Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3780

Full Length Research Paper

Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants utilized by forest edge communities in southern Sierra Leone

Jonathan Johnny
  • Jonathan Johnny
  • Department of Wildlife Management and Conservation, School of Natural Resources Management, Njala University, Sierra Leone.
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Aiah Lebbie
  • Aiah Lebbie
  • Department of Biological Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, Nala University, Sierra Leone.
  • Google Scholar
Richard Wadsworth
  • Richard Wadsworth
  • Department of Biological Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, Nala University, Sierra Leone.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 27 October 2021
  •  Accepted: 05 January 2022
  •  Published: 31 January 2022

Abstract

A total of 128 medicinal plant species belonging to 71 genera and 46 families were identified and used to treat 42 human ailments. Euphorbiaceae was the leading family with 14 species, followed by Rubiaceae and Leg-Caesalpiniaceae with 12 and 8 species, respectively. Seven species (Coffea stenophylla, Garcinia afzelii, Mitragyna stipulosa, Irvingia gabonensis, Milicia regia, Nauclea diderrichii and Nesogordonia papaverifera) are of conservation concern. Herbs are the highest followed by shrubs, trees, climbers and epiphytes. Leaves are the most used parts, followed by roots, fruits, stems, flowers, nuts, tubers and seeds. The highest calculated Relative Frequency of Citations Index (RFC) was for Musa sapientum, followed by Zingiber officinale, Anisophyllea laurina, Cola nitida, Nauclea latifolia, Tetracera potatoria Allophylus africanus, Cassia sieberiana and Termitomyces microcarpus. The highest Use Value index (UV) was calculated for Cola nitida (1.9) followed by Nauclea latifolia (1.56), Zingiber officinale (1.55) Ficus exasperata and Tetracera potatoria (1.44) respectively. Medicinal plants knowledge is strongly associated with the elderly in secret societies which are structured along gender lines. Plant use for medicinal reason actually addresses a significant part of the way of life and customs of the people living in this area and other rural locations in Sierra Leone.

Key word: Medicinal plants, ethnobotany, indigenous technical knowledge, Sierra Leone forests.