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MEDICINAL PLANTS IN AFIKPO SOUTH LOCAL GOVT. AREA IN EBONYI STATE, NIGERIA

Thesis, Project Topic: Survey of Major Medicinal Plants in Afikpo South Local Govt. Area in Ebonyi State, Nigeria


CHAPTER ONE

                                  INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The use of natural products with healing properties is as old as human civilization For a long time now, animal and plant products, minerals were the main sources of drugs (Okafor, 2001). According to the WHO, about 80% of the population of the world depends on traditional medicine especialy herbal remedies for their primary health care needs (Muthu, et al 2006). The African continent have a long history with the use of plants and in some African countries, up to 90% of the population rely on medicinal plants as a source of drugs (Hostettmann, et al., 2000). From a quarter of a million identified higher plants in the world about one fourth has at one time or other used by some people or cultures for medicinal purpose (Muthu, et al.,2006). The present activities of international organizations in the field of traditional medicine, like WHO in designating the world in six regional zones (African, American, South-east Asian, European, western Mediterranean, Western pacific), and providing a technical and financial supports, are the most encouraging system to collect, describe and investigate the medicinal plants at institutional level (Sofowora, 2002). The recent reports have indicated that, 25% of the modern drugs are derived from the extract of medicinal plants (Robert and John, 1993). In the developed countries people are seeking alternative herbal medicine because of the side effect from the modern drugs. According to WHO 70 to 90 percent of world population especially from developing countries, use plant remedies for their health care (Belachew D, 2004). However, the effort to provide public acceptance and ascertain scientifically remained to minimum in developing countries (Belachew 2004). Moreover, the high cost of drugs and the inability of many developing countries to purchase modern drugs have prompted them to look for local products in the form of medicinal plants, they have proved to be effective and safe, culturally acceptable and inexpensive (Sofowora, 2002). Developing countries like India, Pakistan and China have identified potential usage of medicinal plants, and integrated them in to their overall health care system (Andrew T, 2002.). ….

  •    DEFINITION OF TERMS
  • MEDICINAL PLANTS

Medicinal plants may be defined as those plants that are commonly used in treating and preventing specific ailments and diseases and that are generally considered to be harmful to humans. (Andrew, 2002). These plants are either “wild plant species” those growing spontaneously in self maintaining populations in natural or semi-natural ecosystems and could exist independently of direct human actions or the contrasting “Domesticated plants species” those that have arisen through human actions such as selection or breeding and depend on management for their existence. For example Aloe barbadensis (Central Statistics Authority (CSA) 1999).

  • THE NATURE OF MEDICINAL PLANTS

The role of food crops on which most human nutrition is based depends on the primary product of photosynthesis, the carbohydrate, protein, triglycerides (fats and oil). In the case of most drugs, herbs, ethnomedicines, essential oils and cosmetics are derived from the secondary products of plant metabolism such as the alkaloids, terpenoids and flavaonoids (Andrew, 2002). These substances have evolved as responses of plants to stress, predation and competition constituting to what is regarded as the vast chemical library of biological systems. Thus, it is usually “extracts” not the plants themselves or their parts such as fruits, seeds leaves etc; that are used for medicinal effects. However, medicinal plants possess what is referred to as pathological niche and they assume pathogenomic structure. This means that a medicinal herb can be used for different ailments with respect to its on human physiology.

  • IMPORTANCE/SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

Documentation of this indigenous knowledge of healing system still remains at minimum level (Kloos et al., 2006). Some investigations in certain parts of Nigeria have indicated the rate of erosion of both indigenous knowledge and the herbs signals for the need of intervention, hence the survey of some major medicinal plants in Afikpo South Local Govt. Area in Ebonyi state, Nigeria.

  • STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
  • AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study:

  • To document information on the common plant genetic resources employed in the ethnomedicinal practice of the indigenous people of the Afikpo South,
  • To explore ways of sensitizing genuine conservation efforts in the face of the genetic erosion threat posed to these resources.

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Topic: Survey of Major Medicinal Plants in Afikpo South Local Govt. Area in Ebonyi State, Nigeria

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