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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Title Ethnopharmacological survey of Samburu district, Kenya
Volume 4
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
Page numbers 14
URL http://ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1746-4269-4-14
Background: Ethnobotanical pharmacopoeia is confidently used in disease intervention and there
is need for documentation and preservation of traditional medical knowledge to bolster the
discovery of novel drugs. The objective of the present study was to document the indigenous
medicinal plant utilization, management and their extinction threats in Samburu District, Kenya.
Methods: Field research was conducted in six divisions of Samburu District in Kenya. We
randomly sampled 100 consented interviewees stratified by age, gender, occupation and level of
education. We collected plant use data through semi-structured questionnaires; transect walks,
oral interviews and focus groups discussions. Voucher specimens of all cited botanic species were
collected and deposited at University of Nairobi's botany herbarium.
Results: Data on plant use from the informants yielded 990 citations on 56 medicinal plant species,
which are used to treat 54 different animal and human diseases including; malaria, digestive
disorders, respiratory syndromes and ectoparasites.
Conclusion: The ethnomedicinal use of plant species was documented in the study area for
treatment of both human and veterinary diseases. The local population has high ethnobotanical
knowledge and has adopted sound management conservation practices. The major threatening
factors reported were anthropogenic and natural. Ethnomedical documentation and sustainable
plant utilization can support drug discovery efforts in developing countries.

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