Open Access

Study of plants traditionally used in public and animal health management in Seharti Samre District, Southern Tigray, Ethiopia

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine201511:22

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-015-0015-5

Received: 5 September 2014

Accepted: 28 February 2015

Published: 15 March 2015

Abstract

Background

In Ethiopia, medicinal plants have continued to play vital role in fulfilling human and livestock healthcare needs of different communities. However, these valuable resources are being depleted mainly due to agricultural expansion and deforestation. Therefore, immediate action is required to conserve these resources and document the associated knowledge. The purpose of this study was, thus, to document and analyze information associated with medicinal plants that are used in managing public and animal health problems in Seharti Samre District, Southern Tigray, Ethiopia.

Methods

Ethnobotanical data were collected from July 1, 2011 to December 30, 201 mainly using semi-structured interviews with informants sampled using purposive sampling technique and through field observations.

Results

The study revealed the use of 90 medicinal plant species in Seharti Samre District for the treatment of several human and livestock diseases. The plants belonged to 46 families and 82 genera. The majority of the medicinal plants were indicated to be harvested from the wild. Leaf was the most frequently harvested plant part accounting for 44% of the reported plants, followed by roots (16%), whole plants (10%) and seeds (8%). The most widely used method of preparation was crushing (37%), pounding (15%) and chewing (13%). Most medicinal plants were applied internally (64.6%), followed by external application on the skin (35.4%). Febrile illness is the disease group in the study area that scored the highest ICF value (0.97), followed by cardio-vascular problems (0.97) and evil eye (0.95). Different preference ranking exercises were also used to determine the most preferred and potential medicinal plants in the study area.

Conclusion

In Seharti Samre District, medicinal plants are still playing important role in the management of various human and livestock diseases, many of which are harvested for their leaf parts. However, activities of claimed medicinal plants need to be evaluated before recommending them for their wider use. Evaluation priority should be given to medicinal plants with the highest informant agreement as such plants are believed to have better activity.

Keywords

Medicinal plantsPreference rankingSeharti SamreTraditional medicineEthiopia

Background

The problem of health in African countries, including Ethiopia, is very acute as people have no full access to government and private health services. The absence or inaccessibility of modern healthcare services and other factors such as high cost of modern drugs and services and better curing of herbal remedies against some chronic diseases has caused a large percentage of the population to rely on traditional medicine, and mostly on herbal remedies [1,2], for its primary health-care needs. In Africa, up to 80% of the population relys on traditional medicine to help meet its health care needs [3].

Ethiopia is a land of high variation in landscape, flora and fauna, multiplicity of ethnic groups with complex multicultural diversity, languages, cultures and beliefs which have in turn contributed to the high diversity of traditional knowledge and practices of the people including the use of medicinal plants. In Ethiopia, medicinal plants play important role in fulfilling human and livestock health care needs of different communities. Traditional use of medicinal plants has remained as the main alternative solution for different human and livestock health problems largely due to shortage of pharmaceutical products and modern health service stations, unaffordable prices of conventional drugs and drug resistance [4].

Today, many Ethiopian medicinal plants are facing extinction or severe genetic erosion mainly due to agricultural expansion, deforestation, over exploitation and destructive harvesting. Securidaca longipedenculata and Warburgia ugandensis are among the popular medicinal plants in Ethiopia that are being threatened due to over exploitation and destructive harvesting. Hagenia abysinica is another medicinal plant that is being depleted as a result of over exploitation [4]. For most of the threatened and endangered medicinal plants, no conservation action has been taken, and there is no even a complete inventory of these plants. Much of the knowledge on the uses of medicinal plants in the country is still held only by traditional societies and is usually transmitted verbally [5]. Unless the plants are conserved and the associated ethnomedicinal knowledge documented, there is a danger that both the valuable medicinal plants and the knowledge could vanish forever. As it is happening elsewhere in the country, medicinal plants of the Seharti Samre District of Tigray are facing the danger of being lost unless appropriate documentation and conservation measures are taken.

A number of ethnobotanical studies have previously been conducted in different parts of Tigray to document the use of medicinal plants [6-14]. For example, studies conducted by Teklay et al. [12], Abdurhman [9] and Zenebe et al. [13] reported the use of 114, 113 and 68 medicinal plants in Kilte Awlaelo, Ofla and Asgede Tsimbila districts, respectively. However, there is no record that indicates the documentation of medicinal plants used by the people of Seharti Samre District. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to document and analyze traditional knowledge of medicinal plants used to manage human and animal health problems in Seharti Samre District, Southern Tigray, Ethiopia.

Methods

Description of the study area

The study was conducted in Seharti Samre District (Woreda) located between 12030’ and 13002’ latitude north and 38059’ and 39026’ longitude east in south east of Tigray at about 57 km southwest of Mekelle, the capital city of Tigray Region and 820 km north of Addis Ababa (Figure 1). The District has undulated type of landscape with altitude ranging from 1470 to 2370 meter above sea level (m.a.s.l) (Seharti Samre District Rural Agricultural Office, unpublished data of 2011). The District has warm and hot climate conditions and unimodal rainfall distribution that extends from April to September with the highest peak in July and August.
Figure 1

Map of the study area (data source: Ethio GIS).

The great majority of inhabitants in the District belong to Tigray ethnic group. According to unpublished report of 2011 obtained from Seharti Samre District Health Office, the public healthcare coverage of the District reaches 85%. However, there are people who still rely on traditional medicine due to low cost of the service and more preference to the system. A study by Yirga [8] reported the use of 27 medicinal plants in the neighbouring District of Enderta. In the District, there are five health centres and eighteen health posts. Pneumonia, skin diseases, malaria, intestinal parasites infection and diarrhoea, acute respiratory tract infection, gastritis, urinary tract infection, diarrhoea, snake bites and conjunctivitis are the top ten human health problems in the District (Seharti Samre District Health Office, unpublished report, 2011). Anthrax, black-leg, trypanosomiasis, bloat, gland swelling, cough and intestinal diseases are the major livestock diseases in the District (Seharti District Samre Veterinary Health Office, unpublished report, 2011).

Selection of study sites

The study was conducted in Seharti Samre District from July 1, 2011 to December 30, 2012. Prior to conducting this study, proposal approval letter was received from Jimma University Ethical Review Committee (ERC) and verbal informed consent from each informant who participated in the study.

Sampling of informants

Purposive sampling method was employed to select 66 traditional healers and knowledgeable individuals (55 men and 11 women) between the ages of 20 and 76 years for semi-structured interviews. Informants that were involved in preference/priority and direct matrix rankings were selected randomly from those healers and knowledgeable individuals that were already sampled for the interviews.

Collection of data and plant specimens

Semi-structured interviews and field observation [15,16] were employed to collect ethnobotanical data. Individual interviews were held with informants to gather data on medicinal plants with regards to plants parts used, methods of preparation, dosage, route of administration, diseases treated, threats, conservation status, cultivation practice, marketability, acquisition/transfer of indigenous knowledge and attitudes of people towards using such plants. All communications with informants were held in Tigrigna, the official language of Tigray Region. Specimens of medicinal plans were collected, dried and identified with the help of botanists at Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology and the National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University (AAU) and were deposited at the Jimma University Herbarium.

Data analysis and presentation

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software was employed for organizing and analysis of ethnobotanical data. Descriptive statistical analysis was employed to determine the number of medicinal plants used and ailments treated in the study District, the most frequently used plant parts, main routes of remedy administration and to identify popular medicinal plants, main ways of knowledge acquisition/transfer, major habitats of the plants and their marketability.

Informant consensus factor (ICF) was calculated for each ailment group to estimate level of agreement among informants in the selection of plants against a given category. ICF was calculated using the formula \( \mathrm{I}\mathrm{C}\mathrm{F}=\frac{nur- nt}{nur-1} \) [17] where ICF stands for informant consensus factor, nur for number of use citations in each category and nt for number of species used.

Preference ranking technique [18] was used to identify the most preferred medicinal plants used in the District to treat snake bite based on informants’ personal preference or perception. Snake bite is one of the ten most important human health problems in the District. It is also among the ten diseases with the highest ICF values. The most preferred plant was assigned the highest score (6), while the least effective one was given the lowest value (1). For this purpose, eight individuals were randomly selected from the people that had already served as key informants. Each informant was provided with fresh specimens of six medicinal plants having the highest frequency of report by informants for being used to treat snake bite. The informants were then asked to rank the plants according to their degree of preference.

Priority ranking exercise [18] was also performed by seven informants to rank different factors perceived as threats to medicinal plants in the study area based on level of destructive impacts. During exercises, informants assigned values 1–4, 1 for the least destructive threat and 4 for the most destructive one.

Direct matrix ranking [16,18] was performed for six commonly reported multipurpose medicinal plants. Based on the relative benefits obtained from each plant, a group of five informants were asked to discuss and assign, to each attribute, a value between 1 and 4 (1 for the lowest value and 4 for the highest value). Scores were then added and plants ranked.

Results

Acquisition/transfer of medicinal plants knowledge

Majority (65.6%) of informants reported that transfer of knowledge on medicinal plants in the study District took place along the family line, from parents to children. Some informants (21.2%) reported close relatives as sources of knowledge while other informants (9.1%) indicated transfer of the knowledge on payment (9.1%) and few reported acquisition of knowledge through trial and error methods (6.1%). Results of interviews also revealed that 69.7% of the informants were willing to transfer their knowledge of medicinal plants along the family line verbally and 9.1% reported that they were happy to transfer the knowledge verbally assisted by practical demonstration. Other informants (21.2) reported that they had no interest to transfer their knowledge at all.

Comparison of medicinal plant knowledge between age groups

Analysis was made to compare medicinal plant knowledge among two age groups Result revealed that members belonging to the age group above 40 year reported an average of 2 medicinal plants while those belonging to the age group between 20 and 40 years reported an average of less one medicinal plant. During interviews and field visits, informants above 40 years of age were found to be very conversant on how to collect plants, process remedies and administer them. Besides, older informants had stronger belief in the curative effect of their medicinal plants as compared to the younger generation.

Medicinal plants reported and diseases treated

Ninety medicinal plant species that were used for the treatment of 51 human (Table 1) and 25 animal diseases (Table 2) were reported by the informants in Seharti Samre District. Of the total medicinal plants, 62 were used to treat human diseases only, 25 to treat both human and animal diseases and three to mange animal diseases only. The medicinal plants belonged to 46 families and 82 genera. The family Solanaceae was represented by 9 species, Lamiaceae by 8 species, Fabaceae by 6 species, Asteraceae and Euphorbiaceae by 5 species each, Malvaceae by 4 species, Boraginaceae and Capparidaceae by 3 species each. The families Rutaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Apocynaceae, Brassicaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Oleaceae, Rhamnaceae and Vitaceae contributed 2 species each and the remaining 28 families were represented by one species each. Most of the recorded medicinal plants were shrubs and herbs accounting for 42.2% and 39%, respectively, followed by trees (14.4%) and climbers (4.4%).
Table 1

List of medicinal plants used to treat human diseases

Scientific name

Family

Local name

Habit

Parts used

Disease treated

Mode of preparation and administration

Application route

Voucher no

Achyranthes aspera L.

Amaranthaceae

mechelo

Herb

Root

Arthritis

Roots chopped into pieces; seven pieces are put on clean thread and tied on the waist until recovered from the disease

Dermal

SA01303

Leaf

Herpes zoster

Leaves roasted on metal plate, pounded into powder , mixed with pure butter and smeared on affected part

Dermal

 

Acokanthera schimperi (A.DC.) Schweinf.

Apocynaceae

Mebtie (merez)

Tree

Leaf

Jaundice

Leaves are boiled in water for an hour and the patient takes a cup of the solution per day for seven days

oral

SA01333

Wound

Leaves are crushed and paste smeared on affected part

Dermal

 

Allium sativum L.

Alliaceae

Tsa’da shegurti

Herb

Bulb

Gastritis

Bulb is eaten with flatbread locally known as ‘enjera’

oral

SA01368

Evil eye

Smelling aroma of bulb

Nasal

 

Wound

Bulbs are crushed, squeezed and wound washed with the liquid until healed

Dermal

 

Ring worm

Rubbing affected area with bulb

dermal

 

Malaria

Bulb of Allium sativum, Artemisia afra, Ruta chalepensis and Lepidium sativum are crushed together and paste taken for five-seven days

oral

 

Aloe megalacantha Baker

Alloaceae

Ere

Shrub

Exudate

Malaria

Exudate, mixed with honey, is taken orally with coffee cup for three days

oral

SA01384

Diabetes

Coffee cup of exudate taken every morning for long period of time

oral

 

Impotence

Smearing penis with exudate

Dermal

 

Dandruff

Exudate smeared on head skin for a week

Dermal

 

wound

Exudates smeared on wound

  

Alysicarpus ferrugineus Hochst. & Steud. ex A. Rich.

Fabaceae

Hambo hambo bita

Herb

Root

Jaundice

Root chewed for five days

oral

SA01336

Argemone mexicana L.

Papaveraceae

Medafe tilian

Herb

Leaf

wound

Fresh leaves are collected, crushed and paste applied on affected part

Dermal

SA01381

eczema

Argemone mexicana leaves crushed and powder sprayed on affected part. After two days, leaves of Dodonaea angustifolia roasted on iron sheet, pounded into powder are again sprayed on affected part

Dermal

 

Artemisia afra Jacq. ex willd.

Asteraceae

Chena baria

Herb

Leaf

Evil eye

Aroma of the leaves help in expelling evil eye

nasal

SA01309

Evil eye

Leaves of Artemisia afar and Ruta chalepensis and bulb of Allium sativum are crushed and aroma sniffed

nasal

 

Asparagus africanus Lam.

Asparagaceae

Kasta ansti

Shrub

Root

impotence

Roots are pounded into powder, mixed with meat soup and vegetable and taken every evening for a month

oral

SA01340

Evil eye

Root of Carissa spinarum and leaves of Ruta Chalepensis, Artemisia afra, Cucumis ficifolius and Asparagus africanus are crushed and fumigated indoor

nasal

 

Boscia salicifolia Oliv.

Capparidaceae

Shesha

Shrub

Leaf

Ear infection

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and liquid filtered with clean cotton and three drops are applied on infected ear

ear

SA01329

Cadaba rotundifolia Forssk.

Capparidaceae

Mora

Shrub

Leaf

toothache

Chew leaves and hold paste on affected tooth

oral

SA01328

Calotropis procera (Ait.) Ait.

Asclepiadaceae

Ginda

Shrub

Flower

Kidney stone

Dry flower crushed into powder and mixed with dough of wheat and medicine prepared tablet form is baked on iron plate and three to four tablets are taken for long period of time

oral

SA01375

Latex

Haemorrhoids

Latex is smeared on affected area

Dermal

 

Wart

Cover the first appearing wart with latex

Dermal

 

Scabies

smear whole affected area with latex

Dermal

 

wound

Dress wound with latex

Dermal

 

Root

Tuberculosis

Roots of C. procera is crushed into powder and mixed with pounded bark of Croton macrostachyus and leaves of Ficus palmata and sniffed

nasal

 

Calpurnia aurea (Alt.) Benth.

Fabaceae

Hetsawets

Tree

Seed

Gonorrhoea, syphilis

Seeds are roasted on iron sheet, ground into powder, mixed with honey, prepared in the form of tablet and three tablets are taken every day for five days. As a side effect, it causes headache

oral

SA01345

Amoebiasis

Seeds are roasted on iron sheet, ground into powder, mixed with honey, dissolved in cup of water and taken for three days

oral

 

Capparis tomentosa Lam.

Capparidaceae

Andiel

Shrub

Root

Evil eye

Patient fumigates himself with smoke of burning root

 

SA01337

Carissa spinarum (Forssk.) Vahl.

Apocynaceae

Agam

Shrub

Root

Evil eye

Crushed root is fumigated on a clay plate to expel evil eye

Nasal

SA01316

Leaf

Febrile illness

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and liquid taken with coffee

oral

 

Fruit

Wound

Fruits are crushed, dried, pounded into powder and sprayed on wound

skin

 

Chenopodium murale L.

Chenopodiaceae

Hamedmado, hamlikebbo

Herb

Leaf

Tetanus

Leaves are crushed, mixed with butter, roasted on metal plate and smeared on affected area before covering it with cotton cloth. Application is repeated three to four times within a week

Dermal

SA01332

Vitiligo

Leaves are crushed and pasted applied on affected area

Dermal

 

Citrus lemon (L.) Burm. f.

Rutaceae

Lomin

Shrub

Fruit

Haemorrhoids

Fruits and leaves are pounded, mixed with butter and applied on affected area

anal

SA01369

Blood pressure

Fruit juice is added into cup of water and drunk every morning

oral

 

cough

Fruit decoction with sugar added into it is taken orally

oral

 

Tetanus

Crushed fruit is mixed with butter and applied on affected area and is covered with clean cotton

Dermal

 

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

Verbenaceae

  

Leaf

Arthritis/rheumatism

Apply butter on patient’s head and let him/her fumigated with leaves of the plant

nasal

SA01347

Conjunctivitis and trachoma

Leaves are crushed and added into boiling water and the patient steam baths himself

ophthalmic

 

Root

Evil eye

Roots are pounded into powder and sprinkled on fire to expel evil eye

  

Coffea arabica L.

Rubiaceae

Buna

Shrub

Seed

Amoebiasis

Seeds are roasted, pounded into powder, mixed with honey and taken orally

oral

SA01397

wound

Seeds are roasted, and pounded into powder and paste applied on affected part

Dermal

 

Fire burn

Seeds are roasted, pounded into powder and paste applied on affected area after mixing it with sap of Aloe megalacantha

Dermal

 

Colutea abyssinica Jaub. and Spach.

Fabaceae

Qaqata

Shrub

Leaf

wound

Leaves are pounded into powder and sprayed on wound

Dermal

SA01342

Commicarpus grandiflorus (A. Rich.) Standl.

Nyctaginaceae

Ezni Tawa

Herb

Leaf

Furunclosis

Leaves are crushed and paste smeared on affected area

Dermal

SA01354

Commiphora schimperi (Berg) Engl.

Burseraceae

Anqa

Tree

Latex

wound

Latex smeared on wound

Dermal

SA01323

Cordia africana Lam.

Boragenaceae

Awhi

Tree

Leaf

febrile illness

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and liquid taken with coffee

oral

SA01367

Croton macrostachyus Del.

Euphorbiaceae

Tanbuk

Tree

Leaf

diarrhoea

Leaves are crushed squeezed and a cup of juice taken with honey

Oral

SA01373

Bark

Bloat

A bark is dried, pounded into powder and one to two spoons of powder are added into coffee or tea and taken for a week

oral

 

Root

jaundice

Root bark is dried, pounded into powder and two to three spoons of powder are added into a cup containing water. Treatment is taken for 21 days

oral

 

Leaf, bark

Sudden stomach ache

Dried bark/leaves are pounded into powder, one to two tea spoon of powder are added into skimmed milk and served once

oral

 

Bark

Leaf

Malaria

Dried bark is pounded into powder, two to three spoons of powder added into local beer and taken for a week once per day. The medicine could cause diarrhoea and vomiting

oral

 

scabies

Leaves are crushed, mixed with butter and dressed on affected part

Dermal

 

Leaf sap

Tinea versicolor

Sap of leaves are applied on affected area

Dermal

 

Leaf

Urine retention

Leaves are added onto boiled water with sugar. Solution is then taken every morning for seven days

oral

 

Cucumis ficifolius A. Rich.

Cucurbitaceae

Ramboramb, lomin bita

Herb

Leaf

Anthrax

Leaves are either ground into powder or crushed, squeezed, filtered, mixed with coffee and taken with a coffee cup for two days

oral

SA01321

Root

Eye disease

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Jaundice

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Stomach ache

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Stomach ache following delivery

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Snake bite

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Fruit

Ear infection

Three drops of fruit juice are applied into ear for five days

ear

 
 

Tuberculosis

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Root

Teeth ache

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Fruit

Asthma

Fruits are washed, dried, ground into powder, added onto boiled coffee and drunk

oral

 

Root, leaf

Eczema

Roots and leaves are ground into powder, mixed with honey and dressed on affected area

Dermal

 

Fruit/leaf

Tetanus

Fruits and leaves are crushed, mixed with butter, heated on fire and applied on affected area and covered with clean cotton cloth. This is repeated for three days

dermal

 

Cucurbita pepo L.

Cucurbitaceae

Duba

Herb

Seed

Tapeworm

Seven roasted seeds are taken orally, followed by three hours of fasting

oral

SA01390

Fruit

Urine retention

Fruits are cooked and taken as soup

oral

 

Cynoglossum coeruleum Hochst. ex A.DC.

Boraginaceae

Teng Begie

Herb

Leaf

Febrile illness (michi)

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and liquid taken with coffee or its lotion is applied on skin

Oral or dermal

SA01359

Cyphostemma adenocaule (steud.ex A. Rich) Descoings ex Wild and Drummond

vitaceae

Aserkuka fetahkuka

Climber

Root

Skull wound

Dried roots are ground into powder, mixed with butter and dressed on affected area

Dermal

SA01346

Snake bite

Half of finger-sized root is chewed to detoxify poison

oral

 

Datura stramonium L.

Solanaceae

mestenager

Herb

Leaf

Tetanus

Fresh leaves are crushed, mixed with butter, heated and smeared on affected area before covering it with clean cotton cloth

Dermal

SA01312

Dandruff

Leaves are crushed and creamed on shaved head

Dermal

 

Seed

Teeth ache

Seeds are roasted on iron sheet and the patient inhales smoke

Oral/nasal

 

abortion

Half tea spoon of seeds are ground into powder, mixed with water and half of cup is drunk

oral

 

Leaf

Brain sharpness

Leaves are crushed, squeezed, filtered and a cup of juice is taken for some days

oral

 

Leishmaniasis

Leaves are crushed and pasted on affected area

dermal

 

Furunculosis

Leaves are crushed and pasted on affected area

Dermal

 

Herpes zoster

Leaves are roasted on iron sheet, pounded into powder, mixed with butter and smeared on affected area

Dermal

 

Scabies

Leaves are roasted on iron sheet, pounded into powder, mixed with butter and smeared on affected area

Dermal

 

eczema

Leaves are roasted on iron sheet and pounded in to powder. After mixed with pure butter smeared on affected area

Dermal

 

Dodonaea angustifolia L. f.

Sapindaceae

Tahsos

Tree

Leaf

Herpes zoster

Leaves are roasted, ground into powder, mixed with butter and smeared on affected area

Dermal

SA01327

wound

Leaf powder is sprayed on wound

Dermal

 

Erucastrum arabicum Drummond and Hemsely

Brassicaceae

Hamli gudible

Herb

Leaf

Ring worm

Leaves are rubbed on skin

Dermal

SA01317

Erythrina abyssinica Lam. ex DC.

Fabaceae

Zuwabue, enqui hebey

Tree

Bark

Evil eye

Put bark on fire and let patient to fumigate himself with smoke

nasal

SA01322

Eucalyptus globulus Labill.

Myrtaceae

Tsada Kelamitose

Tree

Leaf

Febrile illness (michi)

The patient baths himself with steam of boiled leaves

Oral/nasal

SA01376

Tinea pedis

Leaves are boiled in water and the patient washes his feet with the decoction

dermal

 

Euclea divinorum Hiern.

Ebenaceae

Kuliew

Shrub

Root

Scorpion bite

Roots are chewed to relieve pain

oral

SA01379

Root, stem

Rheumatism and arthritis

The patient spreads animal butter on his/her head, burn roots and stems on fire and baths him/herself with smoke

Dermal

 

Root

Urine retention

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Euphorbia cactus Boiss

Euphorbiaceae

Kolqual hamat

Shrub

Latex

Leishmaniasis

Latex is smeared on affected area

Dermal

SA01386

wound

Add few latex drops on wound

Dermal

 

Gonorrhoea and syphilis

Add three to four drops of latex on a piece of ‘enjera’ and eat it. Medicine is taken for five consecutive days. Overdose may cause diarrhoea and vomiting

oral

 

Root

Jaundice

Roots are ground into powder, mixed with honey and taken for seven days

oral

 

Latex

Ascariasis

Four drops of latex are mixed with sugar solution and taken once before diet

oral

 

leprosy

Latex smeared on affected area

Dermal

 

Euphorbia petitiana A. Rich.

Euphorbiaceae

Demaito demu

Herb

Latex

Ring worm

Latex smeared on affected area

Dermal

SA01348

Ficus palmata Forssk.

Moraceae

Beless

Tree

Latex

Wart

Latex smeared on the first growing wart

Dermal

SA01304

haemorrhoids

Latex smeared on affected area

Dermal

 

Wound

Dress wound with latex

Dermal

 

Foeniculum vulgare Miller

Apiaceae

shelan

Herb

Whole plant

Urine retention

Take solution of the plant boiled in water

oral

SA01362

Gomphocarpus fruticosus (L.) Aiton f.

Asclepiadaceae

Demaito bereka

Herb

Latex

Ringworm

Dress latex on affected area

Dermal

 

Leaves, stem

Arthritis

Ground leaves and stems, mix powder with butter and apply on affected body. Patient needs to expose himself to sunlight for an hour

Dermal

SA01343

Root

Abortion

Chew the root

oral

 

Gossypium herbaceum L.

Malvaceae

Tut

Shrub

Root

Snake bite

Roots are chewed to detoxify poison

oral

SA01363

Hibiscus micranthus L.f

Malvaceae

Segot Hamat

Shrub

Whole plant

typhus

House is fumigated with smoke to protect oneself from the disease

nasal

 

Hypoestes forskaolii (Vahl) R. Br.

Acanthaceae

Gerbia

Herb

Leaf

jaundice

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and juice taken orally

 

SA01315

Jasminum granditlorum L. subsp. floribundum (R.Br. ex Fresen.) P.S. Green

Oleaceae

habitselim

Shrub

Leaf

Ascariasis

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and cup of juice with sugar is taken orally

oral

SA01326

tapeworm

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and cup of juice with sugar is taken orally

oral

 

wound

Leaves are roasted on iron sheet ground into powder and are sprayed on wound

Dermal

 

vomiting

Leaves are chewed to stop vomiting

oral

 

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

Acanthaceae

Shemeza

Shrub

Leaf

Jaundice

Seven leaves of J. schimperiana and seven leaves of Croton mycrostachyus roasted on iron sheet, crushed into powder are eaten with ‘enjera’ daily for twenty-one days

oral

SA01301

A cup of leaf juice of the plant is taken daily for twenty-one days

oral

 

Klinia odora Forssk.

Asteraceae

Berier

Shrub

Whole plant

Snake bite, evil eye, evil spirit

House is fumigated to repel snakes and expel evil spirit

nasal

SA01378

Leonotis ocymifolia (Bunn. f.) Iwarsson

Lamiaceae

Keyh Embeba Ketater

Herb

Whole plant

Febrile illness (michi)

Fumigating oneself with smoke of plant

nasal

SA01371

Eye disease

Fumigating oneself with smoke of plant

nasal

 

Lepidium sativum L.

Brassicaceae

Shenfa

Herb

Seed

Amoebiasis and diarrhoea

Seeds are ground into powder, mixed with honey and then taken for three days

Dermal

SA01310

Gland TB

Open swelling/wound, add small amount of sulphur and covered it with seed paste of L. sativum and latex of C. procera

Dermal

 

Evil spirit

Grind seeds, add powder into water and spray solution indoor to expel evil sprit

Dermal

 

malaria

L. sativum seeds are crushed with leaves of R. chalepensis and A. Sativum and then taken orally for seven days

Dermal

 

Premna oligotricha L.

Lamiaceae

Sasa hadima

Shrub

Leaf

Ascariasis

Leaves are crushed and squeezed and a cup of juice is taken once orally

 

SA01325

Linum usitatissimum L.

Linaceae

Entatie

 

Seed

Placental retention

Seeds roasted on iron sheet and grinding into powder, then cooked in the presence of honey and taken for a month before delivery

oral

SA01386

amoebiasis

Seeds are ground, mixed with water and a cup of juice drunk in the morning

oral

 

Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.

Solanaceae

Tsebhi Awun

Herb

Leaf

Anthrax

Leaves are crushed, mixed with honey and swallowed

oral

SA01352

Maesa lanceolata Forssk.

Myrsinaceae

Saira

Tree

Leaf

Scabies

Leaves are crushed and juice smeared on affected part

Dermal

SA01302

Seed

Tapeworm

Seeds are ground, powder mixed with water and a cup of juice taken orally once

oral

 

Malva verticillata L.

Malvaceae

Enkeftiha

Herb

Leaf

Anthrax

Leaves are crushed, mixed with honey and swallowed

oral

SA01330

Melia azedarach L.

Meliaceae

Neem

Tree

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Crush leaves, filter and drunk the juice

oral

SA01382

Seed, leaf

Dandruff

Seeds and leaves are crushed and paste applied on head skin

Dermal

 

Leaf

Malaria

Leaves are crushed and squeezed, and a cup of solution taken orally daily for five days

oral

 

Tooth decay

Leaves are chewed and spat

Meriandra dianthera (Roth, ex. Roem. & Schult.)Briq.

Lamiaceae

Mesaguh

Tree

Leaf

Blood pressure

Leaves are boiled in water and solution taken daily for a month by cup of tea until improvement

oral

SA01339

Diarrhoea

Leaves are ground, powder is mixed with water and a cup of solution taken orally

oral

 

malaria

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and a cup of juice taken daily for five days

  

Nicotiana tabacum L.

Solanaceae

Tunbako

Herb

Root

Snake bite

Roots are chewed or crushed and paste applied on wound

oral

SA01308

Ocimum lamiifolium. Hochst.Ex Benth.

Lamiaceae

Dem akher (demekasie)

Shrub

Leaf

Febrile illness (michi)

Leaves are crushed and solution drunk with coffee. Juice is also smeared on skin

oral/dermal

SA01311

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

Oleaceae

Awlie

Tree

Leaf

Asthma

Leaves are boiled in water and a cup of solution drunk every evening with skimmed milk to arrest vomiting

oral

SA01374

vomiting

Leaves are chewed to stop vomiting

oral

 

Amoebiasis

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and a cup of taken orally

oral

 

Eye infection

Leaves are crushed, squeezed, filtered and two to three drops are added daily into the eye for five days

ophthalmic

 

Teeth ache

Leaves are crushed and paste applied on affected area

Dermal

 

Ascariasis

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and a cup of juice taken orally for one day

oral

 

Ormocarpum pubescence (Hochst.) Cuf. ex Gillett

Fabaceae

Alendia

Shrub

Stem

rheumatism

Stems burned on prepared place at home and females bathing the smoke putting butter on their head

nasal

SA01320

Orobanche minor Smit.

Orobanchaceae

Selmi

Herb

Whole plant

Eye disease

Burn the plant on clay dish and let the patient fumigate himself with smoke

nasal

SA01338

Otostegia integrifolia Benth.

Lamiaceae

Chendog

Shrub

Leaf

Blood pressure

Leaves are boiled boiling in water and a cup of solution drunk every morning until recovery

oral

SA01357

Oxalis anthelmintica A. Rich

Oxalidaceae

Habachego

Herb

Leaf

Heart failure

leaves are eaten for long period of time (about a year)

oral

SA01318

Tapeworm

Patient eats some and remains on diet for next three hours

oral

 

Pavonia burchellii (DC.) Dyer.

Malvaceae

Neger negarito

Shrub

Leaf

Stomach ache

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and a cup of juice taken orally

 

SA01388

cough

A cup of leaf juice is taken orally

  

Phytolacca dodecandra L’Herit.

Phytolacaceae

Shebti

Shrub

Root

Rabies

Dried root of the plant is powdered and mixed with local alcohol and a cup of solution drunk daily for twelve days. vomiting is its side effect and, therefore, restricted to children and pregnant women

oral

SA01387

Leaf

Gonorrhoea

Leaves of P. dodecandra and roots of C. macrostachyus are ground, powdered mixed with water and solution drunk with one to two cups of coffee

oral

 

Jaundice

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and one cup of juice taken daily for 21 days

oral

 

scabies

Crushed leaves are rubbed on the skin. Skin is then washed in half –hour time

Dermal

 

Plantago lanceolata L.

Plantaginaceae

Melhas kelbi

Herb

Leaf

Tinea corperis

Leaves are rubbed on affected area

Dermal

SA01358

wound

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and solution applied on wound

Dermal

 

Plumbago zeylanica L.

Plumbaginaceae

Aftihi

Shrub

Root

Evil eye, evil spirit, magic

Roots are fumigated in the house

nasal

SA01324

Polygala abyssinica Fres.

Polygalaceae

Etselebona

Herb

Root

Snake bite

Roots are chewed

oral

SA01314

Sharpen mind

Finger-sized root is chewed. Overdose may causes madness

oral

 

Sever stomach ache

Roots are chewed

oral

 

Rhamnus prinoides L’Herit.

Rhamnaceae

Gesho

Shrub

Leaf

Tonsillitis

Mothers chewing the leaves and spit to mouth of their children where as young ones chew it for themselves

Dermal

SA01350

Eczema

Leaves crushed, mixed with pure butter and dressing the affected part

Dermal

 

Rhoicissus tridentata (L. f.) Wild & Drummond

Vitaceae

Hareg temen (etsezewie)

Climber

Root

Snake bite

Less than a finger-sized root is chewed and swallowed. Overdose causes severe stomach ache and vomiting

oral

SA01344

Rumex abyssinicus Jacq.

Polygonaceae

mokemoko

Herb

Root

Blood pressure

Roots are ground, powder mixed with water and solution drunk with tea every morning until improvement

oral

SA01398

Cancer

Root powder is mixed in spicy stew to increase its power of curing the disease

oral

 

Tooth ache

Chew root and apply paste on affected tooth

oral

 

Rumex nervosus Vahl.

Polygonaceae

Huhot

Shrub

Stem

gastritis

Young stems are chewed with salt and swallowed

oral

SA01394

Root

Snake bite

Roots are chewed to detoxify poison

oral

 

Leaf

Skin rash

Leaves are crushed and paste rubbed on affected area

Dermal

 

Breast cancer

Leaves are crushed and paste applied on affected area

Dermal

 

Ricinus communis L.

Euphorbiaceae

Gulie

Shrub

Seed

Amoebiasis

Crushed seeds are mixed with water and taken with a cup of tea once

oral

SA01377

Ruta chalepensis L.

Rutaceae

Chena adam

Herb

Leaf

Evil eye

Rub the leaves and Smell

nasal

SA01380

cough

Leaves boiled in milk are taken orally

oral

 

Malaria

Crushed the leaves of the plant with bulb of A. sativum in by adding and take medicine orally for three days

oral

 

Flue

Leaf of R. chalepensis is pounded with bulb of A. Sativum, mixed with soup and used as a drink

oral

 

Sansevieria erythraeae Mattei

Dracenaceae

Eka termo

Shrub

Leaf

Ear infection

Leaves are heated on fire, juice squeezed into tea cup and three to four drops are added into the infected ear

inner

SA01365

Schinus molle L

Anacardiaceae

Tselim berbere

Tree

Stem

Blood pressure

Chewing the stem

oral

SA01364

Leaf

Eye infection

Boil leaves in water and let the patient bath himself with steam

oral

 

Solanum hirtulum Steud. ex A. Rich.

Solanaceae

Alalemo kelbi

Herb

Root

Stomach ache

Chewing the root

oral

SA01393

Solanum incanum L.

Solonaceaee

Neshtey engule

Shrub

Leaf

Anthrax

Seven leaves are crushed, mixed with honey and taken orally

oral

SA01372

Root

Arthritis

Roots are ground, powder mixed with animal butter and cream applied on affected body part and let the patient expose himself to sun light for five days

Dermal

 

Stomach ache

Chewing the root

Dermal

 

Gonorrhoea

Roots are ground, powder mixed with honey and paste taken for five days

oral

 

Solanum marginatum L. f.

Solanaceae

Abyiengule

Shrub

Seed

Tuberculosis

Seeds are dried, crushed and added into milk or coffee and solution taken every morning for 21 days

oral

SA01313

Solanum nigrum L.

Solanaceae

Alalemo Wezero

Shrub

Leaf

Epistaxis

Leaves crushed and pasted on the nasal openings

Dermal

SA01360

Bleeding after delivery

Leaves are crushed and inserted into vagina

Dermal

 

Tagetes minuta L.

Asteraceae

Etsefaruos

Herb

Whole plant

Evil eye

Smoking the plant and let the patient fumigate himself

nasal

SA01389

Tragia uncinata M. Gilbert

Euphorbiaceae

Amae

Herb

Root

Impotence

Roots are ground and taken orally with local soup for a week

oral

SA01361

Trigonella foenum-graecum L.

Fabaceae

Aba’ke

Herb

Seed

Urticaria

Grind seeds , mix powder with butter and apply cream on affected part

dermal

SA01392

Stomach ache

Boil powder in water, add sugar and given to babies

oral

 

Verbascum sinaiticum Benth.

Scrophulariaceae

Trnaka

Herb

Leaf

Bleeding

Leaves are crushed and paste applied on affected area

dermal

SA01366

Haemorrhoids

Leaves are crushed, packed in a piece of cloth and inserted through rectum

rectal

 

Fire burn

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and juice applied on the damaged part using clean cotton

dermal

 

Swelling

Rub the swelling using fresh leaves

dermal

 

Verbena officinalis subsp. africana R. Fernandes & Verdc.

Verbenaceae

Atush

Herb

Whole plant

Ascariasis

Plant is crushed, squeezed and juice taken with cup of coffee for three days

 

SA01307

Diarrhoea

Plant is crushed, squeezed and juice taken with cup of coffee for two to three days

oral

 

Leaf

Ear infection

Leaves are crushed, squeezed, juice filtered with clean cotton cloth, juice mixed with goat butter and three drops are added into the infected ear

auricular

 

Herpes zoster

Leaves are crushed and paste applied on affected area

Dermal

 

Root

Snake bite

Chewing the root

oral

 

Tonsillitis

Adults chew the root and spit paste into the mouth of their sick child

oral

 

Whole plant

abdominal pain and febrile illness

Plant is crushed, squeezed and solution taken with the cup of tea

oral

 

Vernonia amygdalina Del.

Asteraceae

Grawa

Tree

Leaf, root

Devil sickness

Rub body with crushed leaves or smoke root and inhale the smoke. Crushed young twigs and leaves may also be spread in a house

Dermal/nasal

SA01306

Leaf

Malaria

Crushed leaves of this plant and R. Chalepensis are boiled and three tablet- sized medicine prepared by mixing paste with honey is served every morning for seven days

oral

 

Root

Snake bite

Chewing the root

oral

 

Leaf

Teeth ache

Leaves are chewed with bulbs of A. sativum

oral

 

Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal

Solanaceae

Agoal

Shrub

Leaf, stem

michi

Leaves and stems of the plant are decocted with leaves of E. globulus and C. africana and patient takes steam nasally

nasal

SA01356

Zehneria scabra (Linn.f.) Sond.

Cucurbitaceae

Haregressa

Herb

Whole plant

Febrile illness

The plant together with E. globulus and J. schimperiana is boiled in water and patient takes steam nasally

Nasal

SA01305

Zingiber officinale Rosc.

Zingiberaceae

gengible

Herb

Rhizome

Blood pressure

Chewing the rhizome

Oral

SA01399

Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Desf.

Rhamnaceae

geba

Shrub

Whole plant

Dandruff

Leaves are crushed and paste applied on head skin

Dermal

SA01370

Table 2

List of medicinal plants used to treat livestock diseases

Scientific name

Family

Local name

Habit

Parts used

Disease treated

Animal treated

Mode of preparation and administration

Application route

Voucher no

Aloe megalacantha Baker

Aloaceae

Ere

Shrub

Exudate

Anthrax

Cattle

Crush leaves, squeeze the exudate, mix it with cold water let the animal drink one cup of the solution

Oral

SA01384

Trypanosomiasis

Cattle

Exudate is mixed with poultry faeces is smeared on affected body parts

Dermal

 

Root

Dislocation of body parts

Cattle

Roots are cut into pieces, tied by thread and tied on damaged part of the body

Dermal

 

Exudate

Wound

Cattle

Exudate is smeared on affected body part of the animal

Dermal

 

Equine

Sheep

Goat

Scabies

Cattle

Crush leaves and apply exudate on the infected skin

Dermal

 

Sheep

Goat

Achyranthes aspera L.

Amaranthaceae

Muchelo

Herb

Root

Thelaziasis (eye disease)

Cattle

Roots are chewed and juice spitted into the affected eye of cattle

Eye

SA01303

Equine

Allium sativum L.

Alliaceae

Tsada shugurti

Herb

Bulb

Thelaziasis (eye disease)

Cattle

Bulbs are crushed, squeezed, filtered, mixed with soot and paste inserted into affected part

Eye

SA01368

Equine

Aspergillosis

Cattle

Crush bulb with leaves of Leucas sp., squeezed it, add salt and administer a cup of the juice

Nasal

 

Equine

Sheep

Goat

Foot and mouth disease

Cattle

Allium sativum is crushed, mixed with honey and apply paste on affected part

Dermal

 

Newcastle disease

Poultry

Bulb is crushed, mixed with ‘enjera’ and is orally administered

Oral

 

Argemone mexicana L.

Pappavaraceae

Medafe tilian

Herb

Leaf

Sore

Camel

Leaves are pounded into powder and sprayed on the wound daily after washing it with salted water

Dermal

SA01381

Equine

Cattle

Calpurnia aurea (Alt.) Benth.

Fabaceae

Hetsawets

Tree

Seed

Salmonellosis

Cattle

A cup of seeds are ground, powder mixed with salted cold water and solution given orally administered

Oral

SA01345

Sheep

Goat

Leaf

E. coli infection

Cattle

Leaves are crushed, squeezed, filtered and juice is orally administered

Oral

 

Sheep

Goat

Lichen simplex chronicus (skin disease)

Cattle

Leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin

Dermal

 

Sheep pox

Sheep

Leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin

Dermal

 

Goat

Calotropis procera (Ait.) Ait.

Asclepidaceae

Ginda

Shrub

Latex

Sore

Cattle

Latex smeared on affected area until cure

Dermal

SA01375

Equine

Sheep

Goat

Croton macrostachyus Del.

Euphorbiaceae

Tanbuk

Tree

Leaves

Scabies

Cattle

Leaf of C. macrostachyus is crushed and rubbed on the affected skin three to four days consecutively

Dermal

SA01373

Goat

Sheep

Cucumis ficifolius A. Rich.

Cucurbitaceae

rambo Rambo

Shrub

Root

infection

Equine

Roots is crushed into powder, mixed with cold water and a cup of solution is given orally

Oral

SA01321

Cattle

Sheep

Goat

Hyena bite

Equine

Root is crushed, mixed with ‘tella’, decanted and paste applied on affected part

Dermal

 

Cattle

Cyphostemma adenocaule (steud.ex A. Rich) Descoings ex Wild and Drummond

Vitaceae

Aserkuka fetahkuka

Climber

Root

Pack sore

Equine

Roots are crushed, dried, ground and powder sprinkled on affected part until sore dries

Dermal

SA01346

Dodonaea angustifolia L. f.

Sapindaceae

Tahsos

Shrub

Leaf

Sore on cattle and equine

Equine

Leaves are dried on hot iron plate, ground and powder spread on affected part

Dermal

SA01327

Cattle

Sheep

Goat

Twig

Dislocation of body part

Cattle

Dislocated part is tied with twigs until healed

Dermal

 

Equine

Sheep

Goat

Eucalyptus globulus Labill.

Myrtaceae

Tsada kelamitos

Tree

Leaf

Avian cholera

Poultry

Leaf of E. globulus is ground, powder boiled in water, solution added onto barely soup and fed to chicken

Oral

SA01376

Euphorbia cactus Boiss

Euphorbiaceae

Kolqual hamat

Shrub

Latex

Black leg

Cattle

Apply latex on the swollen part to protect the spread of the disease. Latex is also given in small amount with ‘enjera’

Dermal, oral

SA01386

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

Acanthaceae

Shemeza

Shrub

Leaf, root

Blackleg

Cattle

Leaf and root of J. schimperiana is pounded with dried fruit of Ricinus communis. One bottle of the Solution is given to sick animal

Oral

SA01301

Leaf

 

Parasites

Cattle

Pounded leaf of J. schimperiana is mixed with malt powder of barely and two to three glass of ‘tella’ given to the animal

Oral

 

Equine

Goat

Sheep

Lepidium sativum L.

Brassicaceae

Shenfa

Herb

Seed

Dysentery

cattle

Seeds are crushed, powder mixed with finger milt bread and orally administered

Oral

SA01310

sheep

goat

cenoresis

sheep

Crushed seed of L. sativum and bulb of A. sativum is are mixed with cold water and a cup of solution is given to the animal

Oral

 

goat

Diarrhoea

Cattle

Seed of Lepidium sativum are ground, powdered mixed with crushed bulb of A. sativum and given to the animal

Dermal

 

Bloating

Cattle

Seed of L. sativum and bulb of Allium sativum are crushed together, mixed with water and given to cattle

Dermal

 

Leucas abyssinica (Benth.) Briq.

Lamiaceae

Sewa Kerni

Shrub

Leaf

Internal parasites

Sheep

Leaves are crushed and squeezed, mixed with crushed bulb of Allium sativum, solution is then filtered and applied nasally

Nasal

SA01383

Goat

Premna oligotricha L.

Lamiaceae

Sasa hadima

Shrub

Leaf

Internal parasites

Sheep

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and given to sick animal

Nasal

SA01325

Goat

Leaf

Pasterellosis

Sheep

Leaves are pounded with bulb of A. sativum, squeezed and solution given to sick animal

Nasal

 

Goat

Linum usitatissimum L.

Lineaaceae

Entatie

H.erb

Seed

Placental retention

Cattle

Seeds of L. usitatissimum are powdered and half a glass of powder is dissolved in water and given to cattle

Oral

SA01386

Sheep

Goat

Melia azedarach L.

Meliaceae

Nim

Tree

Leaf

Tick ulcer

Cattle

Leaves are rushed and rubbed on lymphagities ulcer

Dermal

SA01382

Sheep

Goat

Nicotiana glauca R. Grah.

Solanaceae

Tenbish/ cherged

Shrub

Leaf

External parasites

Cattle

Leaves crushed and rubbed on the skin of the animal

Dermal

SA01391

Sheep

Goat

Nicotiana tabacum L.

Solanaceae

Tumbako

Herb

Leaf, root

Plant toxin (toxicosis)

Cattle

Leaves and root are dried, powdered, mixed with salted water and a cup of the solution is given for one day the poisoned animal

Oral

SA01308

Goat

Sheep

Leaf

Leech infestation

Cattle

Leaves are crushed, squeezed and a cup of solution is nasally applied

Nasal

 

Leech infestation

Cattle

Crushed and baked leaves are pounded, added on half litre of water and given to affected animal

Oral

 

Trypanosomiasis

Cattle

Leaves are crushed and baked, mixed with water and solution given to sick animal

Oral

 

Otostegia integrifolia Benth.

Lamiaceae

Cheendog

Shrub

Whole plant

Ecto- parasites infestation

Cattle

Fumigate the plant in the house where the animals are kept

Dermal

SA01357

Equine

Poultry

Goat

Sheep

Phytolacca dodecandra L’Herit.

Phytolaccaceae

Shebti

Shrub

Leaf

Rabies

Cattle

Leaves are crushed with leaves of C. mycrostachyus, squeezed and a cup of juice mixed with ‘tella’ is given to the animal

Oral

SA01387

Equine

Sheep

Goat

Scabies and external parasite infestation

Cattle

Leaves are crushed with little water and paste rubbed on the skin. The skin is then washed after thirty minutes

Dermal

 

sheep

Goat

Rhoicissus tridentata (L. f.) Wild & Drummond

Vitaceae

Hareg temen

Climber

Root/Stem

Snake bite

Cattle

Root /stem is crushed, squeezed, mixed with cold water and a cup of solution is given only once to the animal

Oral

SA01344

Goat

Sheep

Equine

Ricinus communis L.

Euphobiaceae

Gulie

Shrub

Root

Sudden Sickness

Cattle

Roots of R. communis and Justica schimperiana are pounded, mixed with cold water and a cup of the solution is to the sick animal

Oral

SA01377

Fruit

Anthrax

Cattle

Dried fruits are ground, powder mixed with cold water and a cup of solution is given the sick animal

Oral

 

Root

Actinomycosis

Cattle

Root is pounded by adding table salt and ash and mixed with water, solution is filtered and two glasses of it are to the sick animal

Oral

 

Sheep

Goat

Fruit

Epizoitic lymphagities

Cattle

Dried fruits are pounded and mixed with exudate of Aloe megalacantha and paste applied on ulcerated skin

Dermal

 

Equine

Sheep

Goat

Rhamnus prinoides L'Herit.

Rhamnaceae

Gesh

Shrub

Leaf

Plant toxin (toxicosis)

Cattle

Leaves are crushed into powdered and mixed with malt of barely or oil or dissolved soap and one or two cups of the solution is given to the poisoned animal

Oral

SA01350

Sheep

Goat

Ruta chalepensis L.

Rutaceae

Chena adam

Herb

Leaf

Coccsidiosis

Poultry

Whole part of the plant, root of J. schimperiana and bark of C. mycrostachyus are pounded together and paste given to chicken by mixing it ‘enjera’ or water

Oral

SA01380

Salvia schimperi Benth.

Lamiaceae

Meshendedo

Herb

Leaf

Foot and mouth disease

Cattle

Leaves are crushed, mixed with honey and dressed on the affected part of the animal

Dermal

SA01355

Goat

Sheep

Solanum marginatum L. f.

Solonaceae

Abiyi engule

Shrub

Fruit

Urinary retention

Cattle

Fruits are crushed, pounded, two to three spoons of powder is mixed with cold water and a cup of solution is given to the sick animal

Oral

SA01313

Sheep

Goat

Tuberculosis

Cattle

Fruits are crushed, pounded, two to three spoons of powder is mixed with cold water and a cup of solution is given to the sick animal until recovery

Oral

 

Sheep

Goat

Relatively higher numbers of medicinal plants were used to treat intestinal parasites; diarrhoea and stomach ache (26 species), wounds, scabies and leprosy (23 species), respiratory disease (16 species), evil eye, evil spirit, devil sickness (15 species) and rheumatism and arthritis (15 species).

Plant part (s) and methods used in preparation of remedies

Leaves were the most preferred plants parts used in the preparation of remedies (44%), followed by roots (16%), whole plants (10%) and seeds (8%) (Figure 2). Crushing (37%), pounding (15%) and chewing (13%) were dominantly used in the preparation of remedies (Figure 3). Substances such as cold water, honey, coffee, butter, salt, sugar, soap, ash and milk were mixed with the plant materials during remedies preparations. The majority (60%) of remedies were prepared from fresh plant materials. Some (21.1%) were prepared from either dry or fresh materials and others (18.9%) from dry parts only.
Figure 2

Plant part(s) used in the study area for remedies preparations.

Figure 3

Preparation methods of remedies.

Route of remedy administration and dosage

Most medicinal plant preparations were applied internally (64.6%), out of which drinking took the lead (44.5%). Some are applied externally on the skin (35.4%), of which 42.5% are smeared on the skin (42.5%) (Table 3). Informants reported that dosages differed among traditional medicine practitioners even in treating the same health problem as remedies are prescribed with units of local measurement such as pinch, tea spoon (powder), tablet size of seed (semisolid), coffee cup, tea cup and water cup (liquid), finger length (root) and fist (leaves).
Table 3

Route of administration of remedies

Main route of application

Mode of application

Percent applied

Internal application

  
 

drinking

44.5

 

chewing and swallowing

17

 

swallowing

12

 

Smoke bath

9.6

 

nasal

6

 

auricular

3

 

ophthalmic

2

 

Steam bath

2

 

anal

1.4

 

Buried

1.4

 

Total

100

External application

  
 

Smearing

42.5

 

pasting

20

 

rubbing

12.5

 

spraying

7.5

 

Chewing and spitting

7.5

 

washing

6

 

tying

3.8

 

Total

100

Popularity of reported medicinal plants

Cucumis ficifolius is the most popular medicinal plant in the study area, cited by 81.8% of the informants, followed by Allium sativum (77%). Each of the medicinal plants Croton marcostachyus, Ruta chalepensis and Vebena officinalis were cited by 75.8% of the informants (Table 4).
Table 4

Medicinal plants with highest informants’ consensus

Botanical name

Number (%) of informants who cited the plant

Cucumis ficifolius

54 (81.8)

Allium sativum

51 (77)

Croton macrostachyus

50 (75.8)

Ruta chalepensis

50 (75.8)

Vebena officinalis subsp. africana

50 (75.8)

Aloe megalocantha

48 (72.7)

Calotropis procera

48 (72.7)

Datura stramonium

48 (72.7)

Ocimum lamiifolium

48 (72.7)

Solanum incanum

48 (72.7)

Phytolacca dodecandra

47 (71)

Eucalyptus globulus

46 (69.7)

Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata

46 (69.7)

Plumbago zeylanica

46 (69.7)

Rhoicissus tridentata

46 (69.7)

Zehneria scabra

46 (69.7)

Cynoglossum coeruleum

45 (68)

Lepidium sativum

45 (68)

Withania somnifera

45 (68)

Informant consensus factor

Febrile illness is the disease group in the study area that scored the highest ICF value (0.97), followed by cardio-vascular problems (0.97), evil eye (0.95), hepatitis (0.95), warts and haemorrhoids (0.94), infectious wounds and scabies (0.92), snake and scorpion bites (0.92), fungal diseases (0.91) and intestinal parasites infection, diarrhoea and stomach ache (0.91) and malaria (0.91) (Table 5).
Table 5

Informant consensus factor (ICF) values for aliments categories

Disease categories

No. of species

Species (%)

No. of use citations

Use citations (%)

ICF

Abdominal irritation and vomiting

4

4.4

23

1

0.86

Bleeding and epistaxis

3

3.3

17

.8

0.88

Cardiovascular problems

5

5.6

85

3.7

0.95

Evil eye

15

16.7

287

12.6

0.95

Fungal diseases

14

15.6

138

6

.91

Head and tooth aches

8

8.9

60

2.6

0.88

Hepatitis

7

7.8

122

5

0.95

Infectious wounds and scabies

23

25.6

260

11

0.92

Intestinal parasites infection, diarrhoea and stomach ache

26

28.9

281

12

0.91

Malaria

8

8.9

79

3.5

0.91

Febrile illness

8

8.9

231

10

0.97

Non infectious swelling

10

11.1

87

3.7

0.89

Respiratory disease

16

17.8

136

6

0.89

Rheumatism and arthritis

15

16.7

105

4.6

0.87

Sensorial disease

11

12.2

102

4

0.90

Snake and scorpion bites

8

8.8

91

4

0.92

Urinary and placental retention

6

6.7

50

2.2

0.90

Venereal disease and reproductive organ problems

12

13.3

72

3

0.86

Warts and haemorrhoids

8

8.9

111

4.9

0.94

Informants’ preference on medicinal plants used to treat snake bite

Preference ranking exercises of six selected informants indicate that Rhoicissus tridentata was the most preferred plant in treating snake bite, followed by Nicotiana tabacum (Table 6).
Table 6

Preference ranking on selected plants used against snake bite

Medicinal plants

Respondents (A-H)

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

Total

Rank

Cucumis ficifolius

3

2

1

4

3

2

3

5

23

6th

Gossypium herbaceum

3

2

4

5

4

2

3

4

27

5th

Nicotiana tabacum

5

3

4

5

5

3

3

4

32

2nd

Rhoicissus tridentata

6

5

3

6

5

5

4

3

37

1st

Verbena officinalis

6

3

2

4

3

3

2

5

28

4th

Vernonia amygdalina

5

4

4

3

5

2

4

3

30

3rd

Multipurpose medicinal plants

The people in the study district relied on locally growing plant species for various purposes such as construction, firewood, medicine, charcoal, fencing, agricultural tool and furniture. Direct matrix ranking exercise performed on five commonly reported multipurpose medicinal plants shows that Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata was the most useful multipurpose plant, followed by Cordia africana (Table 7).
Table 7

Results of direct matrix ranking on selected multipurpose medicinal plants

 

Species

Use category

Croton macrostachyus

Cordia africana

Maesa lanceolata

Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata

Acokanthera schimperi

Firewood

2

3

3

4

3

Construction

3

4

4

4

3

Charcoal

2

2

3

4

2

Fencing

2

2

2

2

3

Agricultural instrument

4

3

3

4

1

Furniture

2

4

3

4

1

Medicine

4

3

4

4

4

Income source

2

4

2

4

2

Total

21

25

24

30

19

Rank

4th

2nd

3rd

1st

5th

Habitats of and threats to medicinal plants

The majority (60.2%) of medicinal plants were collected from the wild. Some (29%) were also collected from both farmlands and roadsides (Figure 4).
Figure 4

Habitats from which medicinal plants were collected.

According to reports of informants, agricultural expansion is considered as number one threat to the survival of medicinal plants in the study area, followed by, cutting of trees for charcoal and fire wood consumption (Table 8).
Table 8

Priority ranking of factors perceived as threats to medicinal plants

Factors

Respondents (R1-R7)

 

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

R7

Total

%

Rank

Agricultural expansion

4

4

4

3

4

3

4

26

17.8

1st

Charcoal and fire wood consumption

4

3

4

4

3

3

3

24

16.4

2nd

Grazing

3

3

3

3

3

4

4

23

15.8

3rd

Settlement

2

2

3

2

2

3

2

16

11

6th

Timber and construction

2

3

4

3

3

1

4

20

13.7

4th

Drought

2

1

3

4

2

2

3

17

11.6

5th

Total

 

126

  

Key: Values 1–4 were given: 1 is the least destructive threat and 4 is the most destructive threat.

Marketed medicinal plants

Local market survey carried out in three towns of the District, namely Samre, Wenberta Adekeala and Fina Rewa revealed that plants were not sold in the markets for their sole medicinal purpose. The medicinal plants Klinia odora, Lepidium sativum, Allium sativum, Rumex abyssinicus, Plumbago zeylanica, Linum usitatissimum and Ruta chalepensis were sold primarily for their uses as species and food.

Discussion

It is encouraging to find out that a high number of medicinal plants (90 species) are still being used by people in Seharti Samre District of Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia, to treat several human and livestock diseases. Ethnobotanical studies conducted in Ofla and Raya-Azebo districts of the same Region [6] came up with comparable numbers of medicinal plants, 83 and 60 species, respectively.

Several of the medicinal plants that were recorded from Seharti Samre District, were also mentioned in reports of studies previously conducted in Ethiopia, some of which (e.g. Aloe sp, Ficus palmata, Justica schimperiana, Lepidium sativum, Linum usitatissimum, Nicotiana tabacum, Otostegia integrifolia, Ricinus communis, Rumex abyssinicus, Ruta chalepensis and Zehneria scabra) [6,19] were exactly used for same medicinal purposes, which could be an indication of their pharmacological effectiveness.

Analysis of the data revealed Solanaceae, Lamiaceae and Fabaceae as the highest contributors of medicinal plants in the Seharti Samre District, which could be a reflection of their dominance in the flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea [20,21] in terms of their species richness. The study also showed that people in the study District use a relatively high number of shrubs and herbs, which is in agreement with studies conducted elsewhere in the country [22].

It was found out that two-third of medicinal plants in the study District were harvested from the wild, which is in agreement with reports of many studies conducted in the country [6,23,24]. Medicinal plants growing in the wild are highly exposed to different anthropogenic factors such as agricultural expansion, deforestation for charcoal and fire wood consumption, grazing, and harvesting for timber production and construction [22]. Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata, Maesa lanceolata, Cordia africana, Croton mycrostachyus, Acokanthera schimperi, Phytolacca dedocandra) are among the medicinal plants that were reported to be highly affected by the aforementioned factors.

Leaves and root were the most commonly used plant parts in the preparation of remedies in the study District. Many studies conducted in different parts of Ethiopia also showed that leaves are used more frequently than any other parts [6,25,26]. As compared to other parts, damage inflicted on medicinal plants due to harvest of leaves is very minimal [27].

Most of the medicinal plant species were reported to be processed through crushing followed by pounding and chewing. Ethnobotanical studies conducted in different parts of the country [9,25,26] reported similar results. Majority of the remedies in the study District were reported to be taken internally/orally followed by smearing on the skin. Several studies conducted in different parts of the county [28] also revealed that oral followed by dermal were the principal routes of remedy administration.

One of the major problems in traditional medicine is lack of standard dosages and précised measurements [5]. According to informants in the study District, the amount of dosage prescribed for same/similar health problems vary as remedies are prescribed with different units of local measurement. Inconsistency of doses has also been reported in studies conducted elsewhere in Ethiopia [6,29,30].

The study revealed that informants above the age of 40 years had relatively better knowledge of medicinal plants as compared to the younger ones (20 to 40 years old). Similar study conducted among the Zay community in Ethiopia [24] revealed that 90% of the elders above 40 years of age had rich medicinal plant knowledge. Study conducted in Nigeria [31] reported that the highest percentage of younger generation had no any knowledge of traditional medicine practice due to more exposure to modern life style. This may demonstrate the impact of modernization on medicinal plant use and transfer of the associated knowledge to the younger generation. The fact that most of the knowledge on traditional medication is kept with elders for the sake of secrecy, gaining respect and generating income is believed to contribute towards depletion of the same as generation passes by.

Conclusion

A total of 90 medicinal plants were reported by informants from the study District. As most of the medicinal plants were harvested from the wild, appropriate conservation measures are required to ensure their sustainable harvesting besides to efforts of aawareness creation among the community by concerned bodies regarding the usefulness of their medical plants. The efficacy and safety of the claimed medicinal plants need to be evaluated before recommending them for their wider use. Priority should be given to medicinal plants with the highest informant agreement as such plants are believed to have better activity.

Declarations

Acknowledgement

The authors would like to acknowledge Jimma University for financial support, informants, local administration and people of Seharti Samre District for their positive response, sharing their valuable knowledge and time as well as for their tremendous hospitality. We also thank the following offices of the District: Rural Agricultural Development Office, Health Office, Administrative Office and Plan and Finance Office for their provision of data and supportive letter during data collection.

Authors’ Affiliations

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

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© Araya et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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