Ethnobotany among the Gashaka inhabitants of Gashaka Gumti National Park, Taraba State, Nigeria
The study was carried out to investigate use of medicinal plants by the indigenous people of Gashaka enclave to bridge the dearth of information on the indigenous knowledge of the medicinal uses of the existing plant species in the area. The inhabitants of Gashaka village were 300 at the time of this study and 30 were sampled. Simple random sampling technique was employed to select the respondents who were interviewed by the use of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) technique to obtain information on their indigenous knowledge on plant species used for medicinal purpose. All the respondents (100%) claimed that they utilize various parts of plant for treatment of yellow-fever, stomach pain, dysentery, toothache, typhoid, and malaria among other illness. Some species of plants identified to have medicinal uses include Parkia biglobosa, Albizia lebbeck, Prosopis africana, Piliostigma thonninggii, Cassia simea, Daniellia oliverii, Burkea africana, Afzelia africana, Tamarindus indica, Terminalia glaucosens, Terminalia macroptera, Adansonia digitata, Steculia setigera, Bridelia ferruginea, Vitex doniana, Vitelllaria paradoxa, Ficus sycomovus, Nauclea latifolia, Grewia mollis, Anogeissus leiocarpus and Crossopteryx fibriguga. The bark (47%) was most utilized by the majority of the respondents, followed by leaves (23%). The study revealed that medicinal plants form an important component of the natural wealth of Gashaka community of Taraba state, which have been used for treatment various ailments and it has established the fact that various plants were used in one way or the other as medicine. Pragmatic conservation education and strategies should be recommended in order to conserve the rich floral diversity; for further investigation, other ways by which the abundant plant species are utilized in Gashaka Gumti National Park is recommended in other enclaves of the park.
Keywords: Gashaka, Indigenous Knowledge, Medicinal Uses, Conservation, National Park