Ethnomedicinal uses of plants among the Somali ethnic group

Arebu Issa Bilal, Teferi Gedif Fenta, Tsige Gebre-Mariam, Kaleab Asres

Abstract


Abstract
Introduction: In Ethiopia, most people are dependent on traditional medicine (TM), mainly of plant origin for human and animal health problems. The practice of herbal medicine varies widely, in keeping with the societal and cultural heritage of different countries. The heritage has not been well documented in the developing countries including Ethiopia and this is even more so in the emerging regions of the country. The objective of this study was to document medicinal plant knowledge of the people and identifying factors determining the use of medicinal plants in Jigjiga Woreda, Somali Regional State, eastern Ethiopia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in five kebeles from where ethno-medicinal information was collected using semi-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to 800 heads of households. Data were entered and analyzed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences version 20. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to show possible associations between the dependent and independent variable and statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.
Results: The study documented an overall prevalence of 40% to use of herbal medicine during one month recall period. A total of 45 medicinal plant species were collected and botanically identified. The study found that leaves are the most frequently utilized plant part (30.5%), followed by roots (23.0%). The reasons for preference of herbal drugs were related to lower price, efficacy and geographic accessibility as compared to modern medicine. Age, gender, educational status and occupation were identified as important determinants for the use of herbal medicine.
Conclusion: This ethno-medicinal study showed that community in Jigjiga Woreda relies on traditional medicinal plant species to treat a wide spectrum of human ailments. It is therefore suggested that more in depth studies be condicted to explore the potential of traditional medicine in the region to preserve this indigenous knowledge. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2017;31(3):188-199]
Key words: Ethnomedicine, Jigjiga Woreda, Medicinal plants, Somali ethnic group

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