Main content area

Trade of wild-harvested medicinal plant species in local markets of Tanzania and its implications for conservation

Hilonga, S., Otieno, J.N., Ghorbani, A., Pereus, D., Kocyan, A., de Boer, H.
South African journal of botany 2019 v.122 pp. 214-224
Albizia anthelmintica, Vachellia nilotica, Warburgia, Zanthoxylum, bark, commercialization, human health, international trade, interviews, leaves, libido, malaria, markets, medicinal plants, medicine, monitoring, roots, Tanzania
In Tanzania, about 10% of the reported 12,000 species of higher plants are estimated to be used as medicine for treating different human health problems. Most of the medicinal plants are collected from wild populations, but their trade and quantities are not properly recorded. Monitoring of trade in wild-harvested medicinal plants is challenging as most materials are traded in various processed forms and most vendors practice informal trade. Yet, monitoring is important for conservation and sustainability. This study aims to assess the trade of wild-harvested medicinal plant species in local markets of Tanzania and its implications for conservation. Semi-structured interviews were used to record frequency, volume of trade and uses of wild-harvested medicinal plants in Arusha, Dodoma, Mbeya, Morogoro and Mwanza regions. Relative frequency of citation and informant consensus factor were calculated for each species and mentioned use category. Forty vendors were interviewed, and 400 out of 522 collected market samples were identified to 162 species from herbarium-deposited collections. Plant parts with the largest volume of trade were roots (3818 kg), bark (1163 kg) and leaves (492 kg). The most frequently traded species were Zanthoxylum chalybaeum Engl., Albizia anthelmintica Brongn., Zanha africana (Radlk.) Exell, Warburgia stuhlmannii and Vachellia nilotica (L.) P.J.H.Hurter & Mabb. The most popular medicinal plants in the markets are connected to local health problems including malaria, libido disorders or infertility. The high diversity of commercialized plants used for medicinal issues mainly relies on wild stock for local consumption and international trade, and this has significant implications for conservation concerns.