Use of medicinal plants among Ethiopian patients with diabetes: A qualitative exploration



Abstract Background: Most studies on the use of medicinal plants reported from Africa (including Ethiopia) have focused on the clinical actions of medicinal plants with little attention given to patient experiences in using these plants and factors impacting patients’ decisions about using them. Objectives: The main objective of this study is to explore the experiences of patients with diabetes attending treatment in the biomedical setting regarding their use of medicinal plants. Methods: Qualitative interviews were held with 39 purposively selected participants attending their treatment in 3 public hospitals in urban centers of central Ethiopia. Interviews continued until key themes were saturated. Results: Medicinal plants were used alongside prescribed medicines with a range of factors impacting study participants decisions to trying out and continuing to use medicinal plants and also in recommending against their use or discontinuing them. Some of the main factors that encouraged use of medicinal plants include perceptions that bitter things were thought to be good for diabetes, their claimed and experienced benefits as well as the influence of others and the media while those that discouraged the use of medicinal plants primarily include safety concerns in relation to using the plants. Conclusions: The findings highlight the use of medicinal plants by patients with diabetes in the context of limited information. This is suggestive of the need for the healthcare practitioners in the conventional healthcare system to give more attention to patients’ interest in medicinal plants and for providing more evidence-based information about the plants used by these patients so as to improve health outcomes. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2017;31(1):18-26] Key words: medicinal plants, type 2 diabetes, Ethiopia, qualitative research



How to Cite

Habte, B. M., Kebede, T., Fenta, T. G., & Boon, H. (2017). Use of medicinal plants among Ethiopian patients with diabetes: A qualitative exploration. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 31(1). Retrieved from

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