Original Research

Exploring the preference for indigenous medicinal plant medicine in Buliisa District, Western Uganda

Kyazike Elizabeth
Inkanyiso | Vol 13, No 1 | a14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ink.v13i1.14 | © 2022 Elizabeth Kyazike | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 December 2022 | Published: 01 July 2021

About the author(s)

Kyazike Elizabeth, Department of History and Political Science, Kyambogo University, Uganda

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Abstract

This paper explores the preference for indigenous medicinal plant medicine in Buliisa district, situated in the Albertine Graben. Despite attempts to improve access to conventional health services, there seems to be a preference for alternative medicine from medicinal plants. The specific objectives included examining the forms of indigenous herbal medicine, how they are administered and passed on from generation to generation, preservation challenges and mitigation measures. The study utilises a multidisciplinary approach by using archaeological transect walks, oral interviews with 50 herbalists, observation of the administration of herbal medicine, focus group discussions, and documentary review to collect data. Four hundred and seventy-seven medicinal plant sites were marked using a hand-held Global Positioning System at 80 locations. The results revealed that all plant parts are used for treatment as either independent parts or combined and often with other plant types. The most commonly used medicinal plant parts are the leaves. Buliisa medicinal plants cure various diseases, but the most common ones are sterility, sexually transmitted infections, high blood pressure, back pain, eye diseases, external body injuries, poisoning, and nose bleeding. In addition, treatment for aspects such as luck and spiritually related ailments are also handled. Though the harvesting poses a key conservation challenge, the secrecy embedded in the transmission of indigenous knowledge, education, Christianity and oil exploration is each equally a threat. The study recommends that since most herbal medicines have no overdose, there is a need to undertake more research to document the dosage and side-effects of using medicinal plants and compile a red list of the endangered species. The study has implications for the knowledge and development of herbal indigenous medicinal plants.

Keywords

indigenous knowledge; medicinal plants; herbal medicine; heritage preservation

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