Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3624

Full Length Research Paper

Utilization, cultivation practice and economic role of medicinal plants in Debre Markos Town, East Gojjam Zone, Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Yebirzaf Yeshiwas
  • Yebirzaf Yeshiwas
  • Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Debre Markos University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Esubalew Tadele
  • Esubalew Tadele
  • Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Debre Markos University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Mahlet Workie
  • Mahlet Workie
  • Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Debre Markos University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 04 September 2018
  •  Accepted: 20 September 2018
  •  Published: 10 January 2019

 ABSTRACT

Medicinal plants are useful for primary healthcare as a remedy for diseases and injury, while they are also used traditionally as food and beverages. Despite the wide role of medicinal plant, traditional utilization and management practices are not well documented in Debre Markos Town. Thus, this study was conducted to assess utilization and cultivation practice of the medicinal plants and to identify commonly used medicinal plants in Debre Markos Town. Data on medicinal plants production and utilization practice and its role were collected using field observation and semi-structured questioners. The study revealed that total of 55 medicinal plant species belonging to 35 families were used to treat various human diseases. Majority of medicinal plants species (80%) were cultivated. 48% of respondents have medicinal plants in their home garden. Leaf (13.3%) and root parts (13.3%) are widely in drug preparation. Widely used remedy preparation form (46.9%) is liquid, made by boiling. Oral method of administration accounts (36.7%) followed by dermal application (30%). The practice of using medicinal plants in the local people has significant in economic and social sense, save cost and time. Thus, it enhances strong economic capacity of the people through creating healthy, physically and mentally capable people. In general, Debre Markos Town is rich in source of medicinal plants and use of traditional medicine is common. Most of available medicinal plants are found under threats in the study area, which is one of the main reasons for the degradation and destruction of habitats is a major cause of the loss of medicinal plant. Therefore, documentation medicinal plants provide important data.

Key words: Medicinal plants, cultivation, use.

 


 INTRODUCTION

Medicinal plants are important for health care and remedy for diseases and injury. They  are  also  used  traditionally for foods and drinks (Yirga et al., ‎2011).  Early humans acquired the  knowledge on  the  utilization  of  plants  for disease prevention and curative purposes through many years experience, careful observations and trial and error experiments (Sofowora, 1982; Martin, 1985)

According to Bekele (2007), the major reasons why medicinal plants are demanded in Ethiopia are due to culturally linked traditions, the trust the communities have in traditional medicine, and relatively low cost in using them.

According to Bekele (2007) in Ethiopia, except in a few cases where a few food crops with medicinal value are cultivated, there is no organized cultivation of plants species for medicinal purposes. Systematic cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants requires the effort of all stakeholders including the traditional healers, researchers, academicians, farmers and the community at large. Incorporation of medicinal plants in agricultural fields and home gardens will help to increase supply and conservation of important medicinal plants (Oladele et al., 2011). There is little data available for any of medicinal plants for large and small-scale farming. Different studies have been made in different parts of the country, most of them are more general and do not focus on a specific agro-ecologicy of the country.

Asmamaw and Achamyeleh (2018) assessed available medicinal plants in Gozamen Woreda Daligaw kebele and found 37 for human disease treatment. Nigussie et al. (2018) also conduct assessment on medicinal plants in Gozamen Woreda. However, there is limited study on use and cultivation practice of medicinal plants in Debre Markos Town. Thus, this study was conducted to assess utilization and cultivation practice of the medicinal plants in Debre Markos Town. It is also important to identify commonly used medicinal plants and to document utilization practice of medicinal plants in Debre Markos Town.

 


 MATERIALS AND METHODS

Description of the study area

Debre Markos town was the historical center of administration and commerce of Gojjam for a long period of time. It is located 300 km Northwest of Addis Ababa and 265 km southeast of the Amhara National Regional State Capital City-Bahir Dar. The geographical coordinates of the town are 10°20′N 37°43′E. Its total municipal area is about 60 km square. It is situated at 2450 m above sea level. The weather condition, in most of the time is, 'Woina Dega'. The town receives a mean annual rainfall of 1300-1380 mm and the temperature ranges between 15 and 22°C. According to the 2007 national survey, the total population of Debre Markos Town was 62, 469 with a total of 18, 479 households. The town has seven kebeles. The study was conducted in two kebeles (1 and 3).

Method

The study populations are the households who are living in the  two kebels of Debre Markos Town. Those persons who owned the houses by rent are not included in the study. Individuals aged greater than 18 years and living for at least six months in the town were involved in the study. Two kebeles were randomly selected from the seven kebeles. Accordingly, 30 informants were purposively selected from each kebele of total of 60 respondents.  The household mothers and household head/ husbands were asked about the cultivation and utilization practice of medicinal plants. Informants below 18 years are not believed to have enough indigenous knowledge.

Data were collected by both qualitative and quantitative methods. Data for the study was collected from both primary and secondary source of data. The primary data sources used were field visit, key informant interview and semi-structured questionnaires. The informants were convinced upon the purpose of the research and each informant was requested for permission before the interview.

The interview prepared in English was translated into Amharic, the local languages of the informants. After researchers obtained an oral consent from each informant, information concerning the medicinal plant utilizers was collected. Medicinal plants information such as the plant local name, treated disease, and the use plant parts, preparation and route of administration etc. were recorded from the informants. The collected data was analyzed using SPSS software. We employed descriptive statistics and further inferential statistics to predict and indicate the utilization and cultivation practice of medicinal plants in the investigation area.

Ethical consideration

A formal letter was written from Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Debre Markos University, to get permission for conducting the research in the community. A verbal informed consent was taken from each household owner participants after clearly stating the purpose of the study.

 


 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Demography

Regarding educational status of informants, from 60 respondents 10 respondents (16.7 %) are attend college level and above, 18 respondents (30 %) are illiterates, 2 respondents (3.3 %) are on primary school and 30 respondents (50 %) are able to read and write, and when we compare their sex 22 respondents are males. From the total population 14 persons (23.3 %) are government employed, 24 persons (40 %) are merchants, and 22 persons (36.7 %) are Unemployed Table 1.

 

 

Diversity of medicinal plants in the study area

A total of 54 medicinal plants (Table 2) were reported by respondents in the study area to treat different human ailments. This plant belongs to 35 families. The largest diversity species are Lamiaceae with 6 (10.91%) species, Solanaceae with 5 (90.9%) species and Asteraceae 4 (7.27%) species.  The remaining 4  families  had (3.64 %) species each and 29 Families had one species each. This result indicates that the study area had widely consists diversity of the plant species found in families Lamiaceae, Solanaceae and Asteraceae. Similar results were reported by Abera (2014) who reported family Asteraceae was represented by 5 species followed by 4 species of Lamiaceae in Ghimbi district. Alemayehu et al. (2015) also reported that Lamiaceae and Solanaceae families was the widely distributed in Minjar Shenkora district. The study of Banjaw et al. (2016) at Wondogent area indicated that Lamiaceae family hold greater number of species followed by Asteraceae family. Giday et al. (2007) also reported similar results.

 

 

The present result also showed that peoples in the study area were widely used and provide priority for Medicinal Plants to treat human diseases like mich (fiver illness), Cough, Wound, Stomachache, Diarrhea, Evil eye, Snakebite, Throat infection, etc. The major reason of community to widely depend on medicinal plants is due to unaffordable price of modern medicine. The result is in line with those of Bekele (2007) that reported that the current demands for herbal remedies in both developed and developing countries are increasing. In developed countries, this may be partly due to the dissatisfaction with conventional medicines while with the developing countries this is due to lack of medical doctors, shortage of pharmaceutical products and their unaffordable prices

In the current study, one ailment can be treated with combination of plant species or single plant species (Table 5). Similar results were reported by Nigussie et al. (2018). The study of Zewdu (2013) at Gonder Zuria District, indicated 42 medicinal plant species representing 41 genera and 31 families to treat diseases (the highest number of uses mentioned for any disease were general health (69), respiratory (51), and gastrointestinal (28). According to Zerabruk and Yirga (2011), a total of 26 species of medicinal plants were collected and identified to treat 36  human ailments at Gindberet district, Western Ethiopia

Source of medicinal plants in the study area

The present study revealed that 80, 10, 4, 3 and 3% of respondents explained that medicinal plants for their use was obtained from cultivation in home garden, purchased from market, Traditional healer, neighbors and collected from wild habitat respectively (Figure 1). The present finding is in line with the findings of Feyyesa et al. (2015) who reported that most medicinal plants were obtained from cultivation in Jimma zone and Giday et al. (2007) who reported that major sources of medicinal plants in Agew Awi zone are home gardens or cultivation. According to WHO et al. (1993), the best way to provide the plant material needed for medicine is to cultivate the plants. This is far better than collecting the plant material from the wild since it does not deplete wild stocks, and in many cases, the declining habitats of native plants can no longer supply the expanding market for medicinal plant products. In the case of rare, endangered or over-exploited plants, cultivation is the only way to provide material without further endangering the survival of those species. Cultivation also has pharmacological advantages over wild-collection. Wild-collected plants normally vary in quality and composition, due to environmental and genetic differences. In cultivation, this variation - and the resulting uncertainty of the therapeutic benefit - is much reduced. The plants can be grown in areas of similar climate and soil, they can be irrigated to increase yields and they can be harvested at the right time. Cultivation also greatly reduces the possibility of mis-identification and adulteration.

 

 

Availability, management practice and utilization of medicinal plants

The present study indicates that 48% of respondents have medicinal plants in their home garden. Among these respondents, 33.4% respondents have four types of medicinal plants in their home garden, while 12 respondents  have  not  cultivated  medicinal  plants  and obtained from other sources. On the other hand, 44 respondents explained that they were given care and special management practices (irrigation, cultivation, fertilization and weeding) for medicinal plants whereas the remaining 4 respondents were does that did not give any care, but all respondents used medicinal plants for treatment of many human diseases (Table 3).

 

 

Plant parts used

The present finding revealed that in the study area, different plant parts were harvested (for example leaves, roots, seeds, stem and fruit) separately and used by mixing each other for preparation of traditional drugs. In the study area, the informants reported that 13.3% species of medicinal plants were harvested to use their leaves (13.3%) roots and (13.3%) by combining leaves and roots together in drug preparation (Figure 2).  In the study area, also respondents explained that 6.7% used seed to treat diseases. Leaves are widely used plant parts for drug preparations than the other parts either individually or by mixing other plant parts. The present result is in line with the finding of Giday, (2001); Amenu (2007); Alemayehu et al. (2015); Banjaw et al. (2016); Asmamaw and Achamyeleh (2018). Harvesting leaves are common practice in the study area which results in a threat to rare plants. Although, the equivalent ratio of harvested part in study area was root separately and in combination with leaves; which negatively affects the growth and physiology of the plant results in the destruction of mother plant. Utilization of leaves for drug preparation is important for conservation of medicinal plants since harvesting leaves may not cause detrimental effect on the plants compared to the root or whole plant collections (Megersa et al., 2013). According to Hunde (2006) utilization of roots and whole plants may have negative consequences on the sustainability of the medicinal plant species in the area.

 

 

Form used

The  major  forms of preparation of plant medicines in the study area (46.9%) included liquid obtained after crushing and chopping forms by means of  boiling,  and  absorbing the vapor part and drinking like water. 26.7% of respondents  explain  that  they  use  medicinal  plants  in solid form by inhaling in nasal method.  13.3% respondents used medicinal plants in liquid and gas form in combination (Figure 3).  The popularity of the liquid preparations may be due to the easy method of the liquid preparation form and to the property and availability of water as solvent. The common utilization of the liquid preparations forms in the study area is in agreement with findings in other parts of the country reported by Abiyot (2002); Alemayehu et al. (2015) and Asmamaw and Achamyeleh (2018). Utilization of fresh materials of the plants species is more preferable than dried form. This is because fresh materials are harvested directly and used early before deterioration. Nevertheless, communities believe that fresh materials are effective in the treatment as the contents are not lost. This agrees with the findings of Tamene (2000) and Hunde (2001).

 

 

Preparation methods

The majority of the medicines (53.3%) in the study area are prepared through boiling only followed by boiling and chewing together (13.3%). Ten percent of respondents explained that they prepare medicinal plants in the form of smoking / fumigation (Figure 4). The present finding  is in line with those of Assegid and Tesfaye (2014) and Birhanu and Ayalew (2018). During the preparations of the remedies, extracted medicines were mixed with honey, milk, water, coffee and tea which might be used to reverse adverse effect of the traditional medicines such as vomiting, itching and diarrhea. The same result was also reported by Assegid and Tesfaye (2014).

 

 

Administration method

Peoples in the study area mostly administer traditional medicine orally (Table 4). Oral method of administration only accounts for 36.7% followed by dermal application (30%) and dermal and nasal combination (20%) whereas the least used routes were nasal (10%). These results were similar to the findings of Hunde (2001), Giday (2001), Giday et al. (2007), Amenu (2007), Birhane et al. (2011), Assegid and Tesfaye, (2014), Alemayehu et al. (2015), Asmamaw and Achamyeleh (2018), and Birhanu and Ayalew (2018) who noted that drinking (oral application) was the dominant method of administration. Nigussie et al. (2018) conducted research in Gozamen District and reported that most common route of administration  is internal  particularly  oral that accounted for 51.61% followed by dermal (24.73%). Dominant routes of administration are oral and dermal because they perceive rapid physiological reaction of the prepared medicines with the pathogens and increase its curative power. The route of administration of herbal medicines could be related to bioactive agents in the extracts of the plants (Gurib, 2006). For example, herbal medicines whose bioactive agents are alkaloids are easily assimilated when administered orally while terpenoids especially essential oils are best administered through dermal and/nasal routes (Boadu and  Asase , 2017).

 

 

Economic role of medicinal plants

The practice of using medicinal plants by the local people has enormous and has paramount significance in economic and social sense. While practicing cultivating medicinal plants, they feel confident that they will cure different diseases by their own timely (Table 5). Especially, there are different infectious diseases and accidental illness that cause psychological and physical damage to the people and are being treated by those medical plants available in their surroundings. Moreover, those people who used medicinal plants for the sake of their health can save and reduce frequency of unnecessary waste from transportation and other miscellaneous cost to modern health institutions. Thus, it enhances strong economic capacity of the people through creating healthy, physically and mentally capable people. Furthermore, pre and post treatment practice that cure the disease  in  the traditional and routine practice in nearby community are able to create strong bond with the community and trust each other in curing the disease and other social settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 CONCLUSION

The study indicated  that  a  total  of  55  medicinal plant species belonging to 35 families were used to treat various human diseases. Majority of medicinal plants (80%)  species  were obtained by cultivation in home garden. 48% of respondents have medicinal plants in their home garden. Leaf (13.3%) and root parts (13.3%) are the most widely used plant part for drug preparation.

Liquid (46.9%) is a widely used remedy preparation form. Oral method of administration accounts for 36.7% followed by dermal application (30%) and dermal and nasal in combination (20%). In general, Debre Markos Town is rich in sources. The practice of the use of traditional medicine is common in the study area. Most of the available medicinal plants are found under threats in the study area, which is one of the main reasons for the degradation and destruction of habitats is a major cause of the loss of medicinal plant. Therefore, documentation medicinal plants provide important data. The practice of using medicinal plants by the local people has enormous and paramount significant in economic and social sense. While practicing cultivating medicinal plants, they feel confident that they will cure different diseases within their compound. Especially, there are different infectious diseases and accidental illness that cause psychological and physical damage to the people and its being treated by those medical plants. Moreover, those people who used medicinal plants for the sake of their health can save and reduce frequency of unnecessary waste from transportation and other miscellaneous cost to modern health institutions. Thus, it enhances strong economic capacity of the people through creating healthy, physically and mentally capable people.

 


 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We are very much grateful to the Horticulture Department third year students (Meseret Anley, Adugna Asrie, Wudie Kassaw and Tila Bayu). Our special gratitude goes to the informants of the study area for their willingness to supply relevant response.

 


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.

 



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