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The Utilization and Conservation of Plants of Medicinal Value by Local Traditional Medicinal Practitioners and the Associated Indigenous Knowledge in Dawuro Zone of Ethiopia: Northeast Africa—An Ethnobotanical Approach

  • Moin Ahmad Khan
  • Mathewos Agize
  • Abraham Shonga
  • Asfaw Tora
Chapter

Abstract

This research work documents the traditional management and conservation of indigenous knowledge associated with the use of plant diversity for treatment of human and livestock diseases and medicinal plants found in Dawuro zone, Southern Ethiopia. The information was gathered through semi-structured interview conducted on 91 traditional healers. The data were analyzed using Excel spreadsheet and data matrix procedure for preference ranking. Traditional practices and various cultural and seasonal restrictions of collecting medicinal plants have contributed to the management and conservation of diversified and rich medicinal plants compared to others. Two hundred and sixteen medicinal plants distributed in 69 families were documented in this study. Asteraceae is the most frequently used family accounting for 44.93% and followed by Fabaceae and Lamiaceae covering 39.13% and 26.06%, respectively. Most of the traditional healers of the area collect their medicinal plants, about 169 species (78.24%) from the wild. Traditional healers in the study area predominantly use 91(42.13%) herbs whose leaves account for 89 (41.20%) medicinal purpose. Most of the preparations are obtained by mixing medicinal plants individually with water—190 (87.96%)—and prescribed to be orally administered—135 (62.5%). About 71.76% (155) of the medicinal plants are used to treat humans and most of the plants, about 176 (81.48%) of them, are used to treat only one type of either human or veterinary diseases. The age of healers that exercise traditional medicine (knowledge) ranges between 18 and 91 years and about 50 (54.95%) of them are not educated. Indigenous knowledge on medicinal plants is gradually disappearing due to secrecy, unwillingness of young generation to gain the knowledge, influence of modern education, and awareness factors besides other natural conditions and anthropogenic activities like agricultural expansion, timber production, overharvesting, and overgrazing. The study concluded by giving some suggestions and recommendations for the effective utilization of the medicinal plant species and the associated indigenous knowledge of the Dawuro people of the study area: initiating pharmacological and biological activity testing of most popularly used traditional medicinal plants in the area, establishing botanical gardens and protected areas with community-based conservation, and encouraging the use of home gardens for cultivation of multipurpose plants.

Keywords

Dawuro Ethnobotany Indigenous knowledge Medicinal plants Traditional healers 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moin Ahmad Khan
    • 1
  • Mathewos Agize
    • 1
  • Abraham Shonga
    • 1
  • Asfaw Tora
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyWolaita Sodo UniversityWolaita SodoEthiopia

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