Main content area

Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in the environs of Tara-gedam and Amba remnant forests of Libo Kemkem District, northwest Ethiopia

Chekole, Getnet, Asfaw, Zemede, Kelbessa, Ensermu
Journal of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine 2015 v.11 no.1 pp. 4
Asteraceae, agricultural land, drugs, elderly, ethnobotany, forest conservation, forests, habitats, health services, humans, indigenous knowledge, interviews, leaves, livestock, medicinal plants, medicine, people, plant propagation, planting, shrubs, Ethiopia
BACKGROUND: Remnant forests found in areas that have long been converted to agricultural landscapes are refuges of wild useful plants; and societies inhabiting them are custodians of rich indigenous botanical knowledge. This study was undertaken to document the medicinal plants used by the people living in and around Tara-gedam and Amba remnant forests, northwestern Ethiopia, together with the associated ethnomedicinal knowledge. METHODS: Data were collected from 105 informants through semi-structured interviews, guided field walk, market survey; and analyzed using standard ethnobotanical analytical tools including ranking and comparison. RESULTS: A total of 163 medicinal plant species in 145 genera and 67 families were recorded among which Zehneria scabra drew the highest community consensus. Seventy-one percent of the medicinal plants were those used for treating human ailments only, 21% for both human and livestock and 8% for livestock only. Asteraceae, with 14 species, had the highest number of medicinal plant species. The medicinal plants mainly (79.1%) belong to the shrub and herb categories and most of them were sourced from the wild habitats. Leaves and fresh plant materials were more frequently used for medicine preparation than other parts. Protected government and church forests as well as tree propagation in nurseries followed by planting them and local practices constitute the major forest conservation efforts that indirectly protect the medicinal plants in the area. Elders and healers knew more about the medicinal plants, their distribution, the local ethnomedicinal practices and knowledge transfer patterns. Though important for the local healthcare system and with potentials for modern drug discovery, both the plants and the knowledge pool are under threat. CONCLUSION: The diversity of medicinal plants and the associated indigenous knowledge of Tara-gedam and its environs are of a considerable value to the local community and beyond. There is, therefore, a need for conservation of the vegetation and the medicinal plants along with preservation of the wealth of the indigenous knowledge.