Utilization of medicinal plants in Ikumbya Sub-county, Luuka District, Uganda
The study on the utilization of medicinal plants in Ikumbya Sub-county, Luuka District, Uganda was carried out between September 2008 and December 2008. The specific objectives were: to document utilization of common medicinal plants by local communities, determine the ecological status of medicinal plants in terms of density, importance value index (IVI), and population structure; and investigate the influence of environmental variables on the distribution of medicinal plants. Both ethnobotanical and ecological data on medicinal plants were collected from Ikumbya Sub-county. Ethnobotanical data were collected using semi-structured interviews at households and key informants. Eighty households from five parishes were randomly selected for interview. Ethnobotanical botanical survey realized 157 medicinal plant species in 128 genera and 62 families. Majority of the medicinal plants species (83.7%) were native species and introduced species made up 12.7% Fabaceae (19 species), Mimosaceae and Euphorbiacae (11 species) were the dominant families. Venonia amygdalina Delile was the most utilized plant species. A total of 87 medicinal/health conditions were reported by the local people with common ailments being malaria, measles and syphilis. Medicinal plants of Ikumbya Sub-county were dominated by trees followed by herbs and shrubs with climbers being the least used. Leaves and roots were the most preferred plant parts. A total of 160 plots, with a quadrat measuring 20m x 20m, were sampled during the ecological survey. Sixty-one woody plant species in 48 genera and 27 families were recorded, of which 37 species occurred in both the forest and farmland; 17 species occurred in farmland only, and 7 species were found in the forest only. Fabaceae and Combretaceae were the most species-rich families. The study has shown that people of Ikumbya Sub-county utilize a wide range of medicinal plant species to meet their health and subsistence needs. Most of the medicinal plants had poor conservation status because they had unstable population structures. In this regard, local people of Ikumbya Sub-county need to be involved in the conservation programmes of the medical plants. Finally, useful medicinal plant species that are scarce need to be domesticated for increased availability.