Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3823

Full Length Research Paper

Traditional medicinal plants used by Kunama ethnic group in Northern Ethiopia

Meaza Gidey*
  • Meaza Gidey*
  • Department of Biology, Aksum University P.O. Box 287 Tigray, Ethiopia.
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Tadesse Beyene
  • Tadesse Beyene
  • Department of Biology, Mekelle University, PO Box 231 Tigray, Ethiopia.
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Maria Adele Signorini
  • Maria Adele Signorini
  • Department of Biology, University of Florence PO Box 100547, Florence, Italy.
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Piero Bruschi
  • Piero Bruschi
  • Department of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science, sect. soil and Plant science, University of Florence, p.le Cascine 28 Firenze, Italy.
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Gidey Yirga
  • Gidey Yirga
  • Department of Biology, Mekelle University, PO Box 231 Tigray, Ethiopia.
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  •  Received: 07 November 2014
  •  Published: 17 April 2015


Utilization of medicinal plants is almost as old as the history of mankind. Semi-structured interview, guided field walk, group discussion and market survey were used to collect ethnobotanical data in Tahitay Adiyabo and Kafta Humera districts in northern Ethiopia. A total of 47 informants (30 males and 17 females) were selected purposefully from three sub-districts: Lemlem (n = 27), Adi-Goshu (n = 10) and Hilet-Coca (n = 10). A total of 115 species of medicinal plants were collected and identified for treating 59 humans and livestock ailments. The most commonly used plant parts for herbal preparations were roots (35.5%) and leaves (21.74%) and were administered through oral, dermal, ocular, nasal and vaginal routes in decreasing order. Oral application (58 preparations, 50.43%) was the highest and most commonly used route of application followed by dermal application (35 preparations, 30.43%). Kunama tribes are rich in medicinal plant species and the associated indigenous knowledge. Future studies should focus on phytochemical extraction of herbal drugs for their efficacy and possible toxicity.


Key words: Kunama, KaftaHumera, Tahitay Adiyabo, ethnobotany, traditional medicine.