Journal of Biodiversity, Bioprospecting and Development

ISSN: 2376-0214

Open Access

Ethnomedicinal Plants Traditionally Used by the Keiyo Community in Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya


Gabriel Kigen*, Fatuma Some, John Kibosia, Hillary Rono, Ezekiel Kiprop, Bernard Wanjohi, Prisca Kigen and Wilson Kipkore

Objective:Traditional medicinal plants have long been used to treat various ailments in Keiyo district. However to date there are no records on medicinal plants used by the Keiyo despite threats of rapid disappearance of indigenous knowledge from deforestation, overexploitation among other factors. The purpose of the study was to document medicinal plants used by the Keiyo community in order to preserve traditional medical knowledge for future research and potential development of new drugs.

Methods: The research team comprised of professionals from the fields of medicine and botany. Local leaders, community elders, church leaders and other stakeholders were used to identify herbalists and convince them to provide information. Semi structured interviews, group discussions and observations were used to collect information on traditional knowledge from herbalists. Details of the medical conditions treated, herbal preparations used, treatment methods, local plant names and methods of collection of herbs were recorded.

Results: A total of 73 medicinal plant species belonging to 33 families were identified, used to treat 46 common human and three veterinary diseases. Leucas calostachys was the most widely used (17 medicinal uses) followed by Vachelia xanthophloea (10), Carissa edulis (9), Trimeria grandifolia (8), Terminalia brownii (7) and Rhamnus prinoides (6). Heartburn was treated using the largest number of plants (17) followed by cancer (9). Eight plants were used to either treat infertility in women or arthritis, whereas peptic ulcers, hypertension, headache, chest congestion and colic pains were each treated using seven plants.

Conclusions: The study provides information on medicinal and healing methods used by the Keiyo community. It also revealed that traditional medicines are still widely used in Keiyo district. Some of the identified plants have been demonstrated to possess pharmacological activities related to those mentioned by the herbalists.


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