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Some Medicinal Flora of Okomu Forest Reserve in Southern Nigeria



M. Idu and O.O. Osemwegie
 
ABSTRACT

A survey of useful medicinal plants of Okomu Forest Reserve was undertaken and a total of 60 species of plants comprising of 50 leafy plants and 10 mushrooms were identified and recognized to be useful in native health care services by inhabitants of various communities in the South-South of Nigeria. Different southern Nigerian communities show not only individual characteristic dialect, culture and therapeutic practices involving the application of ethnomedicinal plants but also share common indigenous folk knowledge of what plant is used for the treatment of which ailment. Studies also show that 75% of men in most rural communities visited have inherited ethnobotanical knowledge from their fathers.

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  How to cite this article:

M. Idu and O.O. Osemwegie , 2007. Some Medicinal Flora of Okomu Forest Reserve in Southern Nigeria . Research Journal of Medicinal Plants, 1: 29-31.

DOI: 10.3923/rjmp.2007.29.31

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=rjmp.2007.29.31

Introduction

The southern part of Nigeria is long recognized for his low land rainforest vegetations which are very rich in botanical diversity (Hepper and Keay, 2000; Jones, 1956). Ethnic diversity around and within the vast forest regions i.e., rain, mangrove forests, of Southern Nigeria reflects an untapped wealth of indigenous uses of medicinal plants for the treatment of various health problems (Counteix, 1961; Gill, 1992). The reliance on traditional health care by many developing countries off Africa is dwindling because of the growing influx of orthodox medical practice into our rural settlements (Rao, 1996; Hounfordji, 2001). This has negatively imparted on indigenous traditional heritage and knowledge of ethnobotanic plants (herbs, shrubs, trees, ferns, bryophytes and mushrooms). It has also reduced practices involving mythical and medicinal uses of plant flora (Kshirsagar and Singh, 2000; Osemeobo, 1992). The traditional culture worldwide are more or less endangered as a result of increasing legislative and moral (psychological) supports accorded orthodox practice over native medicine. There is therefore a need for more studies and documentation of our indigenous traditional heritage and knowledge holdings of medicinal flora by various tribals, especially of mushrooms (Oso, 1977; Harkonen et al., 1994).

This study aims at documenting mythical and ethnobotanical knowledge and flora abound in the Okomu Forest Reserve of Edo state, south-south of Nigeria.

Materials and Methods

Several field trips were made by members of the ethnomedicine unit, Department of Botany University of Benin between the month of April 2002 to December 2003 to the forest. Some of the plants species were identified in situ or collected (herbarium specimens). Further information about Okomu forest, the plants were gathered from local inhabitants spread across different communities and culture not more than 800 km radius of the forest who had good knowledge of the plants in their locality. Locals not less than 45 years of age are some time taken on some of the trips to help supply local names and identify medicinally useful plants. Interestingly, we noticed that among the informants from the different communities studied, the adult males were comparatively better familiar with the plants of ethnobotanical values than the adult females. The reason for this may be traced to the cultural recognition and preference for male child.

Table 1: Some medicinal plants of Okomu Forest Reserve, scientific and local (Bini) names and uses

Some of the plant specimens collected were supervised by the authorities of the forest reserve and remanded at the Okomu herbarium after proper identification. Enumeration of these medicinal plants is given in Table 1 in alphabetical other of family and genus.

REFERENCES
Conuteix, P.J., 1961. The Major Significance of Minor Forest Products. In: Local Value Andf Used of Forest on West Africa Humid Forest Zones, Kappel, R.S.C. (Ed). FAO, Rome, pp: 81-86.

Harkonen, M., T. Saarimaki, L. Nwasumbi and T. Niemela, 1994. Edible and poisonous mushrooms of Tanzania. Afr. J. Mycol. Biotechnol., 2: 99-123.

Hepper, F.N. and R. Keay, 2000. History of the flora of West tropical Africa. Nig. Field, 65: 141-148.
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Hounfondji, J.P., 2001. Tempting Traditions, Internal Debate Needed in Traditional Cultures, Compas Magazinefor Indigenous Development. BDU Berneveld, The Netherland, pp: 12-13.

Kshirsagar, R.D. and N.P. Singh, 2000. Less-known ethnomedicinal uses of plants reported by Jenukuruba tribe of Mysore district, Southern India. Ethnobotany, 12: 188-222.
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Osemeobo, J.G., 1992. Religious practice and Biotic conservation on Nigeria: Conflicts and comproises. Geojournal, 27: 331-338.
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Oso, B.A., 1977. Mushrooms in Yoruba mythology and medicinal practices. Econ. Bot., 31: 367-371.
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Rao, R.R., 1996. Traditional knowledge and sustainable development: Key role of ethanobiologists. Ethanobotany, 8: 14-25.
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