Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by sabaots of Mt. Elgon Kenya.
Though the majority of people in Kenya and at Kopsiro Division in species to manage human ailments, the indigenous knowledge largely remains undocumented. Therefore, an ethnobotanical study was conducted on medicinal plant species used to manage human ailments at Kopsiro Division Mt. Elgon District Kenya. The objectives were to identify and document plants traditionally used for medicinal therapy by the Sabaots, to find out the method used for preparing and administering the drugs and to find out the conservation practices for the medicinal plants. Observations and semi-structured interviews were used to gather ethnobotanical data. 107 plants belonging to 56 families were identified and reported to be of medicinal value to the locals. Roots (47.3%) were the most frequently used parts of the plant followed by the bark (23.35%) then leaves (22.75%). The whole plant (1.8%), seed (1.2%), fruit (1.2%), sap (1.2%), flower (0.6%) and wood (0.6%) are least used in that order. The study revealed other hitherto undocumented medicinal plant species that may be new records for treating various ailments. Traditional medicine in Kopsiro division offers cheap, accessible and convenient remedy that suits the traditional lifestyle of the local community in comparison to the conventional medicine. Most medicinal plant species reported in this study were found to be under threat and this calls for urgent conservation measures so as to maximize the sustainable use of these vital resources in the study area.
Key words: Ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, indigenous knowledge, medicinal plant, traditional medicine, Sabaots