Medicinal plants have neither been seriously studied nor documented in Afar Region, North Eastern Ethiopia and most of the available information is still in the hands of the traditional healers. A study was carried out during Nov. 2002 - May 2003 to explore ethnobotanical information on the use of medicinal plants by the Afar people in 13 rural communities of Chifra District, Afar Region. Based on the information obtained from ethnic leaders, 29 traditional medicine practitioners were interviewed by using a pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire, and a total of 70 plant species were reported to have medicinal values. Of these, 33 were fully identified by their botanical names, 10 only at generic level and 27 could not be identified taxonomically and were recorded only by their vernacular names. 15% of the identified species belong to the family Fabaceae. Among 144 ethnoformulations reported, the majority were liquid preparations followed by unprocessed herbs and powders. Next to the oral route, nasal administration is the most common route of drug application. The medicinal uses of the plants were grouped into 9 therapeutic categories to have the factor of informant's consensus (Fic) for each group. Accordingly, snakebite had the highest value (0.53) suggesting the dependence of the practitioners on certain plants for the indication.
Keywords: medicinal plants, traditional medicine, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacy, Afar region
Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Journal Vol. 24, 2006: 41-58