n African Renaissance - The role of indigenous medicinal plants in Ethiopian healthcare

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


In today's world of evidence-based medicine, the old system of traditional medicine has been scrutinized very closely, and rightly so, from the scientific angle in an attempt to render it more amenable to systematic investigation. In fact, looking back in time, modern medicine has benefited a lot from traditional medicine in that the latter had provided key leads emanating from folkloric uses of medicinal plants. A large array of modern pharmaceutical agents has been derived from such leads, which were eventually traced back to traditional uses of medicinal plants. Consequently, substances such as the antimalarial quinine, the decongestant pseudoephedrine, the pain killer codeine, just to name a few, were discovered as a result of ethnobotanical information obtained from traditional uses of plants, which are the natural "manufacturing houses" of these drugs. Plants continue to play a major role in providing prototype molecules for possible development into conventional drugs by the pharmaceutical industry. This article deals with the role played by medicinal plants in healthcare in Ethiopia against a backdrop of condensed history. It also provides synopses of select Ethiopian medicinal plants, and concludes by pointing out the future role that they can play as a source of enhanced herbal products.

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