An ethnobotanical survey of seventeen plants species used against diarrhoea and other diseases in southern Benin (West Africa)


Ethnobotanical relevance: Many plants are widely used in traditional medicine across Africa. In Benin, practitioners of Beninese traditional medicine make use of diverse medicinal plants in the traditional management of various diseases including diarrhoea. Aim of the study: This study aimed at highlighting the ethnomedicinal uses of 17 plants in the traditional treatment of diarrhoea and other diseases in southern Benin. Methods: An ethnomedicinal survey was carried out using the semi-structured interview method among practitioners of traditional medicine in Benin. This allowed for the identification of the traditional uses of these plants. The ethnobotanical data collected was analyzed using indices such as Use Value, Informant Consensus Factor and Fidelity Index of medicinal plants. A total of 72 informants participated in this study, including 52 market herbalists and 20 traditional healers. Results: The cited plants were involved in the treatment of 39 diseases and symptoms of diseases which have been divided into 15 categories. The most frequently mentioned disease categories were infectious-, blood and digestive diseases,offering treatement for malaria, diarrhoea and fever, amongst others. These plants have maximum potential for the treatment of infectious diseases, as well as metabolic, respiratory, skin, blood, digestive and circulatory diseases. Conclusion: This study revealed that interviewed informants (market herbalists and traditional healers) had good knowledge of the treatment of several diseases using the 17 plants . . It confirmed that the 17 selected plants are used in the traditional treatment of diarrhoea as well as other diseases. This study provided a database for Future pharmacological investigations on the basis of this ethnobotanical documentation.