Ethnobotanical studies are often significant in revealing locally
important plant species especially for the discovery of crude drugs.
Right from its beginning, the documentation of traditional knowledge,
especially on the medicinal uses of plants, has provided many important
drugs of modern day [1,2].
Traditional medicine still remains the main resource for a large
majority (80%) of the people in Ethiopia for treating health problems
and a traditional medical consultancy including the consumption of the
medicinal plants has a much lower cost than modern medical attention [3-5].
Out of the total flowering plants reported from the world, more than 50,000 are used for medicinal purposes [6,7].
In Ethiopia, about 800 species of plants are used in the traditional
health care system to treat nearly 300 mental and physical disorders.
The wide spread use of traditional medicine among both urban and rural
population in Ethiopia could be attributed to cultural acceptability,
efficacy against certain type of diseases, physical accessibility and
economic affordability as compared to modern medicine. Ethiopian
traditional medical system is characterized by variation and is shaped
by the ecological diversities of the country, socio-cultural background
of the different ethnic groups as well as historical developments,
which are related to migration, introduction of foreign culture and
religion. Previous studies showed the existence of traditional medical
pluralism in the country. In Ethiopia, either the knowledge from
herbalists is passed secretively from one generation to the next
through words of mouths or their descendants inherit the
medico-spiritual manuscripts [8-12].
The study of Ethiopian medicinal plants has not been realized as
fully as that of India or other traditional communities elsewhere .
In Ethiopia, though there has been some organized ethnomedicinal
studies, there is limited development of therapeutic products and the
indigenous knowledge on usage of medicinal plants as folk remedies are
getting lost owing to migration from rural to urban areas,
industrialization, rapid loss of natural habitats and changes in life
style. In addition, there is a lack of ethnobotanical survey carried
out in most parts of the country. In view of these, documentation of
the traditional uses of medicinal plants is an urgent matter and
important to preserve the knowledge. Furthermore, most of the
ethnomedicinal studies in northern part of Ethiopia are focused on
'Medihanit Awakie' (professional traditional practitioners) and the
ancient medico-magical and/or medico-spiritual manuscripts and old
Gee'z manuscripts [11,14,15], and ignore the knowledge of ordinary people in the locality .
Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate the traditional uses
of medicinal plants by the ordinary people in Zegie Peninsula and to
provide baseline data for future pharmacological and phytochemical