An ethno-botanical study of traditional medicinal plants used by indigenous people in Mekele city, northern Ethiopia was carried out from July - September 2009. Thirteen informants between the ages of 18 and 56 were randomly selected for the study. Ethno-botanical data were collected using semi-structured interview and field observations. The routes of administration were oral and dermal with equal proportions. The local people utilized 16 medicinal plant species to treat 16 human ailments. Most of these plants (62.5%) were collected from wild habitats. Local people depend on both dry and fresh remedies. In this case, 10 preparations (62.5%) were in fresh form and 6 (37.5%) dried. The majority (75%) of remedy preparations did not have additive substances while the remaining has different additive substances like honey, sugar, oil and hair of female old sheep for the treatment of single ailment. Most (84.6%) of the traditional healers were found to have poor knowledge on the dosage and antidote while prescribing remedies to their patients. Majority (84.6%) of traditional healers indicated the absence of any adverse effects of traditional medicines after administrations. But some (15.4%) of the preparations were reported to have some adverse effects like vomiting and fever on patients. Agricultural expansion, over grazing and lack of awareness are major threats to medicinal plants in the study area. It was found that, there is little practice of bringing medicinal plants under cultivation. It is therefore, recommended that people need to be encouraged to cultivate medicinal plants in their home garden. The participation of the local people and awareness creation through training or education on sustainable utilization and management of plant resources should be encouraged.
Key words: Ethno-botany, medicinal plants, Mekele, traditional healers.
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