Medicinal Plants used in Traditional Medicine in Jimma Zone, Southwest Ethiopia

  • Balcha Abera


BACKGROUND: Locally available and widely used medicinal plants would need to be identified and a list compiled as well as propagated to alleviate the risk of extinction due to accelerated urbanization, recurring drought and deforestation. This study was conducted to document locally available medicinal plants and empirical or local knowledge of traditional healers on commonly used medicinal plants in Jimma. METHODS: An ethnobotanical survey was conducted in six districts of Jimma zone Oromia Regional State, Southwestern Ethiopia to document commonly used medicinal plants used for treatment of common diseases. The study was conducted during 20 January to 30 April, 2000. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the specimens and record pertinent information on their use. Preserved specimens were described by taxonomists of the Faculty of Science, Addis Ababa University. RESULTS: Thirty-nine medicinal plants recognized for the treatment of various diseases were collected; recorded with their vernacular names and associated information. Ultimately, the plants were described with their scientific names. The leaf parts were widely used, followed by roots and stems, fruit, bark and flower in 42.0%, 18.0%, 18.0%, 12.0%, 8.0% and 2.0% respectively as a means and source of medicine. Few plants (31.0%) needed other ingredients either for taste preference or as a portion of medicine. Ten (25.0%) of the collected species consisted of more than one part of the plant parts as a source of medicine, while 29(79.5%) of them had a single part for use. Regarding the method of preparation, decoction and vegetable drug constituted 3.9.0% and 37.0%, followed by concoction and infusion in 22.0% and 2.0% respectively. The response of traditional healers towards collaborating with the researcher ranged from complete refusal to willing to work with all aspects. The major uses of the medicinal plants ranged from pain killer to malaria and cancer treatment. CONCLUSION: This study signals the information and identification of varieties and usage of medicinal plants in the study area. The scientific validity of these remedies, however, needs further investigation. [Ethiop J Health Sci 2003; 13(2): 85-94]

Ethiop J Health Sci. Vol. 13, No. 2 July 2003

Author Biography

Balcha Abera
Department of Biology, Faculty of Education, Jimma University, P.O. Box 378, Jimma, Ethiopia

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1029-1857
print ISSN: 1029-1857