Economic Botany: Ethnobotany
Onyemachi, Felix C .
The States of Herbal Medicine in The Gambia.
Just like any other developing countries, herbal medicine has been practiced in The Gambia for thousands of years but most of these medicinal plants have never been domesticated. Medicinal plants are mostly used in The Gambia by herbalists or traditional healers. Before the arrival of orthodox medicines, the communities identified these herbalists as their “doctors”. In many families, it is like a family tradition wherein the knowledge is handed over to its members from generation to generation. Others claimed that it is a special gift from God. In the traditional Gambia setting, medicinal plants are normally obtained from the wild. This is because of the traditional belief that every medicinal plant in the wild has a “god” or “spirit” and unless collected in the wild at special times and procedures, the medicinal power will be rendered useless, the power will also varnish. This belief is one of the problems militating against domestication. Furthermore, the domestication of these plants has not been a great concern to the traditional healers as access to the forests in which they are obtained is not all that difficult. In the light of the fact that plant biodiversity is disappearing at an alarming rate, the following conservation strategies are recommended;
Individual as well as communal medicinal home gardens should be created;
Training of more personnel in propagation methods;
Efforts should be made in protecting and managing areas of greater conservation values, which contain important medicinal plants that are used to treat diseases that are of paramount concern;
Forestry Research Institute of The Gambia should establish propagation trials of the priority medicinal plant species;
Indigenous knowledge system on non-destructive methods of collecting medicinal plants should be further explored.
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1 - university of the Gambia, Agricultural and Biological Sciences, P.o.Box 3530, P.box.3530, Banjul, Banjul, 00220, The GAMBIA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Location: Lake Huron/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 11:45 AM