Medicinal plant use and integration of traditional healers into health care system: A case study at Ankasa Forest Reserve and catchment communities in Ghana
Background: The study documented the medicinal plants used to treat diseases and assessed the level of integration of traditional medicine practice (TMP) into the health care delivery system in the study area.
Methods: A structured questionnaire was purposively used to select informants from Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association. The ethnographic method using a semi-structured questionnaire, interviews and group discussions was employed to collect data for assessing level of integration. The Relative Frequency of Citation (RFC) and Used Value (UV) of the species were determined.
Results: A total of 132 medicinal plant species was recorded. The most dominant family was the Fabaceae (19 species), growth form was the tree (76 % of species), the commonly used plant part was the bark (81 species), a disease commonly treated was malaria (34 species), and most common method of drug preparation was decoction (46.1 %). The medicinal plants with the highest RFC (0.90) and UV (1.72) values were Morinda lucida Benth. and Nauclea latifolia Sm. respectively. The low level of integration of TMP into the care health system was mainly due to poor collaboration between TMPs and biomedical staff.
Conclusion: Traditional communities rely on medicinal plants for primary healthcare but poor conservation practices put the knowledge and practice of traditional healing at a risk. The integration of TMP into the health care system needs Ghana government`s attention in the study area.
Key words: Medicinal plants, Ankasa Forest Reserve, Traditional medicine practice
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