Title : A study of medicinal plants used by the Gusii Community in the treatment of digestive system disorders and other inflammatory conditions
Background: The medicinal plants used by Herbalists in Kenya have not been well documented, despite their widespread use. The threat off complete disappearance of the knowledge in herbal medicine from factors such as deforestation, lack of proper regulation, overexploitation and sociocultural issues warrants an urgent need to document the information. The purpose of the study was to document information on plants used by herbalists in Gusiiland in the treatment of digestive system disorders and other inflammatory conditions. This knowledge will lead to the utilization of indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge for the advancement of biomedical research and development. Methods: Semi-structured oral interviews were conducted with 100 practicing herbalists in Gusiiland. The types of plants used and the conditions they treated were identified and recorded in field notebooks. Results: Herbal practice is still common in Gusiiland and plants used in the treatment of digestive disorders and other inflammatory conditions were identified. Different herbal preparations are employed in the treatment of the various medical conditions affecting the digestive system. Conclusion: The study provides comprehensive ethnobotanical information about herbs used in the treatment of digestive system disorders by Gusii traditional healers. The identification of the active ingredients of the plants used by the healers may provide some useful leads for the development of new drugs.