Open Access

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

  • Fisseha Mesfin1,
  • Sebsebe Demissew1 and
  • Tilahun Teklehaymanot2Email author
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).
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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)
https://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].
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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.

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.

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.

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

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

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).
https://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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