4 years ago

Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used against human ailments in Gubalafto District, Northern Ethiopia

Getnet Chekole



Traditional medicinal plant species documentation is very crucial in Ethiopia for biodiversity conservation, bioactive chemical extractions and indigenous knowledge retention. Having first observed the inhabitants of Gubalafto District (Northern Ethiopia), the author gathered, recorded, and documented the human traditional medicinal plant species and the associated indigenous knowledge.


The study was conducted from February 2013 to January 2015 and used descriptive field survey design. Eighty-four informants were selected from seven study kebeles (sub-districts) in the District through purposive, snowball, and random sampling techniques. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews, guided field walks, demonstrations, and focus group discussions with the help of guided questions. Data were organized and analyzed by descriptive statistics with SPSS version 20 and Microsoft Office Excel 2007.


A total of 135 medicinal plant species within 120 genera and 64 families were documented. Among the species, Ocimum lamiifolium and Rhamnus prinoides scored the highest informant citations and fidelity level value, respectively. In the study area, Asteraceae with 8.1% and herbs with 50.4% plant species were the most used sources for their medicinal uses. A total of 65 ailments were identified as being treated by traditional medicinal plants, among which stomachache (abdominal health problems) was frequently reported. Solanum incanum was reported for the treatment of many of the reported diseases. The leaf, fresh parts, and crushed forms of the medicinal plants were the most preferred in remedy preparations. Oral application was the highest reported administration for 110 preparations. A majority of medicinal plant species existed in the wild without any particular conservation effort. Few informants (about 5%) had only brief notes about the traditional medicinal plants. Ninety percent of the respondents have learned indigenous medicinal plants knowledge from their family members and friends secretly. Orthodox Church schools were found the main place for 65% of healer’s indigenous knowledge origin and experiences. Elders, aged between 40 and 84 years, gave detailed descriptions about traditional medicinal plants.


Traditional medicinal plants and associated indigenous knowledge are the main systems to maintain human health in Gubalafto District. But minimal conservation measures were recorded in the community. Thus, in-situ and ex-situ conservation practices and sustainable utilization are required in the District.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13002-017-0182-7

DOI: 10.1186/s13002-017-0182-7

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