Improving access to priority herbal medicine in Uganda.
Mpuuga, Brian Abraham
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Conservation of plant diversity can be attained when people attach values to plants. The value may be ecological, recreational, economical, medicinal, cultural or spiritual. Conservation of medicinal plants encourages conservation of species of medicinal and other uses. Currently, medicinal plants are harvested from the wild and for many people wild habitats are treated as common property. The problem with common property is that no one feels particularly responsible for their protection. It is, therefore, necessary that medicinal and other useful plants are also managed ex situ. An ethnobotanical study was conducted to determine the priority medicinal plants, their use and propagation through leafy stem cuttings. The ethnobotanical survey comprised interviewing traditional medicinal practitioners and a plant propagation experiments. A total of 240 species were documented 209 identified and 31 not identified. Of the identified medicinal species, 28 were ranked as priority. Barks and leaves were the most harvested plant parts. Syphilis, cough and malaria were the most treated diseases. Majority of the priority medicinal species were also used as fuel wood, charcoal production, shade provision and building materials. Propagation using leafy stem cuttings is not a suitable method for Prunus africana, Zanthoxylum leprieurii, Erythrina abyssinica, Piptadeniastrum africanum, Combretum molle and Ficus saussureana.