Manual on ethnovet in East Africa

  • 05th November 2016
  • by secretary

Traditional ethnoveterinary medicine in East Africa : a manual on the use of medicinal plants. Dharani N., Yenesew A., Aynekulu E., Tuei B. and Jamnadass R. 2015.

Nairobi: World Agroforestry Centre.
Published by the World Agroforestry Centre, Traditional ethnoveterinary medicine in East Africa: a manual on the use of medicinal plants describes animal conditions and how to diagnose, prevent, control and treat them. 

The manual is a collaborative work of the World Agroforestry Centre and the Kenyan Ministry of Livestock Development.

It includes information on 53 different plant species (indigenous as well as widely cultivated exotics) and the animal conditions they are used to treat or control. These 2 sections are conveniently linked through an appendix.

The manual also looks at common methods for administering plant-based treatments and provides detail on the active compounds found in medicinal plants. The concentration of these compounds can vary depending on the plant part, growth stage, the time of harvest and the handling methods used during collection and subsequent storage.

Procedures for collecting and storing medicinal plants are outlined in the manual, particularly to ensure the chemical compounds needed for therapeutic activity are maintained as effectively as possible.

The manual emphasizes that “where possible, plant parts should be harvested in a manner that does not kill the plant.” However, if destruction of the plant cannot be avoided, “some plants in a location should be left unharvested” so they can then seed and maintain the population.

“Hundreds of plant species are used by livestock keepers in sub-Saharan Africa to treat a wide range of ailments. They generally don’t have access to or can’t afford ‘modern’ veterinary medicines and approaches. We have compiled this manual to help those using traditional practices and others who want to understand them better, such as scientists interested in researching the effectiveness and transferability of ethnoveterinary medicine. For example, to treat East Coast Fever, a devastating disease in cattle that is transmitted by the brown ear tick, the manual explains how leaves and fruit of the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) can be crushed, added to a saltlick and given to infected animals. Alternatively, leaves and roots of Vernonia amygdalina or Vernonia auriculifera trees or Sesbania sesban can be crushed and boiled and used as a drench. The bark of Warbugia ugandensis can also be used as a drench. Najma Dharani, lead author of the manual and consultant research scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre as well as senior lecturer at Pwani University-Kilifi, Kenya.