Muyenga et al., 2018 Ethnobotanical Survey of Medical Plants Used in Treatment of Diabetes in Chipulukusu Compound, Ndola District, Zambia

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Keywords: Diabetes, Ethnobotanical Survey, Medicinal Plants, Traditional Healers, Traditional Medicine, Traditional Medical Practices


Background: Almost 70% of the Zambian population depends on traditional medicine and traditional medicinal practices as a source of primary health care. However, there is little published information on local medicinal plants and their preparation in Zambia for the treatment of several ailments including diabetes. Thus, the current study aimed at documenting the local and botanical names of medicinal plants traditionally used in the treatment of Diabetes and their traditional methods of preparation in Chipulukusu compound, Ndola district, Copperbelt province, Zambia.

Methods: This was an Ethnobotanical survey that was conducted among the traditional healers of Chipulukusu compound in Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia from October 2016 to April 2017. Twenty-seven traditional healers registered with THPAZ (Traditional Health and Practioners Association of Zambia) were interviewed. Data was collected using semi- structured interviewer administered questionnaire. Demographic data was analyzed using Microsoft excel by determine percentages and frequency. Plant diversity was analyzed by looking at the species and families of given plants; hence calculation of familiarity index (Fi) and the Relative frequency of citation (RFC).

Results: From a total of 27 traditional healers (THs) interviewed; 56% of them were female while 44% were male. A portion of 20% of the THs acquired their knowledge on traditional medicine from members of the family mainly grandparents and parents; while 70% through spirits and dreams and 10% through an apprenticeship. A total of 26 plant species were collected, identified and classified into 20 families. The most frequently cited plants used to treat diabetes were Erythrina abyssinica (0.4), Kigelia africana (1), Bidens pilosa (0.7), Carica papaya (1), Azaza garckeana (0.78) and Mangifera indica (1).

Conclusion: The most commonly used plants in the treatment of diabetes were Erythrina abyssinica, Kigelia africana, Bidens pilosa, Carica papaya, Azaza garckeana and Mangifera indica. The plant parts most commonly used were roots (42%) and all the medicines were administered orally. Most plants were prepared through maceration (54%) of the crude drug.