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Ethiopian medicinal plants traditionally used for wound treatment: A systematic review

Helen Bitew
Haftom Gebregergs
Kald B. Tuem
Mariamawit Y. Yeshak


Background: There are rich knowledge and practice in Ethiopian traditional medicine of using plants for the treatment of various ailments, including wounds. Though scholars have been working on documenting the ethnobotanical use of plants, the studies are still ongoing.

Objectives: This study systematically reviewed medicinal plants traditionally employed for the treatment of wounds in Ethiopia.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted using PubMed and Google Scholar; a search of grey literature was also carried out as part of the review. Search terms and phrases included ‘traditional medicine’, ‘ethnomedicine’, ‘ethnobotany’ and ‘Ethiopia’. Data regarding the scientific name, family, local name, growth form of the plant, mode of administration, and availability of voucher specimen were extracted.

Results: Based on the eligibility criteria, 29 studies were retrieved from PubMed, and 25 from Google Scholar and the grey literature. Around 200 medicinal plants which are used to treat wounds in Ethiopian traditional medicine were recorded. Leaves and roots were the most commonly used plant parts to treat wounds, while shrubs and herbs were reported to be the growth forms of most plants. The mode of administration was topical in almost all cases.

Conclusions: Medicinal plants have been used extensively to treat wounds in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, the scientific exploration of plants’ efficacy and safety is inadequate, and relevant activity studies ought to be conducted to provide scientific evidence to the traditional claims of these plants. [Ethiop.J. Health Dev. 2019; 33(2):102-127]

Key words: Ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, medicinal plants, Ethiopian traditional medicine, wound

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eISSN: 1021-6790