Local Healing Plants Used by Indigenous People in Dugda

Greg Howard
10th March, 2024

Local Healing Plants Used by Indigenous People in Dugda

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Ethiopia's Dugda District, locals use 64 plants to treat livestock ailments like anthrax and diarrhea
  • Leaves are the most used plant part, typically pounded and mixed with water for oral treatment
  • The study highlights the need to preserve this knowledge and the plants, which face risks from modernization
In the rural landscapes of Dugda District, Ethiopia, livestock are not just animals; they are a backbone of the community's livelihood. However, access to modern veterinary care is often limited. For generations, the people of Dugda have turned to the land, employing a wealth of indigenous knowledge to treat their animals using medicinal plants. This practice, known as ethnoveterinary medicine, is an integral part of their primary health care system. Yet, this traditional wisdom is at risk of being lost due to socio-cultural changes and environmental pressures. Recognizing the urgency of this situation, researchers from Addis Ababa University conducted a comprehensive study[1] to document the ethnoveterinary practices in Dugda District. They aimed to preserve the local knowledge and analyze the medicinal plants used for treating livestock health problems. Through interviews with 378 local inhabitants, focus group discussions, and field observations, the researchers compiled an inventory of 64 medicinal plants from 33 different families. The study revealed that the most common ailments treated with these plants included anthrax, inappetence, and diarrhea. Notably, the Fabaceae family was the most represented in the local pharmacopeia, with seven species used in remedies. The study found that herbs and shrubs were the primary life forms harvested for their curative properties, with leaves being the most frequently used plant part. The traditional preparation involved pounding the remedial parts and mixing them with cold water, with oral administration being the predominant method of delivering the treatment to the animals. Among the medicinal plants cataloged, Withania somnifera and Kedrostis foetidissima stood out with the highest number of use reports. The researchers also calculated the informant consensus factor (ICF), which showed that respiratory diseases had the highest agreement among local informants regarding treatment efficacy. Moreover, the relative importance (RI) analysis indicated that Croton macrostachyus had the broadest range of uses. This study not only contributes to the preservation of indigenous knowledge but also highlights the potential for these plants in veterinary medicine. It resonates with previous research[2][3] in other regions of Africa, where the use of medicinal plants is a common practice in ethnoveterinary care due to the inaccessibility of synthetic veterinary products and economic constraints. Furthermore, the study underscores the importance of considering both the pharmacological and toxicological properties of these plants[4]. As the use of natural products in food-producing animals gains traction, understanding these properties becomes crucial for ensuring food safety and the sustainability of ethnoveterinary practices. Despite the rich knowledge base, the study also found significant differences in ethnoveterinary knowledge among different demographics, influenced by factors such as education level and age. This reflects the impact of modern education and globalization on traditional practices, a concern echoed by previous studies that call for on-site and off-site conservation to protect medicinal plants[2]. The researchers advocate for participatory conservation actions, in collaboration with traditional institutions, to preserve these vital medicinal plants. They also call for further research to screen the plants for phytochemical, pharmacological, and toxicological activities. Such research could validate the traditional uses of these plants and pave the way for the development of new veterinary pharmaceuticals. In conclusion, the study from Addis Ababa University sheds light on the invaluable ethnoveterinary knowledge in Dugda District. It serves as a crucial step in safeguarding this heritage and opens avenues for scientific exploration that could benefit both animal health care and the well-being of rural communities in Ethiopia.

HerbsAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Ethnoveterinary medicinal plants and their utilization by indigenous and local communities of Dugda District, Central Rift Valley, Ethiopia.

Published 9th March, 2024


Related Studies

2) Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in Adwa District, Central Zone of Tigray Regional State, Northern Ethiopia.


3) Ethnoveterinary knowledge of sheep and goat farmers in Benin (West Africa): effect of socioeconomic and environmental factors.


4) Ethnoveterinary for food-producing animals and related food safety issues: A comprehensive overview about terpenes.


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