Main Article Content
Objective: We conducted this study to document local knowledge about poisonous plants and to assess if these same plants are being used in ethnomedicine as well as the extent of their utilization.
Design: The study was carried out in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples State of Ethiopia. A two stage stratified random sampling procedure was used in the selection of major ethnic groups (zones) and weredas (sub-district). Using open-ended questionnaires, focus group discussion involving community leaders was performed in each of the 12 selected weredas. Using structured questionnaires, individual interviews were also held in up to three peasant associations of each wereda.
Results: 20% of the 113 species recorded in the study area as poisonous included plants with toxic acrid milky latex which belong to the family Euphorbiaceae. Secondary data also shows ironically that member species of this family to be most important source of remedy in local medicine. The role of this group of plants in tumour promotion and the mechanisms involved are highlighted.
Conclusion: The importance of prospective epidemiological survey of human cancer along with investigation of initiating doses of solitary carcinogens or oncogens and co-carcinogens of the promoter type as possible risk factors of cancer associated with the utilization of Euphorbiaceae material is stressed.
Key words: Traditional medicine, Euphorbiaceae, carcinogensis, diterpene esters, qulqwal
[J Ethiop Med Pract, 2001;3(1): 8-15]