An Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal Plants in Wonago Woreda,Snnpr, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


An ethnobotanical study of traditional medicinal plants used by indigenous people in Wonago Woreda, SNNPR was carried out from November 1, 2006 to December 3, 2006. A total of 80 informants (60 males and 20 females) between the ages of 20 and 85 were randomly selected from the study sites or kebeles. Out of these, 30 key informants (22 males and 8 females) were systematically selected based on recommendation from elders and local authorities. Ethnobotanical data were collected using semi-structured interviews, field observations, and group discussions. Informant consensus, preference ranking, direct matrix ranking, paired comparison and informant consensus factor (IFC) were calculated. A total of 198 plant species: 133 species from wild vegetation, 43 species from home gardens and 22 species from both, belonging to 174 genera and 76 families were collected in the study area. Of these, 58 medicinal plant species belonging to 39 families and 55 genera were useful for treatment of human health problems. Twenty-seven species (46.5%) of the medicinal plants were shrubs, followed by 19 (32.7%) herbs, and 12 (20.6%) trees. The most frequently used plant parts were the roots (17, 29.3%), followed by leaves (14, 24.1%). Different preparation methods were reported. However, the most widely used method of preparation was in the form of powder (32, 36.4%), and 29 (32.9%) of the preparations were made by crushing and pounding and mixed with different plant parts or different part of the same plant. The common route of application recorded was internal, particularly oral (37, 63.7%). Paired comparison and preference ranking showed that people have preferences for some species over others in treating the same ailment. The medicinal plants that are preseumed to be effective in treating certain diseases such as, ‘malaria and headache’ (82.3%) had higher ICF value. Agricultural expansion, firewood collection, grazing and drought are major threats to medicinal plants. It was found that, there is little practice of bringing medicinal plants under cultivation. Indigenous practicies, various cultural and seasonal restrictions of collecting medicinal plants have contributed to the management and conservation of medicinal plants in the area. It is therefore, recommended that people need to be encouraged to cultivate medicinal plants in their home garden. The participation of the local people and awareness creation through training or education on sustainable utilization and management of plant resources should be encouraged.