Use and management practices of medicinal plants in and around mixed woodland vegetation, Tigray Regional State, Northern Ethiopia
Keywords:Conservation, Ethnobotany, Hirmi, Indigenous knowledge, Medicinal Plants
Background: The concept of ethnomedicine deals with the cultural interpretations of health and illness through analyzing and using indigenous perceptions/practices. Although the tradition of using medicinal plants in Ethiopia is practiced for a long time, the documentation is not as intense as its long history and exercise wildly. This study was conducted in districts surrounding Hirmi Vegetation to; document and identify medicinal plant species, record indigenous knowledge of the people on medicinal plants and conservation measures practiced in the study area.
Methods: Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, guided field walks and focus group discussions. A total of 335 informants participated the data acquisition. Preference ranking, informant consensus factor, direct matrix ranking and t-tests in SPSS were employed to analyze the data.
Results: About 85 medicinal plant species used to treat 71 human and 16 livestock ailments were documented. Herbs comprised the largest category (40%) followed by shrubs (35.3%) and trees (24.7%). Zehneria scabra (L.f.) Sond, Plumbago zeylanica L. and Zingiber officinale Roscoe were the most preferred medicinal plants to treat the abdominal disease which have the highest informant consensus factor values (0.95). Overgrazing, deforestation and expansion of agriculture were the most repeated threats to the medicinal plants. Growing in homegarden, fencing and replanting were among the conservation techniques used by the local community. There was a significant indigenous knowledge differences (p<0.05) on traditional medicinal plants between age groups, educational status, marital status and experience of informants. However, religion and gender did not exert statistically significant differences (P >0.05).
Conclusion: Traditional healers and relevant professionals should provide education on how to use and manage the medicinal plants to their descendants by disseminating the required information and knowledge. Furthermore, phytochemical and toxicological investigations of these preferable medicinal plants should be carried out intensively.
Key words: Conservation, Ethnobotany, Hirmi, Indigenous knowledge, Medicinal Plants
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