Open Access

An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used in Kilte Awulaelo District, Tigray Region of Ethiopia

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine20139:65

https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-9-65

Received: 12 March 2013

Accepted: 4 September 2013

Published: 8 September 2013

Abstract

Background

The Ethiopian people have been dependent on traditional medicine, mainly medicinal plants, from time immemorial for control of human and animal health problems, and they still remain to be largely dependent on the practice. The purpose of the current study was to conduct ethnobotanical study to document medicinal plants used to treat diseases of human and domestic animals in Kilte Awulaelo District in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia.

Methods

Ethnobotanical data were collected between July and September 2011 through semi-structured interviews, ranking exercises and field observations. For the interviews, 72 knowledgeable informants were sampled using purposive sampling method. For the different ranking exercises, key informants were identified with the help of elders and local administrators from informants that were already involved in the interviews.

Results

The study revealed 114 medicinal plant species belonging to 100 genera and 53 families. The plants were used to treat 47 human and 19 livestock diseases. Of the species, the majority (74%) were obtained from the wild. Herbs were the most utilized plants, accounting for 44% of the species, followed by shrubs (29%). Leaf was the most commonly used plant part accounting for 42.98% of the plants, followed by roots (25.73%). Preference ranking exercise on selected plants used against abdominal pain indicated the highest preference of people for Solanum marginatum. Direct matrix ranking showed Cordia africana as the most preferred multipurpose plant in the community. Preference ranking of selected scarce medicinal plants indicated Myrica salicifolia as the most scarce species, followed by Boscia salicifolia and Acokanthera schimperi. According to priority ranking, drought was identified as the most destructive factor of medicinal plants, followed by overgrazing and firewood collection.

Conclusion

Medicinal plants are still playing significant role in the management of various human and livestock diseases in the study area with herbs taking the lead in the number of plants used in the preparation of remedies, which may be an indication of their relatively better abundance as compared to other life forms. Recurrent drought was reported to have seriously threatened medicinal plant resources in the District. Awareness is thus needed be raised among local people on sustainable utilization and management of plant resources. Ex situ and in situ conservation measures should be taken to protect the medicinal plants of the District from further destruction and special attention should be given to the medicinal plants that were indicated by preference ranking exercise as the most threatened ones.

Keywords

Ethnobotany Medicinal plants Kilte Awulaelo District Eastern Tigray Ethiopia

Background

About 80% of the Ethiopian population and 90% of livestock still depend on traditional medicinal to fight a number of diseases [1, 2]. The reliance on medicinal plants is partly owing to the high cost of modern drugs, inaccessibility of modern health institutions and due to cultural acceptability of the system [35]. However, as time goes on, the traditional knowledge and the associated plants in the country are gradually being depleted for reasons mainly attributed to environmental degradation and deforestation, which in turn brought about the loss of some important medicinal plants [4, 6]. On the other hand, documentation work related to traditional medical knowledge in the country still remains at minimum level calling for conduct of more ethnobotanical studies.

The people of Tigray Region, in general, and Kilte Awulaelo District, in particular, are also expected to have rich knowledge on traditional medicine involving medicinal plants. Such knowledge is, however, currently being threatened, as it is happening elsewhere in the country, due to environmental degradation and deforestation. On the other hand, published reports indicate that only few ethnobotanical studies have been conducted in Tigray to properly document the use of medicinal plants [710]. The studies conducted in the districts of Alamata [7], Enderta [8], Hawzen [9], and Asgede Tsimbila [10] documented 25, 27, 33 and 68 medicinal plants, respectively. However, no such study has far been conducted in Kilte Awulaelo District. The purpose of the current study was, therefore, to gather and document information on the use of medicinal plants by people in Kilte Awulaelo District, in Tigray Region of in Ethiopia, to manage diseases of humans and domestic animals. The study was expected to play a role in prioritizing medicinal plants in the District for further evaluation and conservation.

Materials and methods

Description of study district and people

Kilte Awulaelo District is located at 825 km north of the capital Addis Ababa, in the Eastern Zone of Tigray Regional State, Northern Ethiopia. It shares borders with the districts of Howzien and Sease Tsadamba in the north, Atsbi Womberta in the east, Douga Tembien in the west and Enderta in the South (Figure 1). The District is composed of 18 kebeles. Kebele is the smallest administrative unit in Ethiopia. Altitude in the District ranges between 1900 and 2460 meters above sea level. It covers an area of 101,758 hectares, of which 21,620 hectares are farmlands, 7,930.85 hectares are grazing areas, 44,134 hectares are enclosure areas and 28,073.15 hectares are occupied by hills and residential areas [11], Kilte Awulaelo Plan and Finance Office, unpublished data, 2010.
Figure 1

Map of the Kilte Awlaelo District (modified based on GIS of Ethiopia); red and black dots showing selected study kebeles.

According to 2001-2010 rainfall data, the District has a high rainfall distribution between July and August and a smaller rainfall between March and June and in September. The mean monthly rainfall and mean annual rainfall of the District are 50.14 mm and 601.68 mm, respectively [National Metrological Service Agency, Mekelle Branch Office, unpublished data].

Tigrigna, an official language in Tigray Region, is the language spoken by the people residing in Kilte Awlaelo District. The language belongs to the Semitic language family. Based on the population census of 2007 by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency [12], the total population of the District is 111,546, of which 48.89% are males and 51.11% are females.

The people in District mainly cultivate barely, wheat, teff, bean, pea, maize and sorghum. Of the domestic animals raised in the District, poultry has the population, estimated to be 62,610 heads, followed by cattle (61,864), shoats (56,042), honey bees (54,217) [11], Kilte Awulaelo Plan and Finance Office, unpublished data, 2010.

Malaria, upper respiratory problems, skin infection, infestation of intestinal parasites, pneumonia, soft tissue injury, gastritis, diarrheal, arthritis and eye diseases have been reported as the ten most common diseases in the District. In 2010, there were five functional health centres in the District where the kebeles Agulae, Negash, Beati Akor, Tsige Reda and Abraha Atsbha had one each [Kilte Awulaelo Health Office, unpublished data, 2010].

Selection of study kebeles and informants

Ethnobotanical data were collected between July and September 2011 from nine kebeles that were purposively selected with the help of elders and local authorities of the District based on better availability of traditional healers and knowledgeable people. The kebeles were Ayne Alem, Negash, Tseada Neale, Agulae, Abraha Atsbha, Adi Kesandid, Genfel, Mahbere Weyni, and Mesanu.

For the interview, 72 healers and knowledgeable informants (eight from each sampled kebele) were selected using purposive sampling method [13], of which 61 were males and 11 were females. The informants selected from each sampled kebele were the most knowledgeable ones as suggested by respective kebele elders and administrators who participated in the selection process. The ages of the informants ranged between 20 and 82 years. Three key informant groups (one group containing nine individuals) were respectively involved in three different ranking exercises (two preference ranking exercises and one direct matrix ranking exercise). The key informants were selected from the already interviewed informants with help of elders and local administrators.

Ethnobotanical data collection

Ethnobotanical data were collected through semi-structured interviews and observations by following standard methods [13, 14]. Series of individual interviews were carried out to gather information regarding local names of plants used, their threats and management, part(s) used, preparations methods, routes of remedy administration, diseases treated and side effects of remedies. The same method was also used to collect data on habit, habitat, marketability and conservation status of the reported medicinal plants. Interviews were conducted using Tigrigna, language that is spoken by the people in the study District. For each reported plant species, specimen was collected, pressed, dried, and identified and voucher was kept at Jimma University Herbarium. Field observations were also used to record habit and habitat of each medicinal plant with the assistance of local guides and interviewed informants. The study was ethically approved (before its commencement) by the Graduate Program Evaluation Committee of the College of Natural Science, Jimma University.

Data analysis

The data were summarized using Microsoft Office Excel 2007 computer programme. Descriptive statistical methods were employed to analyze and summarize the ethnobotanical data.

Preference ranking exercise [13] was conducted by nine key informants on six medicinal plants used to treat abdominal pain in the District. Abdominal pain was the disease against which the highest number o f medicinal plants was prescribed by informants. The plants used in such exercise were short-listed by the key informants following group discussion on their importance to manage abdominal pain. The informants were given the plants and asked to arrange them based on their personal level of efficacy. Medicinal plant that was believed to be the most effective was given the highest value, i.e. 6, and the one with the least effectiveness a value of 1 and rank was determined based on the total score of each species.

Preference (priority) ranking exercise [13] was conducted by nine key informants on six medicinal plants, shorted-listed by the same, to rank them based on informants’ perceived level of threat. A value of 6 was given for the most scarce medicinal plant and 1 for the least scarce ones, and scores of each species were finally summed and ranked.

Direct matrix ranking exercise [13] was employed on seven medicinal plants that were most frequently reported as multipurpose medicinal plants in the study District. A group of nine key informants were asked to rank the plants with different uses (including their use as medicinal plants) through discussion based on their perceived level of usefulness using a numerical scale (0 for no value, 1 for lowest value and 7 the highest value). Values assigned for each plant were added together to determine its rank. Medicinal plant having the highest values is ranked first, an indication of its highest level of threat.

Results

Medicinal plants reported

The study conducted in Kilte Awlaelo District recorded 114 medicinal plant species (Tables 1, 2 and 3). The species belonged to 100 genera and 53 families. The family Lamiaceae was represented 9% of the reported species, followed by Fabaceae (8%), Solanaceae (7%), Euphorbiaceae (6%) and Asteraceae (4%). Of the total plants, 44% were herbs, 29% were shrubs, 19% were trees and 8% were climbers.
Table 1

Medicinal plants used to treat both human and livestock diseases

Scientific name

Family name

Voucher No.

Tigrigna name

Habit

Part used

1Used for

Preparation and application

Acacia etbaica Schweinf.

Fabaceae

AT00606

Seraw

Tree

Leaf

Swelling

Crush and mix with latex of Euphorbia abyssinica and rub the paste on the affected part

     

Leaf

Eye infection (livestock)

Chew and spit on to the affected eye

     

Stem

Ring worm

Place it on fire and apply liquid on the affected part

     

Stem

Haemorrhoids

Burn and place it on the affected part

     

Leaf

Itching/ scabies

Crush and rub

     

Stem

Anthrax (both)

Burn and place it on the affected part

     

Leaf

Fire burn

Crushed and apply on the burn

Achyranthes aspera L.

Amaranthaceae

AT00654

Muchele

Herb

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Crush it alone or with leaves of Cucumis ficifolius and place it on shaved head of child

     

Root

Eye infection (livestock)

Chew and spit the liquid onto the infected eye

     

Root

Anthrax (both)

Crush it with roots of Solanum incanum and whole part of Hypoestes forskaolii, add water and drink with cup of glass

     

Root

Urine retention

Tie around the sex organ

     

Leaf

Eye infection

Boil with leaves of Eucalyptus globulus, Withania somnifera and Zehneria scabra in water and inhale the vapour

     

Root

Snake bite

Chew and swallow the fluid

     

Leaf

Wound

Crush and place on the wound

     

Root

Babesia (livestock)

Crush and apply into the nose

     

Leaf

Wound/sore

Crush and rub the past on the wound

     

Root

Paralysis

Crush, dry and put it on fire for fumigation

Aloe megalacantha Bark.

Aloaceae

AT00707

Ere

Shrub

Root

Dislocated bone (livestock)

Tie it on the ear

     

Latex

External wound

Cut a leaf and spread latex on wound until healed

     

Leaf

Malaria, amoeba

Crush leaves and squeeze juice, filter and drink

     

Latex

Ascariasis

Squeeze latex, filter and drink

     

Leaf

Abdominal pain

Crush leaves, filter and drunk the fluid

     

Latex

Ticks infestation (livestock)

Cut leaf and apply latex on skin

     

Leaf

Evil eye

Place leaf on fire and fumigate

     

Root

Impotence

Crush root and mix butter and smear it on the penis

     

Whole

Snake bite (both)

Crush the part and drink the juice

     

Root

Urine retention

Tie it around the sex organ

Anethum graveolens L.

Apiaceae

AT00677

Shilan

Herb

Whole

Urine retention (both)

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

       

Boil it in water and drink the fluid

Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton

Asclepiadaceae

AT00612

Ginda

Shrub

Leaf & latex

External wound

Crush it with leaves of Ficus palmata and smear paste on affected part until healed

     

Latex

Tinea capitis

Cut leaf or stem and smear latex on affected part until healed

     

Leaf

Itching/skin rash

Burn and grind leaves and spread on skin with butter

     

Latex

Swelling (livestock)

Apply latex on affected part

Calpurnia aurea (Ait.) Benth.

Fabaceae

AT00614

Hitsawts

Tree

Leaf

Lice and ticks infestation (livestock)

Crush and apply paste on skin

     

Seed

Diarrheal

Grind part, mix it with milk product locally called (mancheba) and drink

     

Leaf

Abdominal pain

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Leaf

Herpes zoster

Dry the leaves and mix them with leaves of Datura stramonium and leaves of Clutia abyssinica, grind them and make past with butter and apply on affected part

     

Seed

Haemorrhoids

Grind and mix it with honey and milk and eat it

     

Leaf

Tinea capitis

Crush and spread paste on the affected part

Chenopodium murale L.

Chenopodiaceae

AT00650

Hamli qiweo

Herb

Leaf

Swelling (both)

Crush part and apply on the affected part

     

Leaf

Fire burn

Burn leaves in oven, grind, mix with butter and smear paste on affected part

     

Leaf

Anthrax (human)

Placing around fire then after rubbing by the leaf to the affected part

     

Leaf

External wound

Crush the part and apply it on the wound

     

Leaf

Dandruff

Crush and smear on affected part

Clematis hirsuta Perr. & Guill.

Ranunculaceae

AT00680

Hareg

Climber

Root

Anthrax (both)

Crush roots with butter and apply the paste

     

Leaf

Herpes zoster

Burn leaves in oven with leaves of Dodonaea angustifolia, grind, mix with butter and apply on the affected part

Clerodendrum myricoides (Hochst.) R.Br. ex Vatke

Lamiaceae

AT00643

Shiwha

Shrub

Root

Urine retention (both)

Crushed, add water, filter and drink

     

Stem

Snake bite

burn stem and apply it on the affected part while hot

     

Leaf

Tinea captis

Burn leaves in oven, grind, add butter and rub it on affected part

     

Root

Evil sprit

Crush by mixing with roots of Withania somnifera, Carissa spinarum, Jasminum gratissimum and Maytenus senegalensis, put it on fire for fumigation

Clutia abyssinica Jaub. & Spach.

Euphorbiaceae

AT00659

Tewshealalito

Shrub

Leaf

Tinea capitis

Crush leaves and rub the paste on affected part or dry the crushed leaves, add butter and apply

     

Leaf

Ring worm

Rubbing the affected part by the leaf

     

Leaf

Internal parasites infection (livestock)

Crushed and drunk the fluid

     

Leaf

Herpes zoster

Dry and mix leaves with dried leaves of Calpurnia aurea and Datura stramonium, grind, add butter and spread paste on affected part

     

Leaf & bark

Black spider bite

Crush, filter and drink

     

Leaf

Leshimaniasis

Crush and apply paste on affected part

Cucumis ficifolius A.Rich.

Cucurbitaceae

AT00642

Ramboambo

Herb

Leaf

Anthrax (both)

Crush the part with leaves of Dyschoriste radicans , mix it with honey and placed it on affected part

     

Root

Snake, scorpion and black spider bite

Grind the part, mix with honey and eat it

     

Fruit

Wound/sore

Apply fruit juice on the affected part

     

Whole

Jaundice/ hepatitis

Crush, add water, filter and drink or Chew and swallow the product

     

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Mix the leaves of the plant with leaves of Achyranthes aspera, crush and place the paste on shaved part of head of a sick child

     

Root

Toothache

Chew part with the diseased teeth

     

Root

Joint pain

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Root

Abdominal pain (both)

Mix root of the plant with bark of Croton macrostachyus, dry the paste, mix it with butter and drink it or chew the product and drink the fluid

     

Root

Vomiting

Crush and drink the fluid

Cyphostema adenocaule (Steud. ex A.Rich.)

Vitaceae

AT00681

Aserkuca asergundi

Climber

Root

Snake bite (both)

Crush, filter and drunk the fluid

     

Root

Snake venation (repulsion)

Tie it on the body

Cyphostemma junceum (Webb) Desc. Ex Wild & R.B.Drumm.

Vitaceae

AT00686

Etse zewye

Herb

Root bark

Snake bite (both)

Crush and eat the paste with honey

     

Whole

Toothache

Chew and swallow the juice

     

Whole

Spider bite

Chew and swallow fluid

     

Leaf

Evil eye

Place part on fire for fumigation

Datura stramonium L.

Solanaceae

AT00672

Mestenagr

Herb

Leaf

Itching/ scabies

Crush and apply on affected part

     

Leaf

External wound

Crush and apply on affected part

     

Seed

Toothache

Place it on fire and inhale the smoke through mouth

     

Leaf

Herpes zoster

Dried leaves of the plant and Calpurnia aurea and Clutia abyssinica are ground mixed powder with butter and apply on affected part

     

Leaf

Wound/sore

Crush and apply on affected part

     

Leaf

Anthrax (livestock)

Crush by mixing with leaves of Solanum mariginatum and Malva verticillata and apply paste on affected part

Dodonia angustifolia L.f.

Sapindaceae

AT00610

Tahses

Tree

Leaf

Herpes zoster

Dry the leaf of the plant alone or mixed with the leaf of Clematis hirsuta on hot stove, grind, add butter and rub affected part

     

Seed

Malaria

Grind and eat it with honey

     

Leaf

Dislocated bone (livestock)

Crush and apply on damaged part

     

Leaf

Eye infection

Crush and apply droplets into the infected eye

     

Leaf

Fire burn

Dry it in oven, grind, and butter sulphur and spread it on the affected part

Echinops Kebericho Mesfin

Asteraceae

AT00685

Dander

Herb

Root

Dislocated bone (livestock)

Tie it on damaged part

     

Stem

Haemorrhoids

Place a burned stem and apply it on affected while hot

Euclea racemosa Murr. subsp. schimperi (A.DC.) F. White

Ebenaceae

AT00611

Keleaw

Shrub

Whole

Evil eye

Crush and tie powder around the neck

     

Root bark

Snake bite (both)

Crush, add water and drunk the fluid

     

Root

Paralysis

Crush and drink juice with milk

     

Root

Black spider bite

Chew and swallow the fluid

     

Root bark

Abdominal pain

Boil it in water and drink the fluid

     

Root

Toothache

Chew part with the affect tooth

     

Root

Amoeba

Remove bark of the root, boil it and drink the fluid with mancheba, milk product

Euphorbia abyssinica J.F.Gmel.

Euphorbiaceae

AT00706

Kulqual

Tree

Latex

Ascariasis

Mix part with locally made beer and drink it or mix it enjera (local food) and eat it

     

Latex

Abdominal pain

Mix it with tihni (made from flour of roasted barley) and eat it

     

Flower

External wound

Crush, mix with honey and apply it on affected part

     

Latex

Leprosy

Smear latex on affected part

     

Latex

Swelling (both)

Smear latex on affected part

Euphorbia petitiana A.Rich.

Euphorbiaceae

AT00687

Hindukduk

Herb

Latex

Leshimaniasis

Rub leaf on affected part until cure

     

Root

Dislocated bone (livestock)

Tie around the damage part

Euphorbia tirucali L.

Euphorbiaceae

AT00682

Kinchib

Shrub

Latex

Skin haemorrhoids

Apply on affected part

Galium boreo-aethiopicum Puff

Rubiaceae

AT00621

Mendef adgi

Herb

Root

Babesia (livestock)

Crush and apply droplets through the nose

     

Root

Toothache

Chew root with affected tooth

     

Root

Evil eye

Placing it on fire for fumigation

     

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow fluid

     

Latex

Ring worm

Apply latex on affected part

     

Latex

Swelling (livestock)

Smear latex on swollen part

Gomphocarpus purpurascens A.Rich.

Asclepiadaceae

AT00690

Tseba dimu

Herb

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

     

Whole

Haemorrhoids

Crush and apply on affected part

     

Root

Wound (livestock)

Crush and apply on affected part

     

Root

Toothache

Mix part with honey and chew

     

Leaf

Michi

Place on fire for fumigation

Hypoestes forskaolii (Vahl) Roem. & Schult.

Acanthaceae

AT00603

Girbia

Herb

Root

Babesia (livestock)

Crush, mix with honey and eat

     

Whole

Anthrax

Crushed it alone or by mixing with seeds of Lepidium sativum, roots of Solanum incanum, Achyranthes aspera and Verbascum sinaiticum, filter and drink the fluid

     

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

     

Leaf

Wound/sore

Crush apply on affected part

     

Root

Ascariasis

Boiling in milk with leaves of Lantana trifolia and drunk

     

Root

Cough

Place it on fire for fumigation

Hypericum annulatum Moris.

Hypericaceae

AT00668

Aklti

Herb

Leaf

Eye infection (both)

Dry, Grind, add butter and apply on affected part

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

Acanthaceae

AT00632

Shimieya

Shrub

Leaf

Dysentery

Crush, add water and drink

     

Leaf

Jaundice

Crush and eat it with enjera (local food) or add milk and drink it

     

Leaf

Wound

Boiling with roots of Withania somnifera and washing

     

Leaf

Arthritis

Boil it in water and wash body with it

Laggera tomentosa (Sch.Bip ex A.Rich.)

Asteraceae

AT00679

Kash koshe

Shrub

Leaf

Leeches infestation (livestock)

Crush and add juice through the nose

     

Leaf

Ring worm

Rub it on affected part

Lepidium sativum L.

Brassicaceae

AT00708

Shimfa

Herb

Seed

Wound/sore

Crush seeds leaves of Dyschoriste radicans and bulb of Allium sativum and tie on affected part

     

Seed

Itching/scabies

Crush seeds with leaves of Rumex nervosus and Withania somnifera and bulb of Allium sativum, sock it in water and wash body with it

     

Seed

Swelling (both)

Crush and apply it on affected part

     

Seed

Abdominal pain

Crush, add water and drink

     

Seed

Anthrax (both)

Crush it by mixing it with whole part of Hypoestes forskaolii, roots of Solanum incanum and Verbascum sinaiticum, filter and drink the fluid

     

Stem

Haemorrhoids

Burn it on fire add apply it on affected part while hot

     

Leaf

Michi

Crush it with bulbs of Allium sativum and eat or rub it on the skin

Malva verticillata L.

Malvaceae

AT00625

Enkiaftha

Herb

Leaf

External wound

Crush and rub apply it on the affected part

 

Leaf

Anthrax (both)

Crush it with leaves of Datura stramonium and Solanum mariginatum and apply it

Melia azadrachta L.

Meliaceae

AT00695

Limo, nim

Tree

Leaf

External wound (both)

Crush and apply it

Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Miller.

Cactaceae

AT00713

Beles (kulqual bahri)

Shrub

Leaf

Anthrax

Place it on fire and apply it on affected part while hot

     

Leaf

Lice or fleas infestation (livestock)

Crush, rub on skin

     

Leaf

Dandruff

Crush and rub it on affected part

Otostegia integrifolia Benth.

Lamiaceae

AT00652

Chiendog

Shrub

Leaf

Ascariasis

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

     

Leaf

Lice or fleas infestation (livestock)

Place it on fire for fumigation

Premna oligotricha Baker

Lamiaceae

AT00633

Sasa

Shrub

Whole

Synerosis celebralis (livestock)

Place on fire for fumigation

     

Leaf

Toothache

Chew it with affected tooth

Ricinus communis L.

Euphorbiaceae

AT00688

Guile

Herb

Leaf

External wound (both)

Crush and apply it on the wound

Rumex nepalensis Spreng.

Polygonaceae

AT00618

Dengele, shembobata

Herb

Leaf

Ring worm

Rub it on affected part

     

Root

Fire burn

Crush by mixing it with urine and apply it on damaged part

     

Leaf

Tinea capitis

Mix it with fruit of Citrus aurantifolia and rub it affected part

Schinus molle L.

Anacardiaceae

AT00648

Tikur berbere

Tree

Leaf

Jaundice

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Leaf

Diarrheal

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Leaf

Bloating (livestock)

Crush and drink the fluid

     

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Crush and drunk it with coffee

       

Crush and apply it on shaved head of sick child

     

Leaf

Michi

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

Sida schimperiana Hochst. ex A.Rich.

Malvaceae

AT00636

Tifraria

Shrub

Root

Rh disease

Crush, filter and drink a cup of fluid

     

Root

Paralysis

Tie root around the affected part

     

Root

Dislocated bone (livestock)

Tie it on tail of the affected animal

     

Root

Abortion (livestock)

Tie it on tail of the animal

Solanum hastifollium Hochst. ex Dunal in DC.

Solanaceae

AT00641

Alalmo kalbi

Shrub

Root

Abortion (livestock)

Tie it on tail of the animal

     

Root

Evil eye

Place it on fire for fumigation

     

Leaf & fruit

Anthrax (livestock)

Crush and add honey and apply or squeeze it into affected part or crush, filter and drink

     

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Crush by mixing it with leaves of Solanum incanum and place on shaved head of sick child

     

Fruit

Ear diseases

Squeeze to produce juice, add goat butter and apply through the nose

     

Leaf

Cellulitis

Crush and apply

     

Root

Toothache

Chew with affected part

Solanum incanum L.

Solanaceae

AT00617

Niesheton engule

Shrub

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

     

Root bark

External wound infection

Dry, grind and apply on affected part

     

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Crush by mixing with leaves of Solanum hastifolium and place it on the shaved head of sick child

     

Root

Anthrax (both)

Crush by mixing with seeds of Lepidium sativum, whole part of Hypoestes forskaolii, roots of Achyranthes aspera and Verbascum sinaiticum, filter and drink fluid

       

Crush and apply on affected part

Solanum mariginatum L.f.

Solanaceae

AT00716

Aby ungule

Shrub

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid or boil and drink the fluid

     

Seed

External wound infection

Grind and apply on affected part

     

Seed

Cough

Burn, grind, mix it with sugar or honey and swallow it

     

Fruit

Breathing problem (livestock)

Crush apply through the nose

     

Leaf

Anthrax (both)

Crush by mixing with leaves of Datura stramonium and Malva verticillata apply it on affected part or crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Root

Ascariasis

Crush by mixing with roots of Zehneria scabra, and Verbena officinalis, filter and drink the fluid

Trigonella foenum-graecum (Bunge) Gurke.

Fabaceae

AT00699

Abeake

Herb

Seed

Abdominal pain

Grind, add water and drink

     

Seed

Swelling (both)

Grind by mixing with beans and rub paste on affected part

Verbascum sinaiticum Benth.

Scrophulariaceae

AT00634

Tirnake (handega)

Herb

Leaf

Fire burn

Crush and apply fluid on the burned skin

     

Root

Tonsillitis

Crush, filter and drink with a cup

     

Root

Evil eye

Place it on fire with sulphur for fumigation

     

Root

Toothache

Chew it

     

Root bark

Haemorrhoids

Crush, filter and drink

     

Leaf

External wound

Crush and apply on affected part

     

Root

Anthrax (livestock)

Crush with seeds of Lepidium sativum, roots of Solanum incanum and whole part of Hypoestes forskaolii, filter and drink the fluid

       

Crush, mix with honey and eat it

     

Root

Dislocated bone

Tie around the affected part

Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal

Solanaceae

AT00630

Agol

Herb

Leaf

Eye infection

Boil it in water by mixing with leaves of Eucalyptus globulus, roots of Achyranthes aspera and Cynoglossum lanceolataum and leaves of Zehneria scabra and inhale the vapour

     

Whole

Evil eye

Crush by mixing with roots of Carissa spinarum and put it on for fumigation

     

Whole

Michi

Soak in water by mixing with leaves of Rumex nervosus and juices of Citrus aurantifolia and wash body with it

       

Boil by mixing with Justicia schimperiana and wash the body with it

       

Place it on by mixing with leaves of Zehneria scabra and Eucalyptus globulus and fumigate

     

Leaf

Itching/ scabies

Crush by mixing with leaves of Rumex nervosus, seeds of Lepidium sativum and bulbs of Allium sativum, soak it in water and wash affected part with it

     

Root

Paralysis

Place it on fire for fumigation

     

Root

Evil sprit

Crush by mixing with roots of Clerodendrum myricoides, Carissa spinarum, Jasminum gratissimum and Maytenus senegalensis and place it on fire for fumigation

1Unless indicated, the disease is that of human.

Table 2

Medicinal plants used to treat human diseases only

Scientific name

Family name

Voucher No.

Tigrigna name

Habit

Part used

Used for

Preparation and application

Abutilon bidentatum (Hochst.) A.Rich.

Malvaceae

AT00635

Neger negarito

Shrub

Leaf

Michi

Crush, filter and drink

     

Leaf

Abdominal pain

Crush, filter and drink by adding milk

Acacia abyssinica Hochst.ex Benth.

Fabaceae

AT00700

Memona

Tree

Bark

Herpes zoster

Crush and apply on affected part

     

Root

Evil eye

Crush and place on fire for fumigation

Acokanthera schimperi (A.DC.) Schweinf.

Apocynaceae

AT00649

Mebtie

Tree

Bark

Itching/ scabies

Boil it in water and wash body with it

Ajuga integrifolia Buch-Ham.

Lamiaceae

AT00675

Endifdif

Herb

Leaf

Tinea capitis

Crush and rub on the affected part

     

Leaf

Ascariasis

Crush, filter and drink

     

Leaf

Tap worm

Crush, filter and drink

     

Leaf

Abdominal pain

Crush, filter and drink

Allium sativum L.

Alliaceae

AT00709

Tsaeda shingurti

Herb

Bulb

Wound/sore

Crush by mixing with leaves of Dyschoriste radicans and Lepidium sativum and tie on the affected part

     

Bulb

Cough

Eat or smell the part or crush and eat it with honey

     

Bulb

Paralysis

Crush and rub on body

     

Bulb

Toothache

Chew with the affected tooth

     

Bulb

Itching/scabies

Crush by mixing with leaves of Rumex nervosus and Withania somnifera and seeds of Lepidium sativum, soak it in water and wash body with it

     

Bulb

Malaria

Crush and it alone or by mixing with seeds of Lepidium sativum and eat it

     

Bulb

Amoeba

Grind and eat it with honey

     

Bulb

Rabies

Eat the part

     

Whole

Michi

Crush and apply the paste or place it on fire for fumigation

Amorphophallus abyssinicus (Rich.) N.E.Br.

Araceae

AT00637

Hambagita

Herb

Leaf

Tinea capitis

Crush and apply on affected part

Argemone mexicana L.

Papaveraceae

AT00615

Eshok tilian, medafe

Herb

Latex

External wound

Apply it on the affected part until cure

     

Latex

Leshimaniasis

Apply it on affected part until cure

     

Leaf

Tinea capitis

Crush and apply

Artemisia abyssinica Sch.Bip. ex A.Rich.

Asteraceae

AT00678

Chena baria

Herb

Whole

Evil eye

Mix with bulbs of Allium sativum and smell it

     

Leaf

Michi

Crush by mixing with bulbs of Allium sativum and seeds of Lepidium sativum, add water and rub it on the skin

Asparagus africanus Lam.

Asparagaceae

AT00658

Kastanito

Climber

Root

Dislocated bone

Tie it on affected part

     

Root

Evil eye

Place on fire for fumigation

     

Root

Leshimaniasis

Crush, mix it with honey and apply on affected part

Becium grandiflorum (Lam.) Pic.Serm.

Lamiaceae

AT00609

Tebeb

Shrub

Root

Black spider bite

Chew and swallow the fluid

Bidens camporum (Hutch.) Mesfin

Asteraceae

AT00604

Tselime teneg

Herb

Leaf

Eye infection

Squeeze and apply liquid into the affected eye

     

Whole

Michi

Crush, filter and drink the fluid.

     

Whole

Paralysis

Dry, grind and place powder on fire for fumigation

Boscia salicifilia Oliv.

Capparaceae

AT00684

Awo, tetem agajen

Tree

Leaf

Toothache

Chew and hold it on diseased tooth

Capparis tomentosa Lam.

Capparaceae

AT00623

Andel

Shrub

Leaf

Evil eye

Place it on fire for fumigation

Carica papaya L.

Caricaceae

AT00710

Papaya

Tree

Leaf

Michi

Boil it in water by mixing with leaves of Eucalyptus globulus and inhale the vapour

     

Latex

Ring worm

Apply latex on affected part

Carissa spinarum L.

Apocynaceae

AT00607

Egam

Shrub

Root

Evil eye

Crush it and mix it with whole part of Withania somnifera and sulphur and put it on fire for fumigation

     

Root

Evil sprit

Crush by mixing with roots of Clerodendrum myricoides, Withania somnifera, Jasminum gratissimum and Maytenus senegalensis and place it on fire for fumigation

Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle

Rutaceae

AT00711

Lemon, lemin

Tree

Fruit

Tinea capitis

Rub it on affected part

     

Fruit

Michi

Soak it in water by mixing with leaves of Rumex nervosus and whole part of Withania somnifera and wash body with it

   

Fruit

External wound

Crush by mixing with seeds of Vicia faba and apply on affected part

     

Fruit

Wound/sore

Rub it on the affected part

Colutea abyssinica Kunth & Bouché

Fabaceae

AT00674

Taetaeta

Shrub

Root bark

Evil eye

Tie around the neck

 

Root

Toothache

Chew it

Cordia africana Lam.

Boraginaceae

AT00683

Awhi

Tree

Leaf

Fire burn

Place it in oven, grind, mix it with butter apply it on affected part

     

Leaf

Michi

Crush, filter and drink it alone or by mixing it with boiled coffee

     

Leaf

Diarrheal

Crush and drink it alone or by mixing it with boiled coffee

     

Leaf

Jaundice

Chew and swallow the fluid in the morning before food

     

Leaf

Eye infection

Rub on the affected part

     

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

Commicarpus pedunculosus (A.Rich.) Cufod.

Nyctaginaceae

AT00646

Ezni anchiwa

Herb

Leaf

Leshimaniasis

Crush, boil with butter and apply it on affected part

     

Root

Dislocated bone

Tie it on the affected part

Croton macrostachyus Hochst. ex Delile

Euphorbiaceae

AT00671

Tambok

Tree

Leaf

Jaundice

Boil it in water and drink it alone or with milk

     

Latex

Tinea capitis

Apply latex on affected part

     

Leaf

Malaria

Boil it in water and drink it with mancheba (milk product)

 

Bark

Abdominal pain

Crush with roots of Cucumis ficifolius, dry and eat it with butter

Cynoglossum lanceolatum Forssk.

Boraginaceae

AT00694 & AT00624

Ni michi, Dekik teneg

Herb

Leaf

Michi

Crush and add the fluid through the ear

       

Chew and swallow the fluid

       

Place it on fire for fumigation

     

Root

Eye infection

Crush and add the fluid into the affected eye

       

Boil it in water inhale the vapour

Cyphostemma oxyphyllum (A.Rich.) Vollesen

Vitaceae

AT00601 & AT00672

Efchiche, reno

Climber

Root

External wound

Crush and apply it the wound

     

Leaf and root

Snake bite

Eat it with honey

       

Crush or grind and eat it or drink it with mancheba (milk product)

       

Chew and swallow the fluid

       

Tie it on the body

Dovyalis abyssinica (A.Rich.) Warb.

Flacourtiaceae

AT00656

Mengolhats

Shrub

Fruit

Infection of amoeba, tape worm or ascariasis

Eat the fruit or drink its juice

Dyschoriste radicans (Hochst. ex A.rich.) Nees.

Acanthaceae

AT00638

Taetaeta bayta

Herb

Leaf

Anthrax

Crush it by mixing with leaves of Cucumis ficifolius, add honey and apply it affected part

     

Leaf

Wound/sore

Crush it by mixing with saliva, salt, seeds of Lepidium sativum and bulbs of Allium sativum and apply or tie on the affected part

Erythrina abyssinica Lam. Ex DC.

Fabaceae

AT00602

Zibabeo

Tree

Root bark

Tinea capitis

Crush, mix it with butter and apply on the affected part

Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh.

Myrtaceae

AT00673

Keyh kalamites

Tree

Leaf

Eye infection

Boil it with water and inhale its vapour

Eucalyptus globules Labill.

Myrtaceae

AT00657

Tseada kalamintos

Tree

Leaf

Eye infection /michi/cough

Boil it with leaves of Carica papaya in water and inhale its vapour

     

Leaf

Michi

Place it on fire with whole part of Withania somnifera and leaves of Zehneria scabra for fumigation

       

Boil it by mixing with leaves of Zehneria scabra Cynoglossum lanceolataum and whole part of Withania somnifera in water and inhale its vapour

Euphorbia sp.

Euphorbiaceae

AT00697

Tekeze

Herb

Root and leaf

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

     

Root

Ascariasis

Chew and swallow the fluid

Ficus palmata Forssk.

Moraceae

AT00665

Beles adgi

Shrub

Leaf

External wound

Crush it by mixing with leaves and latex of Calotropis procera and apply paste on affected part

     

Latex

Ring worm

Apply latex on affected part

     

Leaf

Ear diseases

Crush and liquid through the ear

Ficus vasta Forssk.

Moraceae

AT00651

Daero

Tree

Bark

Ascariasis

Crush and it with honey

Hagenia abyssinica (Bruce) J.F.Gmel.

Rosaceae

AT00714

Habi

Tree

Leaf, fruit and flower

Tape worm

Crush, filter and drink the fluid alone or with milk

Heliotropium cinerascens DC. & A.DC.

Boraginaceae

AT00639

Amam gimel

Herb

Leaf

Fire burn

Crush and squeeze liquid onto the damaged part

     

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Crush leaves and apply on the shaved head of the sick child

     

Leaf

Lip diseases

Crush and spread it on the lips

     

Leaf

Michi

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

Hibiscus micranthus L.f.

Malvaceae

AT00620

Shigot adgi

Shrub

Leaf

Wound/sore

Crush it by mixing with saliva apply on the wound

Jasminium gratissimum Deflers.

Oleaceae

AT00703

Habi tselim

Climber

Root

Evil sprit

Crush by mixing with roots of Clerodendrum myricoides, Withania somnifera, Carissa spinarum and Maytenus senegalensis and place it on fire for fumigation

Kalanchoe quartiniana A.Rich.

Crassulaceae

AT00693

Adeaka, dekaeta

Herb

Leaf

Paralysis

Crush, add water and wash body with it

Kniphofia pumila (Ait.) Kunth.

Asphodelaceae

AT00705

Shingurti zibie

Herb

Bulb

Evil eye

Soak it in water with leaves of Rumex nervosus and wash body with it

Lantana trifolia L.

Verbenaceae

AT00667

Tsameo

Shrub

Leaf

Ascariasis

Boil it with milk or tea and drink

     

Leaf

Amoeba

Boil it in milk by mixing with roots of Hypoestes forskaolii and drink

Maytenus arbutifolia (A. Rich.) Wilczek

Celastraceae

AT00670

Atat

Shrub

Root

Itching/scabies

Boil it in water and washing body with it

Maytenus senegalensis (Lam.) Excell.

Celastraceae

AT00626

Kabkib

Tree

Root

Evil sprit

Crush by mixing it with roots of Clerodendrum myricoides, Withania somnifera, Carissa spinarum and Jasminum gratissimum and place it on fire for fumigation

     

Leaf

Scorpion bite

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Chew the leaves and spit juice into the mouse of the sick child

     

Leaf

Diarrhoea

Crush it, mix it with milk and drink

Medicago polymorpha L.

Fabaceae

AT00644

Teneg

Herb

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

Merendra bengalensis (Roxb.) Benth.

Lamiaceae

AT00605

Mesaguh

Shrub

Leaf

Ascariasis

Crush, filter and drunk the fluid

     

Leaf

Hypertension

Crush, filter and drunk the fluid

Myrica salicifolia A.Rich.

Myricaceae

AT00661

Nibie

Tree

Root and bark

Evil eye

Tie it on the body

       

Crush and add liquid through the nose

       

Tie and place it on fire for fumigation

     

Bark

Headache

Crush or grind and add apply liquid through the nose

Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst. ex Benth.

Lamiaceae

AT00645

Demekasie

Herb

Leaf

Michi

Boil and inhale the vapour

       

Crush and drink it with coffee

Olea europaea L. subsp. cuspidata (Wall. ex G.Don) Cif., L'Olivicoltore

Oleaceae

AT00663

Awlie

Tree

Leaf

Toothache

Chew it with the affected tooth

 

Bark

Malaria

Boil it in water and drink the fluid

     

Leaf

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

Oxalis corniculata L.

Oxalidaceae

AT00640

Chew mirakut

Herb

Bulb

Tap worm

Peel the external part and eat it alone or mixed with enjera (local food)

Phytolacca dodecandra L’Herit.

Phytolaccaceae

AT00662

Shibti

Climber

Whole

abortion

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Whole

Abdominal pain/malaria

Crush, filter and drink it with water or locally made beer or milk

     

Whole

Bloating

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

Plantago lanceolata L.

Plantaginaceae

AT00631

Ni likfti

Herb

Leaf

External wound

Crush and apply it on the affected part

Polygala abyssinica Fresen.

Polygalaceae

AT00669

-

Herb

Root

Snake bite, Spider bite

Chew and swallow the fluid

Rhamnus prinoides L’Herit.

Rhamnaceae

AT00666

Gesho

Shrub

Seed

Tinea capitis

Rub it on the affected part

 

Leaf

Itching/skin rash

Burn it in oven, crush, mix it with butter and apply on the skin

Rumex abyssinicus Jacq.

Polygonaceae

AT00692

Mequmeqo

Herb

Leaf and root

Headache

Adding to tea and drunk

     

Leaf

Ascariasis

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

   

Root

Toothache (tumour)

Crush and drink it with boiled coffee or tea

Rumex nervosus Vahl.

Polygonaceae

AT00608

Hehot

Shrub

L & Stem

Ascariasis

Eat or chew and swallow the fluid

     

Leaf

Michi

Soak it in water together with whole part of Withania somnifera and fruit of Citrus aurantifolia and wash body with it

     

Leaf

Itching /skin rash

Crush by mixing with leaves of Withania somnifera, seeds of Lepidium sativum and bulbs of Allium sativum, soak it in water and wash body with it

     

Leaf

Evil eye

Soak it in water with leaves of Rumex nervosus and wash body with it

Ruta chalepensis L.

Rutaceae

AT00664

Chena adam

Hoot

Leaf

Evil eye

Crush and drink it with boiled coffee

     

Leaf &fruit

Cough

Eat it with food

Salvia schimperi Benth.

Lamiaceae

AT00653

Meshendedo

Herb

Leaf

Ring worm

Crush and apply on affected part

Sarcostemma viminale (L.) R.Br.

Asclepiadaceae

AT00647

Halengi hibey

Climber

Root

Paralysis

Crush and apply on affected part

Silene macrosolen Steud. ex A.Rich.

Caryophyllaceae

AT00691

Saerosaero

Herb

Root

Snake repulsion

Place it on fire for fumigation

     

Root

Malaria

Crush and place it on fire for fumigation

Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench.

Poaceae

AT00698

Keyh leqa

Herb

Seed

Herpes zoster

Boil it in water and wash body with it

Thymus schimperi Ronniger

Lamiaceae

AT00660

Tesne

Herb

Whole

Toothache

Chew it with the affected tooth

   

Whole

Abdominal pain

Boil it with milk and drink

       

Chew and swallow the fluid

Trichodesma trichodesmoides (Bunge) Gurke.

Boraginaceae

AT00704

Ahimlto

Herb

Leaf

Abdominal pain

Crush and drink the fluid

     

Leaf

Bloating

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

Verbena officinalis L.

Verbenaceae

AT00619

Atush

Herb

Root

Tonsillitis

Chew it and spit juice into mouse of the sick child

       

Crush it, add boiled coffee and drink

       

Crush and place it on the shaved head of the sick child

     

Leaf

Michi

Place it on fore for fumigation

       

Crush, boil, filter and drink the fluid

     

Whole

Evil eye

Place it on fire with sulphur for fumigation

     

Whole

Abdominal pain

Crush, filter and drink the fluid or chew and swallow the fluid

     

Leaf

Ear diseases

Crush, add oil and apply some drops through the ear

     

Root

Ascariasis

Crush it by mixing with roots of Zehneria scabra, filter and drink the fluid

Vernonia bipontini Asch.

Asteraceae

AT00616

Endigendig

Shrub

Root

Child disease that break backbone

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

     

Root

Snake bite

Crush, filter and drink the fluid

       

Chew and swallow the fluid

 

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

Vicia faba L.

Fabaceae

AT00702

Ater, alqay

Herb

Seed

Anthrax

Grind and apply the paste

     

Seed

External wound

Crush it by mixing with fruits of Citrus aurantifolia and apply on the affected part

     

Seed

Swelling

Grind it by mixing with seeds of Trigonella foenum-graecum and apply it on the affected part

Zehneria scabra (L.f.) Sond.

Cucurbitaceae

AT00655

Hafaflo

Climber

Leaf

Paralysis

Crush and tie it on the affected part

     

Leaf

Michi

Place it on fire by mixing with whole part of Withania somnifera & leaves of Eucalyptus globulus for fumigation

     

Leaf

External wound

Crush and apply it on the affected part

     

Leaf

Eye infection

Boiled it in water by mixing with leaves of Eucalyptus globulus, Withania somnifera, Achyranthes aspera and Bidens camporum and inhale the vapour

     

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid before food

     

Root

Ascariasis

Crush by mixing it with Verbena officinalis, filter and drink the juice

Zingiber officinale Roscoe.

Zingiberaceae

AT00715

Zingible

Herb

Root

Abdominal pain

Chew and swallow the fluid

     

Bulb

Vomiting and diarrhea

Chew and swallow the fluid

Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Desf.

Rhamnaceae

AT00622

Geba, kusra

Tree

Leaf

Dandruff

Dry, grind, mix it with butter and rub it on the affected part

     

Leaf

Head wound infection

Crush and rub it on the affected part

Table 3

Medicinal plants used to treat livestock diseases only

Scientific name

Family name

Voucher No.

Tigrigna name

Habit

Part used

Used for

Preparation and application

Buddleja polystachya Fresen.

Budlejaceae

AT00628

Metere

Shrub

Leaf

Leeches

Crush and add liquid through the nose

Dregea schimperi (Decne.) Bullock.

Asclepiadaceae

AT00689

Shanqoq

Climber

Leaf

Rabbis

Crush and drink the fluid

Leucas abyssinica (Benth.) Briq.

Lamiaceae

AT00629

Siwa karni

Shrub

Leaf

Eye infection

Chew it and spit juice into the affected eye

     

Root

Urine retention

Tie it on the tail

Lycopersicum esculantum Mill.

Solanaceae

AT00712

Komodere

Herb

Leaf

Leeches

Crush and add fluid through their nose

Nicotiana glauca Graham

Solanaceae

AT00613

Chenawi (tegegwe)

Shrub

Leaf

Lice and ticks infestation (livestock)

Crush by adding water and smear on affected part or wash with it

     

Leaf

Leeches infestation (livestock)

Crush, filter and add fluid through the nose

Nicotiana tabacum L.

Solanaceae

AT00676

Timbako

Herb

Leaf

Leeches infestation (livestock)

Crush and add fluid through the nose

     

Leaf

Scabies and lice infestation (livestock)

Crush, add water and wash with it

Plumbago zeylanica L.

Plumbaginaceae

AT00701

Afthi

Herb

Root

Wound (livestock)

Grind and apply on affected part

Pterolobium stellatum (Forssk.) Brenan.

Fabaceae

AT00696

Qenteftefe

Shrub

Root

Dislocated bone

Operate the damaged part and put remedy mixed with butter into it

Diseases treated

The plants were used to treat 47 human and 19 livestock diseases. Of the total medicinal plants, 56% were used to treat human diseases only (Table 1), 37% were used against diseases of both human and domestic animals (Table 2) and 7% were employed to treat diseases of domestic animals only (Table 3). With regard to human diseases, abdominal pain was the one against which a high number of medicinal plants (26 species) were prescribed, followed by wound (21 species), febrile illnesses (19 species), evil eye (19 species), toothache (15 species), ascariasis (15 species), anthrax (14 species), Tinea capitis (12 species), snake bite (10 species), tonsillitis (10 species), eye infection (10 species) and itching (10 species). Preference ranking exercise on six medicinal plants used to treat abdominal pain revealed Solanum mariginatum as the most preferred medicinal plant, followed by Cucumis ficifolius and Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata (Table 4).
Table 4

Preference ranking to medicinal plants used to treat abdominal pain

List of medicinal plants

Informants

 

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

R7

R8

R9

Total

Rank

Cucumis ficifolius

5

6

2

4

2

6

4

6

4

39

2nd

Solanum marginatum

6

5

4

5

6

4

5

2

6

43

1st

Euclea racemosa subsp. schimperi

2

3

1

3

4

1

6

5

2

27

5th

Abutilon bidentatum

1

1

3

6

1

2

3

1

1

19

6th

Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata

4

2

6

2

5

3

1

4

5

32

3rd

Thymus schimperi

3

4

5

1

3

5

2

3

3

29

4th

*Key: Where R represented respondents.

Plant parts used and modes of remedy preparations

According to interview results, leaf was the most commonly used plant part accounting for 43% of the total reported medicinal plants, followed by roots (26%) and whole part (6%). It was found out that most remedies were processed by crushing (34%), chewing (12%) or boiling (8%) or used in unprocessed form (8%). The majority (59%) of remedies were prepared from fresh materials only. Some remedies were prepared from either dried or fresh materials (30%) while few (11%) were prepared from dried materials only. Water and different additives such as honey, sugar, butter, salt, coffee, tea and milk were often used in the preparation of remedies. The additives were claimed to either reduce poisoning or improve flavour.

Routes of remedy administration and dosage

More than half (55%) of the remedy preparations were applied externally by spreading them directly on the affected part of the skin, tying or fumigation, and 45% of preparations were applied internally, of which oral was the most commonly used route of application accounting for 36% of the total remedies, followed by local (5%), nasal (3%) and auricular (1%).

Result shows that there was no agreement in measurement or unit used among the informants. Most informants used measuring units such as cup, spoon, drops and fingers but still differed in the doses they administered. Most of the remedies were reported to have no adverse effects except for some species such as Phytolacca dodecandra, Euphorbia abyssinica and Nicotiana glauca that were indicated to be poisonous both to human and domestic animals.

Multipurpose medicinal plants

Result of direct matrix ranking conducted by nine key informants on seven selected multipurpose medicinal plants showed Cordia africana as the most preferred multipurpose plant, followed by Eucalyptus globules, Opuntia ficus-indica and Dodonia angustifolia (Table 5).
Table 5

Direct matrix ranking exercise on seven multiple purpose medicinal plants

Species use

Acacia abyssinica

Acacia etbaica

Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata

Cordia africana

Dodonia angustifolia

Opuntia ficus-indica

Eucalyptus globulus

Medicine

1

3

5

6

4

2

7

Fire wood

2

3

4

7

5

1

6

Construction

2

3

4

5

6

0

7

Fence

6

7

1

2

3

5

4

Forage

6

4

5

2

3

7

0

Edible fruit

0

0

0

6

0

7

0

Total

17

20

19

28

21

22

24

Rank

7th

5th

6th

1st

4th

3rd

2nd

Marketability of medicinal plants

There were no reports of medicinal plants being sold in open markets solely for their medicinal use. But, some medicinal plants were indicated to be sold in local market but for their uses as food, spices and beverages. These include Allium sativum (spice), Carica papaya (food), Citrus aurantifolius (food), Lepidium sativum (spice), Lycopersicum esculantum (food), Opuntia ficus-indica (food), Rhamnus prinoides (additive for fermented beverages), Ruta chalepensis (spice), Sorghum bicolor (food), Trigonella foenum-graecum (spice), Vicia faba (food), Zingiber officinale (spice) and Ziziphus spina-christi (food).

Habitats and conservation status of medicinal plants

Out of the total medicinal plants, 84 (74%) were obtained from wild, 16 (14%) were cultivated in home gardens, and 14 (12%) were either grown in homegardens or harvested from the wild.

According to informants, nowadays search for some medicinal plants, especially trees and some shrubs, required a lot of time and travelling long distances. Of the total reported medicinal plants, 48% were rarely encountered, while 43% were commonly found and the rest (9%) were moderately or occasionally encountered. Result of preference ranking exercise on six medicinal plants, reported by the most informants in the District as threatened species, shows that that Myrica salicifolia was among the highly threatened species, followed by Boscia salicifolia, Acokanthera schimperi, Acacia abyssinica, Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata and Acacia abyssinica. The principal threats of medicinal plants in the area were reported to include drought, overgrazing and firewood collection. Informants ranked drought as the most serious threat to medicinal plants followed by overgrazing, firewood collection, agricultural expansion, soil erosion and collection of other different factors.

Discussion

Despite the large scale environmental degradation and recurrent droughts, there is still rich knowledge on the use of medicinal plants in Kilte Awlaelo District. A total of 114 medicinal plants are in use in the study District to treat various human and animal diseases. Similar studies undertaken in Ofla District, Tigray Region, Ethiopia, came up with 113 medicinal plants [15]. As compared to human diseases, diseases of domestic animals in the District were treated with a relatively fewer number of plant species, which could be due to the less number of diseases affecting the later. Similar findings were reported by studies conducted elsewhere in Ethiopia [16, 17]. High number of medicinal plants is used in the treatment of abdominal pain and this may suggest the high importance or prevalence of the disease in the study district. The fact that Solanum mariginatum is the most frequently used plant to treat abdominal pain could indicate better efficacy of the plant or its higher abundance in the study District.

Most of the plant species reported were also mentioned by authors in studies conducted elsewhere in Ethiopia; Of the medicinal plants reported by the current study, 59 were mentioned in Abdurhman [15], 50 in Senai [18], 46 in Giday and Ameni [19], 29 each in Getahun [20] and Teklehaymanot and Giday [21], 19 in Mesfin et al. [22], 16 in Abebe and Hagos [23], 15 in Yirga [7], 14 in Giday [24] and nine in Ragunathan and Abay [6].

Leaf was the most used plant part in the preparation of remedies in the District as compared to other parts. Many studies conducted elsewhere in Ethiopia also showed the dominance of leaves in the preparation of remedies [8, 19, 2427]. In contrast, another study [28] indicated root as the most commonly harvested plant part in a study carried out in five Districts of Tigray Region, Ethiopia. A study conducted in Mana Angetu District, in Oromia Region of Ethiopia also witnessed the common usage of root [29]. Harvesting root of a plant poses more threat to survival of plant than collecting other parts such as fruits, seeds and leaves [6].

According to current results, herbal remedies are largely prepared using fresh materials. There were also many plants from which parts were claimed to either be used as dried or fresh materials. The fact that both forms are used in the preparation of remedies in a given community creates a better opportunity for people to have access to materials used in medicine preparation across the different seasons of the year.

The current study indicated that there was no agreement in measurement or unit used among informants. Most informants reported use of measuring units such as cup, spoon, drops and fingers but still there was difference in doses. The variation in quantity, unit of measurement, and duration of treatment of prescribed plant preparations was also noted in a study conducted elsewhere in the country [28]. A study reported that lack of precision and standardization of preparations are two of the drawbacks of traditional health care system [20].

The greater proportions of remedies were applied externally, which is in agreement with result of a study conducted in Bench District, south-western Ethiopia [30]. However, studies conducted in Mana Angetu District, south-eastern Ethiopia [29] and Konta Special District, Southern Ethiopia [27] revealed that most medicinal plant preparations were taken internally, out of which drinking takes the highest proportion.

Nearly half of the medicinal plants recorded were herbs which may indicate their relatively better abundance as compared to other life forms. Other studies conducted elsewhere in Ethiopia also indicated the dominance of herbs [16, 21, 27, 28]. However, a study conducted in Mana Angetu District, Oromia Region of Ethiopia, reported the dominance of shrubs in medicinal plant preparations [29]. The fact that most of the woody plants in the current study area are depleted could have forced the local people to dwell more on herbaceous medicinal plants. It is not a common practice in the District to sell medicinal plants in local markets, which is in agreement with the finding of study carried out in Bench District, south-western Ethiopia [30].

The majority of medicinal plants in the study District were obtained from the wild. This result agrees with that of other studies conducted elsewhere in the country [14, 19, 24, 26, 27, 31]. As most of medicinal plants in the District are harvested from the wild, they are highly exposed to various anthropogenic and natural factors and as a result many of them are rarely encountered. Special attention is needed to be given to the medicinal plants that were indicated by preference ranking exercise as the most threatened ones.

There is little practice of cultivating medicinal plants in the area, which is in agreement with other studies conducted elsewhere in the country [15, 24, 26]. The local community in the study District is not giving much attention for management of medicinal plants. This could be explained by the lack of knowledge among ordinary people about the importance of medicinal plants as most of them are only known by few knowledgeable people.

Conclusion

Despite the large scale environmental degradation and recurrent drought, medicinal plants are still playing significant role in the management of various human and livestock diseases in Kilte Awulaelo District. In the District, 114 medicinal plants were reported to be used to treat various human and livestock diseases. Relatively higher number of medicinal plants was used in the treatment of human diseases as compared to that used against livestock diseases, which might be attributed to the higher number of diseases affecting the former. Result demonstrated the usage of high number of medicinal plants to treat abdominal pain, probably suggesting high importance or prevalence of the disease in the study District. Solanum mariginatum was the most frequently used plant to treat abdominal pain and this could indicate better efficacy or higher abundance of the plant in the study District. Leaf was the most frequently used plant part in the preparation of remedies in the District. Herbs took the higher proportion of the reported medicinal plants, which could be an indication of their relatively better abundance as compared to other life forms. Recurrent drought was reported to have seriously threatened medicinal plant resources in the study area. Despite this fact, there is little effort in the District to cultivate or mange medicinal plants. Thus awareness is needed be raised among local people on sustainable utilization and management of the plant resources. Ex situ and in situ conservation measures should be taken to protect the medicinal plants of the District from further destruction and special attention should be given to the medicinal plants that were indicated by preference ranking exercise as the most threatened ones.

Declarations

Acknowledgments

Our appreciation goes to the people of Kilte Awulaelo District for their positive response, sharing their valuable knowledge and time as well as for their tremendous generosity and hospitality. We also thank the Kilte Awlaelo District offices of Rural Agricultural Development, Health, Administration and Plan and Finance for their provision of information and support letter during data collection.

We thank Jimma University for its financial support to carry out this research and the Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University for the provision of some facilities required for identification of plants. We are also indebted to Dr. Remesh Moochikkal of Jimma University for provision of some reference materials.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Biology, Jimma University
(2)
Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University

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