tiliaceae

        Grewia ferruginea Hochst ex A. Rich

        Ogomdii

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded fresh/dry root bark with roots of Ensete ventricosum and mixed with water and kept overnight is given orally

        Cough

        FM121

        Verbenaceae

        Lantana camara L.

        Yewof kollo

        Sh

        Dry stem powdered mixed with water is given orally

        Diarrhea

        FM146

        Table 5

        List of medicinal plants for treating both human and livestock diseases in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        Families

        Scientific name

        Local name

        Habit

        Preparation and application

        Diseases treated

        Voucher Number

        Acanthaceae

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

        Dummiuggae

        Sh

        Pounded fresh/dry leaves is concocted with bark of Croton macrostachyus is taken orally for three days.

        Intestinal parasites

        FM30

        Asparagaceae

        Asparagus africanus L.

        'Uffae '

        Sh

        Powder of dry root with butter is applied on wound

        Wound

        FM206

        Asteraceae

        Vernonia auriculifera Hiern

        Dangireto

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded and mix with cold water, one cup of the filtrate is given for adult, one-half of the cup for children for three days. For livestock Crushed, pounded root mixed with cold water is administered orally

        Snake poison

        FM144

        Asteraceae

        Xantium strumarium L.

        Dehanekayae

        H

        The plant part squeezing it through clean locally made cloth for five days on affected part or wash the affected part for both diseases.

        Skin infection

        FM9

        Boragnaceae

        Cordia africana Lam.

        Waddissa

        T

        Powdered dry root bark is sprinkled on burning charcoal and smoke is inhaled covered by cloth. For livestock root bark is smoked in the barn

        Evil eye

        FM167

        Celastraceae

        Maytenus senegalensis (Lam.) Excell

        Shekko

        Sh

        Powdered fresh/dry seed with water or butter is taken with coffee or tea as drink for five days.

        Epilepsy

        FM54

            

        Powdered fresh/dry seed with Ocimum lamiifolium seed is take with coffee as drink

        Headache

         
            

        For livestock root powder mixed with leaf of Ocimum lamiifolium is administered orally

        Febrile Disease

         

        Malvaceae

        Sida schimperiana Hochst. ex A.Rich

        Gebresede

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded, and boiled with water and cooled for 2 hours and 2 glasses are served as a drink.

        Epilepsy

        FM170

            

        For livestock leaf powder is mixed with water is administered orally for three days before grazing

        Mental problem

         

        Polygonaceae

        Rumex nepalensis Spreng.

        Dangago

        H

        Paste of fresh/dry stem powder with butter is applied topically

        Wound

        FM10

        Rubiaceae

        Pentas schimperiana (A. Rich) Vatke

        Dibexxo

        Sh

        Fresh/dry root bark powder mixed with water is taken orally

        Epilepsy(human) Mental problem (livestock)

        FM78

        Sapindaceae

        Dodonaea angustifolia L.F.

        Ittechhae

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded dry fruit with water is applied

        Ectoparasite

        FM83

            

        Powdered dry fruit with water is given orally

        Lymphatic swelling

         

        Simaroubaceae

        Brucea antidysenterica J.F.Mill

        Kapparro

        Sh

        Powdered fresh root bark mixed with water is applied topically

        Wound

        FM202

        Tiliaceae

        Grewia ferruginea Hochst ex A. Rich

        Ogomdii

        Sh

        Crushed, pounded fresh/dry root bark with roots of Ensete ventricosum and mixed with water and kept overnight is given orally

        Cough

        FM121

        Verbenaceae

        Lantana camara L.

        Yewef kollo

        Sh

        Dry stem powder mixed with water is taken orally

        Diarrhea

        FM146

        The highest number of plant species was found in Asteraceae with 10 plant species followed by Solanaceae with 6 plant species, Euphorbiaceae and Fabaceae each with 5 plant species, Celastraceae and Cucurbitaceae with 3 plant species each (Table 3, 4, 5).

        The shrubs were the most harvested for medicinal purpose and were represented with 35 (43.2%) plant species followed by 28(34.5%) herbs, 17 (20.9%) trees and 1(1.2%) climbers. The most commonly used plant parts for remedy preparations were roots (35.8%), followed by leaves (24.6%) (Fig. 3).
        http://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-5-28/MediaObjects/13002_2009_Article_158_Fig3_HTML.jpg
        Figure 3

        Parts of medicinal plants used as remedy in the study area, Wonago Woreda.

        Remedies were mainly prepared in the form of powder, concoction and decoction (Table 6). Healers used various units of measurement such as fingered length (e.g. for root, root bark, and stem), pinch (e.g. for powdered plant parts) and numbers (e.g. for leaves, seeds, fruits and flowers) were used to estimate and fix the dosage of the medicine. The methods of administration of herbal medicines were 48(59.2%) internal, particularly oral, followed by 22(27.1%) dermal and 10(12.3%) nasal.
        Table 6

        Preparation methods of traditional medicine in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        Preparation methods

        Preparations

        Percent

        Powder

        46

        37.3

        Crushing and pounding

        42

        34.1

        Chewing

        10

        8.1

        Concoction

        7

        5.6

        Decoction

        2

        1.6

        Others

        6

        13.0

        Ranking of medicinal plants on their uses

        Malaria and diarrhea were the most common diseases for which large number of patients visits the traditional medicinal practitioners. Vernonia amygdalina was the most preferred as effective treatment against malaria (Table 7) and Croton macrostachyus was preferred among the medicinal plants that were reported by more informants as a remedy to diarrhea (Table 8).
        Table 7

        Preference ranking of medicinal plants used for treating malaria in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        List of medicinal plants

        R1

        R2

        R3

        R4

        R5

        R6

        R7

        R8

        Total

        rank

        Allium sativum

        3

        2

        5

        3

        3

        2

        3

        3

        24

        3rd

        Lepidium sativum

        2

        1

        2

        2

        1

        3

        2

        2

        15

        4th

        Croton macrostachyus

        4

        5

        3

        4

        4

        5

        5

        4

        34

        2nd

        Phytoloca dodeccandra

        1

        4

        1

        1

        2

        1

        1

        1

        12

        5th

        Vernonia amygdlania

        5

        3

        4

        5

        5

        4

        4

        5

        35

        1st

        Table 8

        Preference ranking of medicinal plant species used to treat diarrhea in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        List of medicinal plants

        R1

        R2

        R3

        R4

        R5

        R6

        R7

        R8

        Total

        rank

        Ensete ventricosum

        1

        2

        1

        2

        2

        1

        2

        2

        13

        4th

        Vernonia amygdalina

        2

        3

        2

        3

        2

        3

        2

        1

        18

        2nd

        Colocasia esculenta

        1

        1

        1

        2

        2

        1

        1

        2

        11

        5th

        Croton macrostachyus

        4

        3

        3

        2

        3

        2

        1

        3

        21

        1st

        Hagenia abyssinica

        2

        1

        3

        1

        1

        3

        3

        2

        16

        3rd

        Informant consensus factor (ICF)

        Diseases that were found to be prevalent in the area were treated by variety of medicinal plants. The category: malaria, fever and headache have the highest 0.82 ICF followed by ascariasis and diarrhea, and intestinal parasite and stomachache each with 0.78 ICF (Table 9).
        Table 9

        Informant consensus factor by categories of diseases in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        Category

        Species

        (%) All Species

        Use citations

        (%) All use citations

        ICF

        Malaria, Fever and headache

        10

        19%

        52

        39%

        0.82

        Ascariasis and diarrhea

        11

        20%

        47

        35%

        0.78

        Intestinal parasite and stomachache

        5

        9%

        19

        14%

        0.78

        Gonorrhea & sexual impotence in men

        5

        9%

        16

        12%

        0.73

        Abdominal pain and amoebas

        6

        11%

        19

        14%

        0.72

        Ring worm and wounds

        7

        13%

        16

        12%

        0.60

        Bronchitis and cough

        6

        11%

        12

        9%

        0.55

        Cancerous Swelling

        5

        9%

        9

        7%

        0.50

        Multiple uses of plants and effect on the conservation of the medicinal plants

        The people in the Woreda relied on naturally growing plant species for various purposes such as construction, firewood, washing, cash income and charcoal. Croton macrostachyus was used for variety of services by the community followed by Millettia ferruginea; however, each plant species was used for a given specific service such as Phytolacca dodecandra was used for washing more often than the other plants (Table 10).
        Table 10

        Direct matrix ranking of medicinal plants with different uses other than medicinal value (total score of ten informants) in the study area, Wonago Woreda

        Uses

        Croton macrostachyus

        Phytolacca dodecandra

        Coffea arabica

        Cordia africana

        Millettia ferruginea

        Construction

        31

        9

        26

        24

        23

        Cash income

        29

        12

        27

        13

        19

        Washing

        21

        26

        0

        19

        29

        Firewood

        13

        16

        23

        22

        19

        Charcoal

        18

        7

        19

        11

        15

        Total

        112

        70

        95

        89

        105

        Rank

        1st

        5th

        3rd

        4th

        2nd

        The medicinal plants in Wonago Woreda were threatened by natural and human made factors. Agricultural expansion was found to be the main threat followed by fire wood collection (Table 11).
        Table 11

        Priority ranking of factors perceived as threats to medicinal plants based on their level of destructive effects in the study area, Wonago Woreda (values 1-6 were given: 1 is the least destructive threat and 6 is the most destructive threat)

         

        Respondents (R1-R6)

        Total

        Percent

        Rank

        Factors

        R1

        R2

        R3

        R4

        R5

        R6

           

        Drought

        3

        4

        2

        3

        6

        3

        21

        16.5

        4th

        Grazing

        5

        1

        3

        5

        4

        5

        23

        18.1

        3rd

        Urbanization

        1

        5

        4

        1

        3

        1

        15

        11.8

        5th

        Agricultural expansion

        6

        2

        6

        6

        5

        6

        31

        24.4

        1st

        Fire wood

        4

        6

        5

        4

        1

        4

        24

        18.8

        2nd

        Construction

        2

        3

        1

        2

        2

        3

        13

        10.2

        6th

        Discussion

        Distribution of medicinal plants in the study area

        Most of the shrubs were collected from woodlands, rocky surfaces, secondary forests and home gardens. The herbs were mostly found in woodland, grazing land and farmlands. The tree species were found in open woodland, farm borders, roadsides, live fences and in coffee plantation areas. Medicinal plants like Allium sativum, Artemisia abyssinica, Capsicum anuum, Lepidium sativum, Ensete ventricosum, Nicotiana tabacum, Ocimum lamiifolium, Ruta chalepensis, and Zingiber officinale were restricted to farmlands, farm boarders, live fences and home gardens. Hunde [18], Mohammed [19], Tollosa [20] and Awas and Asfaw [21] used similar approaches to identify sites of collection of medicinal plants.

        Natural vegetation and home garden diversity

        In this study, the number of medicinal plants collected from the natural vegetation is more than home gardens. This is also true to the studies conducted in different parts of the country. 90.43% of medicinal plants in Mana Angetu District, southeastern Ethiopia [22]; 92% of medicinal plants around 'Dheeraa' town, Arsi Zone, Ethiopia [23]; 71% of the medicinal plants of the 'Berta' people in western Ethiopia [24] and 85.71% of medicinal plants of Sekoru District, Jimma Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia [25] are obtained from the natural vegetation. Asfaw [26] reported that only 6% of the plants maintained in home gardens in Ethiopia are primarily cultivated for their medicinal value. Some of the medicinal plants cultivated provided a number of services to the local people because the primary function of these home gardens was to produce foodstuffs. This might be because of high population density and shortage of land for cultivation in the area [27].

        Medicinal plants

        The medicinal plant species recorded in Wonago are also used as remedies in other parts of Ethiopia and Africa. Among the total of Seventy-two medicinal plant species investigated in this study, 22 species are mentioned in Taddese [28]; 20 species in Wondimu et al. [23]; 11 species in Taddese and Demissew [29]; 23 species in Tamene [30]; 21 species in Hunde [18]; 11 species in Balemie et al. [31]; 39 species in Lulekal et al. [22]; 21 species in Teklehaymanot and Giday [32] and 17 species in Teklehaymanot et al. [33]. In Africa, 13 medicinal plant species are documented by Anokbongo [34] and 16 by Iwn [35].

        Some of the medicinal plants in this study were used to treat specific diseases:Vernonia amygdalina Del., Momordica foetida Schumach, Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst. Ex Benth., and Lantana camara L. are used as treatment for malaria and associated illness in Budiope county Uganda [36]. Croton macrostachyus Del., Datura stramonium L., Eucalyptus globules Labill, Euphorbia candelabrum Kostshy, Euphorbia tirucalli L., Prunus africana (Hook.F.) Kalkam, and Ricinus communis L. in Central Kenya [37], and Calpurnia aurea (Alt.) Benth. and Phytolacca dodecandra L'Herit in Ethiopia [38] are used for treatment of skin disorders.

        Allium sativum L., Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl., Zingiber officinale Rosc., Capsicum annuum L, and Ricinus communis L. are used as anthelmintics in traditional veterinary practices in Sahiwal district of Punjab, Pakistan; and the anthelmintic activity of the first three medicinal plants is scientifically validated through in vitro and in vivo tests [39].

        The medicinal plants that were presumed to be effective in treating a certain disease had higher ICF values, which indicated that these diseases were more common than those with low ICF: malaria and headache (82.3%), ascariasis and diarrhea (78.2%), and intestinal parasite and stomachache (77.7%).

        The most widely used plant remedies by people of Wonago were obtained from shrubs (43.2%) followed by herbs (34.5%). The documented data showed that the majority of medicinal plants from natural vegetation were shrubs and herbs; they were relatively common in the study area compared to medicinal tree species. This finding agrees with the findings of Tamene [30], Hunde [18] Yineger and Yewhalaw [25], Giday and Amani [40] and Lulekal et al. [22]. However, the finding of Birhanu [41]; Mohammed [19]; Gebre [42] and Teklehaymanot and Giday [32] shows that herbs are the primary habit form.

        The most widely sought plant parts in the preparation of remedies were the root [22], root bark, leaves and stems. The popularity of these parts has serious consequences from both ecological point of view and from the survival of the medicinal plant species [41]. Tesfu et al. (Tesfu CB, Mengistu B, W/Aregay G: Women lead in protecting food germplasm and herbs for health in Ethiopia, Submitted) reported that some plant species such as Dracaena steudneri, Hagenia abyssinica and Securidaca longepedunculata that are harvested for their roots, barks or whole plants in many parts of Ethiopia have become scarce and so difficult to find. On the other hand, collecting leaves alone could not pose a lasting danger to the continuity of an individual plant compared with the collection of roots, bark, stem or whole plant.

        The route of application, oral (42%), is popular as in the finding of Abebe and Ayehu [43] who reported as the leading route of application used in northern Ethiopia. It is also in agreement with the result of various ethnobotanical studies conducted elsewhere in Ethiopia [18, 21, 22, 31, 40, 41, 44, 45] and indicates oral as the predominant route of application.

        The informants' responses indicated that there were variations in dosages of remedies, unit of measurement of remedies, duration and time that were prescribed for the same kind of health problems. The major factors that determine the amount to be given were age, physical fitness, stage of illness, pregnancy and presence or absence of any disease other than the disease to be treated. Getahun [46], Sofowara [47] and Abebe [2] have also discussed lack of precision and standardization as a drawback of the traditional health care system.

        Conservation and threats of medicinal plants

        Some traditional practitioners had started to conserve medicinal plants by growing them in home gardens. Such as Ruta chalepensis, Rhus vulgaris, Ocimum lamiifolium, Artemisia abyssinica and Artemisia afra similar to the observation made by Kansheiae [27]. In most scenarios, the home gardens are fenced and protect the medicinal plants from grazing and unwise harvesting [48].

        The main threat for medicinal plants in the natural vegetation was agricultural expansion (24.4%). Most of the respondents perceived urbanization and construction as the least destructive factors contributing to 11.8% and 10.2% of the total score, respectively. The rise in Coffea arabica and Catha edulis price on the market were some of the contributing factors for the expansion of agriculture. The other factor was the number of young farmers who were anxious to have their own agricultural land; hence, clearing of natural vegetation and expanding agricultural land was almost a daily activity in the study area. Nevertheless, during the field study, it was observed that large number of big trees of Macaranga capensis, Olea europaea, Pouteria adolfi-friederici, and Syzygium guineense were removed by the local people to prepare the forestlands for agricultural purpose. These factors combined with the natural vulnerability of the area may lead to further reduction in natural habitats of the medicinal plants. Pressure from agricultural expansion, wide spread cutting for fuel wood combined with seasonal drought is also reported in Balemie et al [31], Lulekal et al. [22], Nanyingi et al., [48], Kelbessa et al. [49] and Yineger et al. [50] as main factor for environmental degradation.

        The conservation of medical plants in the study area was limited except in Juniperous- Eucalyptus dominated plantation, which was the only protected natural vegetation areas. Rather, the peoples' culture and spiritual beliefs somehow had helped in the conservation of medicinal plants. For instance, the claim of the traditional healers that medicinal plants will be effective only if cut and administered by the healers or healers' reletives had helped in the conservation of the medicinal plants. Also, the collection of medicinal plants in specific season, for example, at the end of the Ethiopian calendar year in 'Pagume' enabled the plants to regenerate and complete their life cycle. This is true mostly for annuals, those whose leaves, fruits and seeds are used, if other destructive pressures are kept at low level.

        Conclusion

        Traditional medicinal plants were harvested mostly from natural vegetation area followed by home gardens. They were also obtained from roadsides, farmlands and live fences. The medicinal plants in the natural vegetation were under threat and to tackle these problems traditional healers had turned their face towards home gardens. However, traditional healers still depend largely on naturally growing species because of their belief that those species in the natural vegetation are more effective in the prevention and treatment of diseases and health problems. Furthermore, the documented medicinal plants can be used as a basis for further studies on the regions medicinal plants knowledge and for future phytochemical and pharmacological studies.

        Declarations

        Acknowledgements

        We are very much grateful to local authorities, Kebele Farmers Association leaders and the local healers. Without whose 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)
        Biology Department, Addis Ababa University
        (2)
        Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University

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        © Mesfin et al. 2009

        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.