Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal Plants in Guji Agro-pastorilists, Blue Hora District of Borana Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants and associated indigenous knowledge was conducted between March and June 2010 in Bule Hora District, Southern Oromia, Ethiopia. The objective of the study was to collect, record, organize and analyze information on the use, management and conservation of medicinal plants as well as status of indigenous knowledge of the local people. This area lies between latitudes 50 30 and 50 50 North and longitudes 380 0 and 380 30 East. The study involved traditional healers, knowledgeable elders and local communities. Different ethnobotanical techniques were used to collect and analyze the data such as semi – structured interview, guided field walk and observation, group discussion, preference ranking and paired comparison, use diversity matrix and fidelity level index, combined with descriptive statistical analysis. Sixty informants from eight kebeles were included in the study. A total of 106 plant species distributed in 98 genera and 46 families were collected from the study area and identified. In terms of number of species, Asteraceae appeared as the most prominent family that contains ten species in eight genera, followed by Rubiaceae containing nine species in eight genera and Lamiaceae that contain seven species in seven genera. From the total collected plants, 62 species (58.4%) are used for the treatment of 37 human ailments and 22 species (20.8%) for 25 livestock ailments, while 22 species (20.8%) are used to treat both livestock and human ailments. Widely used plant parts for human and livestock health care include leaves, roots, seeds, fruits and stems. Higher numbers of species (56.1%) were harvested for their leaves followed by roots, bark and stems (14.4%, 9.85% and 8.3% respectively). Large numbers (91.5%) of medicinal plants were cited to be used in fresh form. Shrub elements constitute the largest number with 45 species (42.5%) followed by herbaceous, 29 species (27.4%) and trees make the third growth forms with 17 species (16.0%) harvested for medicinal value.Oral administration is the dominant route (67.2%), followed by dermal (21.1%) in which pounding, crushing, chewing, rubbing, dry bath etc are recorded methods of preparation techniques. Modernization, introduction of new religion and acculturation have contributed in making the younger generation unwilling to practice and retain traditional knowledge. Even though the study area possesses diverse natural vegetation, the environment is under serious threat, mainly due to human induced pressure such as agricultural activities, fire wood collection, charcoal production and the need for construction materials. These have great effects on the availability of medicinal plants in particular and natural resources in general. Awareness raising on sustainable utilization of medicinal plants and their in – situ and ex- situ conservation are recommended. Key words: Ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, ailments, medicinal plants.



Ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, ailments, medicinal plants