Asian Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Asian Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants traditionally used in Tana River County for management of illnesses.

Catherine Kaluwa Kaingua*, James Mbariab, Jemimah Achieng Odumaa, Stephen Gitahi Kiamaa

aDepartment of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, University of Nairobi, P.O Box 30197- 00100, Nairobi, Kenya.

bDepartment of Public Health, Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Nairobi, P.O Box 30197- 00100, Nairobi, Kenya


Aim of the study: The objective of the study was to identify and document medicinal plants traditionally used by people of Tana River County, Kenya for the management of various ailments.

Materials and methods: The study was conducted in March 2012. Information was gathered from 80 traditional practitioners who lived and practiced in Garsen, Itsowe and Ngao Subdivisions of Tana River using semi-structured questionnaires and focused group discussion. Voucher specimen of cited plants were collected and deposited at the university of Nairobi herbarium.

Results: A total of 31 plants distributed in 25 families were identified. The most popular plant species were eleven and were used for the management of pneumonia, arthritis, kidney problems, fibroids, typhoid, breast cancer, tooth ache, malaria, diabetis, convulsions, stomach ache, constipation, poisoning, cholera, diarrhea, mastitis, migraine, tonsilitis, ulcers, asthma, high blood pressure, urinary incontinence, body warts, milk letdown and as immune boosters.

Conclusion: The use of herbs is still very common amongst Tana River inhabitants and the healers still rely largely on naturally growing plant species in their locality. Furthermore, the documented medicinal plants can be used as a basis for future phytochemical and pharmacological studies.


medicinal plants, indigenous management of illnesses Tana River.

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