Ethnomedicne of Ogiek of River Njoro watershed, Nakuru, Kenya.
Keywords:Ethnomedicine, Medicinal plants, Ogiek, gender, indigenous knowledge
Medicinal plants play a major role in meeting the medical and health needs of people, especially in developing countries. However, destruction of habitat through deforestation, over exploitation for commercial purposes, and changes in cultural behaviors threatens to drive many of these species into extinction. This broad study focused on documenting most of medicinal plants used by the Ogiek community in Mau Forest Complex to facilitate conservation efforts. Stratified random and snowball sampling methods were used to identify 60 men and 60 women living in the community to participate in this research. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered and data were analyzed using the Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS). Additionally, plant samples were collected and compared to plant specimens in Biological Sciences Department of Egerton University Herbarium for identification. In total, 94 varieties belonging to 46 plant families were identified and correlated with their medicinal qualities and uses as indicated by informants. Herbs, trees, shrubs, grasses, and some epiphytes were identified. These were found mainly in open fields, riparian zones and in the forest. Men identified relatively more medicinal plants and their medicinal values than women did. In contrast, women had more knowledge of techniques for preparation and administration of herbal drugs for domestic uses. There was a positive correlation between the number of plants known to respondents and the age of respondents.
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