Medicinal plants in Ghana

This section examines information on the use of medicinal plants collated from a number of case studies of different regions and ecosystems in Ghana. The management of plant habitats, the evidence of overexploitation and scarcity, and the effects of environmental and land use change is reviewed. A brief profile of the country, and an overview of the health system and concepts of illness and treatment, and the role of traditional healers, of which herbalists form the majority, is included.

Ghana lies in a central position along the south coast of West Africa. The country is divided into ten administrative regions, of which six occur in the forest zone: Greater Accra, Central, Western, Eastern, Ashante and Volta, and four in the savanna zone: Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper West and Upper East. The population was almost 15 million in 1990, with highest densities occurring around Accra. The country has two distinct ecological zones: forest and savanna. The distinction between forest and savanna vegetation is clear, with little intermediate woodland on the fringes, and the boundary exaggerated by farming activities and fires. Originally, high closed canopy forest covered approximately 34.5% of the area (82258 km2), and savanna the remaining 156280 km2 (IUCN, 1988). Figure 9.1 shows the present extent of the forest zone. Ghana's closed forests are now confined primarily to the southwest, and constitute the eastern edge of the Guineo-Congolean forest region. This region is separated from the forests of central Africa by the arid Dahomey Gap and is distinct in faunal and floral composition (Hall and Swaine, 1976, provide a detailed description of forest in Ghana). Ghana's closed forests contain over 2100 plant species, most of the 818 tree species which have been identified in Ghana, and certain endangered and endemic species (19 species and two subspecies; IUCN, 1988).

The ecological diversity, and hence the source of medicinal plants, is

directly affected by the economic situation. In the past decade in Ghana, economic recession has had serious consequences in terms of increased poverty and unemployment, cut backs in services and infrastructure provision, and has provided an incentive for greater environmental exploitation.

Ghana was badly hit by economic recession in the early to mid-1980s, and these effects were exacerbated by widespread and severe drought, a drop in cocoa prices, and burgeoning debt. All indicators of basic needs, including infant mortality and food self-sufficiency, show a decline in welfare, particularly in rural populations. In addition, the need for foreign exchange has fuelled the accelerated exploitation of forests, and timber has been harvested at a non-sustainable rate (see Cheru, 1992; WRI, 1992). At the same time, public expenditure on Western-style health care has been reduced under the structural adjustment programme. Access to this health care, along with a resurgence of interest in traditional medicine in postcolonial times has placed traditional practitioners in a central role in providing primary health care. This has occurred in parallel with a reduction of habitats which are the source of plant medicines used by many traditional practitioners. The health care system is now described.

Health care in Ghana In contemporary Ghana two types of medical systems, the traditional and the 'scientific',1 exist simultaneously. There are generally five options for the treatment of most common diseases: a clinic or hospital, treatment from a nurse or paramedic at home, buying Western pharmaceutical drugs from a local trader, self treatment using plant medicines, or traditional healers. A range or combination of these options is typically used, depending on the particular ailment, the patient's financial situation, their access to Western and traditional healers, and their past experience (Falconer et at., 1992).

Indicators show a decline in health and access to health facilities during the period of the recession. The infant mortality rate and child death rate rose, and pre-school malnutrition rose from 35% in 1974 to 54% in 1984 (MacKenzie, 1992). Average calorie availability declined from 88% of requirements in the late 1970s, to only 68% during the 1980s. In all, there was a decrease in access to and use of health services by 11 % per annum, and an increased incidence of diseases such as yaws and yellow fever. The population per Western-trained doctor actually fell during the period 1965-84, principally because more than one-half of the qualified doctors

1 A number of different terms are used to describe these two systems. Western style, modern or scientific medicine is used here to define biomedicine. Its practitioners are usually referred to as Western-trained doctors, physicians or biomedical practitioners. Traditional health care is variously called indigenous or traditional medicine, its practitioners referred to as traditional or indigenous healers. Later sections of this chapter describe the specialist practitioners within this traditional medical system. These include herbalists, who are the majority of traditional practitioners and primary prescribers of herbal or plant medicines.

and a significant proportion of the nursing personnel had left the country by 1983. The majority of doctors are concentrated in urban areas. Wonder-gem et al. (1989) cite 1988 Ministry of Health figures, that 81% of the 965 doctors in the country work in urban areas, with 299 (32%) being based in the two teaching hospitals. Abbiw (1990, p. 118) claims that in rural areas of Ghana there is only one medical doctor to 70 000 people whereas in urban centres such as Accra the ratio is about one to 4000 people.

Before colonial contact in Ghana, indigenous health practitioners were the sole practitioners of medicine in the country. When colonial administrators arrived in the Gold Coast, they rapidly initiated a new regime on the basis of Western medicine. According to Twumasi and Warren, the aim of the colonial Government was to 'liquidate native practices of traditional medicine' (Twumasi and Warren, 1986, p. 122). This objective was implemented by the institutionalisation of the new Western medical system through legislation in 1878. Indigenous medicine lost its prestige and was stigmatised, a process aided by missionary influence. The colonial government denied indigenous healers any official mandate and legitimacy, and hence they were forced to practise in secret. (Similar policies and outcomes were experienced in other African colonies such as Kenya and Zambia.)

At Independence in 1957, the nationalist government of President Kwame Nkrumah undertook a campaign to create a national identity, which included the active encouragement of African arts, culture and medicine. This led to a re-surfacing of traditional medical practitioners and practice which, together with the present inaccessibility of Western medicine to large sections of the population, has stimulated the popularity of indigenous medical practice.

The advantages offered by traditional medicine over biomedicine are often referred to as the 'Four As': availability, accessibility, acceptability, adaptability. Anyinam (1987) examines these attributes and reviews the evidence in favour of traditional medicine in Africa. In terms of availability, there are certainly greater numbers of indigenous healers. In Ghana, Anyinam estimated a healer to population ratio of 1:224, with a doctor to population ratio of 1:20 625. This corresponds with findings reported by Amanor (1992), who cites a national ratio of 1:140 for registered traditional healers, compared with 1:20 000 for scientifically-trained medical practitioners. Although there are undoubtedly greater numbers of indigenous healers than Western medically-trained personnel, especially in rural areas, this does mask significant variations in local and regional distribution of health practitioners and, in particular, the location of certain specialist practitioners who deal with different groups, such as women and children.

Concerning accessibility, Anyinam (1987) distinguishes between locational and revealed accessibility: the proof of access is in the use of a service, not simply the presence of a facility. It is generally assumed that traditional practitioners are more accessible to poorer people than Western trained doctors because of the lower costs. This is not always the case, however, as Falconer et al. (1992) suggest that certain specialist indigenous healers are expensive; however, the self-administration of herbal remedies is within the reach of most people.

Traditional medicine may be more acceptable in a number of ways, and at different levels of society. Anyinam (1987) offers an anlysis of three aspects: acceptance of traditional medicine by the state or government, acceptance by the scientific medical profession, and acceptance by consumers. There is evidence that the state sanctions traditional medical practices in Ghana through its support of the Psychic and Traditional Healing Association. There is limited support from the biomedical profession through the University of Science and Technology and in pilot projects in integrating indigenous medical practices in primary health care. Acceptance by consumers is reflected by the continued demand for the services of traditional practitioners.

Anyinam (1987) describes traditional medical systems as being 'open' systems; they accept inputs from, and are thus capable of functioning in and contributing to, economic, familial, ritual, moral and other institutional sectors. This openness makes such systems more adaptive, and this is manifest in a number of different ways (Oppong, 1989). For example, the use of medicinal plants has adapted to changing environmental conditions by using different plants, for example the use of exotic species. The system has adapted to cultural changes, especially the decline of kinship groups as a result of increased migration and urbanisation through extending into urban settings, and to changes in socioeconomic conditions through monetarisation (Gort, 1989). Changing political foci have meant that the practitioners who were driven underground during colonial times are now increasingly members of professional organisations, so the system is becoming institutionalised in new ways (Twumasi and Warren, 1986). The impact of modern medical practices and health education have influenced some traditional practitioners who practice in more hygienic settings, use visiting cards, and attempt to standardise packaging and labelling. Wondergem et al. (1989, p. 26) describe a clinic in a small town in Ghana which is indistinguishable from a modern medical clinic; they describe such practitioners as 'neo-herbalists'. Traditional practitioners may refer patients to biomedical doctors and clinics (Wolffers, 1989). There is also some evidence that practitioners, especially in urban areas, are becoming more specialised (Edwards, 1986). New epidemics and diseases also provide further opportunities; for example one well-known Ghanaian herbalist has received national media coverage of his claim to have discovered a plant-based cure for AIDS (K.S. Amanor, personal communication).

Concepts of disease and treatment

The perceptions of natural and supernatural causes of disease influence the kind of treatment sought. In a study by Fosu (1981) in an Akwapim village called Berekuso, about 25 miles northwest of Accra, diseases are classified according to their perceived cause: either natural agent, supernatural agent or a combination of the two (see Box 9.1).

Box 9.1: Classification of disease in Berekuso

A female traditional healer in Berekuso explained the classification of disease by causation to Fosu (Fosu, 1981):

• Diseases caused by natural forces, such as malaria, diarrhoea and measles. These can be cured by the biomedical clinic, or by herbal medicine.

• Diseases caused by supernatural agents, such as witchcraft, sorcery and juju. These include conditions such as barrenness, carbuncle and epilepsy, and can only be cured by a traditional healer.

• Diseases caused by either natural or supernatural forces, which include gonorrhoea and dizziness. The particular cause in each case depends on the social circumstances, and they will be treated accordingly.

Table 9.1 shows the results of a household morbidity survey which shows that most diseases suffered in the village were perceived as being caused by natural agents. This category includes specific natural agents such as worms, insects and animals; inherently unhealthy environments; rapid changes in climate and exposure to excessive heat or cold; eating spoilt food, or an unbalanced diet. In addition, the malfunctioning of specific organs and hereditary diseases are included in this category.

The second category of diseases are those caused by supernatural agents and can be divided generally into those caused by good or benign agents, and those caused by evil or malevolent agents. The good agents are represented by the ancestral gods or deities who are believed to inflict disease for construction reasons; to ensure that people live lives in peaceful and harmonious ways within their community. Thus disease results from a

Table 9.1. Perceived causes of diseases in Berekuso

Cause of disease %

Natural agents 56.4

Impurities in the blood/head/stomach 30.4

Over-exertion 10.9

Exposure to excessive heat of sun, or excessive cold 5.2

Accidents 4.7

Insect bites 5.2

Supernatural agents 13.5

Witchcraft and juju 6.3

Breach of taboos 4.7

Sent by ancestral gods and deities 2.5

Natural and supernatural agents 30.1

Source: compiled from Fosu (1981).

failure to abide by social and religious obligations and responsibilities, and from the breaching of taboos, for example committing incest or adultery, or eating a totemic animal. In contrast witches, sorcerers and demons inflict disease specifically to upset the peace and harmony of the household or community, and disease may result out of envy, rivalry or greed. It may also come about as a result of contamination by ritually unclean persons, such as menstruating women.

In Dormaa District in Bong-Ahato Region near the western border of Ghana, Fink (1990) again distinguishes between diseases caused by natural and supernatural agents, but finds that the majority of diseases are perceived as being naturally caused. Treatment in this case is more strictly divided, so that diviners treat diseases caused by supernatural agents, herbalists those with natural causes. Both diviners and herbalists are not only capable of dealing with physical complaints but they also know whether the spirit of the patient is ill, and whether his or her soul is discontent. It seems that plant medicines play a role in the treatment of all classes of disease. Fosu (1981) found that over 60% of the diseases thought to be caused by a breach of taboo involved self-treatment. The prevailing belief is that such diseases are part of lay medical knowledge, to the extent that each family has its own favourite herbal recipes that have been proven over the years for treating such ills. It is only when the family prescription proves inadequate that a traditional medical practitioner is consulted.

Traditional health systems are thought to rely principally on curative rather than preventative practices but there are many household treatments that are both curative and preventative. Brokensha (1966) notes that herbalists may practise protective medicine, such as using a snake's fang to make a scratch into which powder is rubbed giving immunity from snake bites for several months. There are many plants which are taken to prevent sickness and encourage growth. These are often added to soups and taken as tonic mixtures. Such treatments may be especially common in treating children, and the extensive use of herbal mixes for the prevention of intestinal parasites and dysentery is mentioned in a number of studies (Wondergem et al, 1989; Falconer, 1990).

Traditional medical practitioners According to the World Health Organization, indigenous healers are a group of persons recognised by the community in which they live as being competent to provide health by using vegetable, animal and mineral substances and other methods based on the social, cultural and religious backgrounds as well as the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs that are prevalent in the community regarding physical, mental and social well-being and the causation of disease and disability.

(World Health Organization, 1978: 41)

Traditional practitioners in Ghana can be grouped into four main types according to their speciality areas (after the Psychic and Traditional Healing Association of Ghana cited in Twumasi and Warren (1986) and Wondergem et al. (1989); Falconer et al. (1992) identify the same groups, although they classify them differently). These are shown in Box 9.2.

The specialisation of traditional healers is highlighted by a study in the Dormaa District (Fink, 1990) of 61 healers from 29 villages which reveals a wide range of specialties, such that some practitioners appear to treat only one or two complaints, others specialise in areas such as pregnancy and childbirth, or childhood diseases, whereas some are known to treat a range of seemingly unconnected complaints.

Both in the direct role of administered and self administered traditional remedies, and in the cultural and religious position of the practitioners, traditional medicine can be seen as an important asset and an influence on resource use in Ghana. This latter aspect is now highlighted by focusing on the plants and substances, and their sources, being utilised in traditional medicine.

Box 9.2: Traditional practitioners in Ghana

• Herbalists are the most numerous traditional practitioners in Ghana. They approach healing through the use and application of herbs, with or without ritual manipulation. The content of their practice varies widely, and Wondergem et al. (1989) identify a number of subcategories and specialities including bonesetters, circumscisors and traders in herbal medicines.

• Spiritualists or diviners use methods of possession, divination and other ritual methods to diagnose and heal people; they are the intermediaries between their patients and the spiritual agents, from whom they derive their powers of healing. Fetish priests and priestesses are also spiritualists.

• Faith healers are the leaders of revival, sectarian and African-based churches. They combine traditional methods and values with those of Christianity, believing that the Holy Spirit is the source of their healing power.

Traditional birth attendants concentrate on problems of childbirth, delivery and have a role in puberty ceremonies. In childbirth they are the mid wives responsible for delivering the child. They may also advise on and treat the health problems of mother and child, and may have a role in sex education and contraceptive counselling.

Use of medicinal plants

Medicinal plants are of considerable importance to both rural and urban populations. Since colonial times a number of studies have highlighted the medicinal uses of plants in Ghana (Dalziel, 1937; Irvine, 1961; Ayensu, 1978; Abbiw, 1990). The stereotypic assumption that herbal drugs are used more often by poorer people and those with a lower educational background is challenged in a survey reported by Wondergem et al. (1989). The use of herbal drugs is not related to sociodemographic factors but to the availability, quality and accessibility of other health care resources, as highlighted in the section above. This may lead to the assumption that people utilise herbal medicine as a second choice; however, the findings of Falconer et al. (1992) refute this; they found that 96% of people in villages in Western and Ashante Regions use herbal medicines. Most people in these areas turn to self-treatment with herbal medicine as a first recourse when sick (84%); only 4% visit the clinic, and 11.5% take pharmaceuticals as first recourse.

Falconer's study highlights a major difference between rural and urban consumers; only 10% of urbanites used plant medicines as the first option when ill, and 60% used herbal medicines only after Western treatment had failed. Women were more likely to rely on plant medicines (in Fosu's study, women were found to attribute disease to natural causes more frequently, whereas men believe in supernatural causes). In contrast to Wondergem et al. (1989), Falconer's study showed that the level of education attained made a difference to the type of treatment respondents sought. University-educated people sought herbal remedies in only 3% of cases compared with 54% for those who had completed school, and 66% of those with no schooling. Seventeen per cent of those who had attended University never used herbal remedies.

The complaints treated by herbal drugs differ between urban and rural people. In the rural areas, herbalists are generally consulted at the early stages of disease and for acute complaints, often before a biomedical practitioner. In urban areas 'neo-herbalists' are consulted for persistent problems for which patients cannot find a cure from modern medicine. Herbal drugs are often used in complementary treatments, in which they are combined with pharmaceutical treatment. Both Wondergem et al. (1989) and Falconer et al. (1992) note the high rate of self treatment with both herbal drugs and pharmaceuticals.

Table 9.2 illustrates some of the most popular plants utilised by farmers in Krobo District, and shows how certain plants are used in different forms for treating a range of diseases. It shows the seven most popular medicinal plants identified by farmers in Amanor's survey of 162 farmers in five villages in Krobo (Amanor, 1992), and their main uses (Ayensu, 1978; Abbiw, 1990). This illustrates the extent of rural people's knowledge about medicinal plants and reflects the prevalence of collection and self-administration of herbal treatments. It also shows the range of uses of single species. For example, some are important sources of food and fodder, and as fuel wood. The most popular species, which over 40% of farmers in the survey identified, the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is not indigenous to West Africa, and is common in plantations on the coast. It is also an important provider of wood fuel. Mango is not indigenous to Africa either, although it is extremely widespread and well known, and its fruit almost universally eaten, and is often planted in homesteads as a shade tree. Interestingly, two of these popular species have been shown to contain active medicinal elements. Alstonia boonei contains an alkaloid, echitamine, which is active as a remedy for malaria, and Jatropha curcas contains curcin, a toxalbumen (Etkin (1981) reports the biochemical analysis of similar commonly used plant medicines in Nigeria).

Additional uses of these species providing common traditional medicines include extraction of tannins (from the pods of the West African locust bean, Parkia clappertoniana, and from Jatropha curcas for example), and in

Table 9.2. Popular medicinal plants and their uses in Krobo district

Common

Latin name name Part used Conditions treated

Azadirachta indica Neem tree

Alstonia boonei Sinduro

Parkia Locust bean ciappertoniana

Mangifera indica Mango

Hoslundia opposita Asifuaka

Root Febrifuge

Seeds Insecticide, anthelmintic

Oil Ringworm, wounds and cuts

Bark Intestinal worms, asthma, fractures, jaundice, lactogenic, wounds and cuts Rheumatism

Swellings Purgative/laxative Yaws

Haematuria, hernia Leprosy (preventative)

Root bark/

leaf

Leaves

Latex

Latex

(hardened)

Bark

Young flower buds

Bark

Newbouldia laevis Sasanemasa

Diarrhoea/dysentery, sore throat

Leaf and bark Sore gums/mouth Leaf Toothache

Leaf and buds Febrifuge Sap Syphilis

Root Antiseptic, colds, purgative/laxative, sore throat, gonorrhoea, wounds and cuts Leaf and Convulsions, sore leaf sap eyes/conjunctivitis, mange, jaundice, cholagogue (stimulating liver and bile production), stomach pain (purgative), vertigo, snakebite antidote and preventative Leaf and Ringworm and parasitic flowers skin diseases

Roots Anthelmintic, diarrhoea/dysentery, toothache (caries), syphilis

Katrina Brown Table 9.2. (continued)

Latin name

Common name

Part used

Conditions treated

Jatropha curcas Physic nut Bark

Bark Impotence (with clay and red pepper), colic, catarrh, earache, hepatitis, piles, purgative/laxative, sinusitis, snuff/sneezing, styptic (arrest bleeding), wounds and cuts, menstrual problems; amenorrhoea, dysmorrhoea Leaf Conjunctivitis, sore eyes, heart disease, heartburn, palpitations (leaf ash and salt), in difficult labour to facilitate birth, lactogenic, febrifuge

Roundworm, threadworm and intestinal parasites, gonorrhoea Leaf and Convulsion, guinea worm leaf juice sores, jaundice, scabies, styptic, wounds and cuts (ashes of burnt leaves) Seed and oil Crawcraw, diuretic, mange, purgative/laxative, rheumatism, ringworm and other skin diseases, vesicant (to raise blisters)

Source: adapted from Amanor (1992).

providing fish poisons (Jatropha curcas provides the poison known as adadze).

Different parts of the plants are used, ranging from roots and root bark, bark and stems, latex and sap, leaves, buds and flowers, and seeds. The part of the plant used as well as the growth and reproductive characteristics of the plant will have important implications for harvest (for example, seasonality) and its vulnerability to overexploitation. Falconer et al. (1992) explain how harvesting techniques may be destructive, and that these can vary from locality to locality, and depending on circumstances. Property rights and access may be important determinants of such management practices. For example, the traditional method of harvesting the climber

Piper guineese is to cut the vine and then leave it to dry for a week, and then collect the fallen seeds or pull the dried vine from the tree and pick the fruit. This practice has recently changed and some harvesters now cut down the trees upon which the climber grows in order to harvest the vine. Apparently the harvesters feel that their rights have been undermined and fear that if they leave the plant to dry someone else will appropriate the seeds or fruit in the meantime, and so are compelled to destroy both the vine and the trees upon which it grows.

The parts of the plants are prepared in a variety of ways. Leaves and bark can be mashed and pounded (for example, in the treatment of rheumatism and swellings with root bark and leaves of Alstonia boonei), powdered (for example root of Hoslundia opposita as an antiseptic), or stewed (leaf and buds of mango to treat fevers), or oil extracted from seeds. There is also a range of different modes of application and administration; some are ingested as decoctions, infusions and tissanes, some are applied directly as poultices or rubs and lotions, as enemas, and eyedrops, gargle, or nasal drops (for example, the leaf sap of Hoslundia opposita for jaundice) and as snuff.

A number of medicinal plants may be cultivated rather than harvested from the wild. Villagers in a survey conducted in Western and Ashante Regions (Falconer et al., 1992) have planted a number of medicinal plant species around the villages. These include the herbaceous plant Aframomum melgueta, and Xylopia species. The exotic neem tree, Azadirachta indica (which was also one of the species most commonly used by farmers in Amanor's survey) is frequently planted, with over 450 trees reported to have been planted in one village alone. Other planted species include Ocimum gratissimum, Spondias mombin, Ficus spp., Persea americana and Jatropha curcas. In addition, several healers report that they have planted medicinal plants which can only be used fresh near their compounds, near rivers and in swampy areas.

This section has highlighted the range of plants which are commonly utilised, along with some of their characteristics. These characteristics, the mode of the harvest and utilisation, and the opportunities for cultivation, will influence conservation strategies. The extent of commercialisation and trade is also an important determinant of the rate of exploitation.

Trade in medicinal plants Few studies of trade in medicinal plants in Ghana have been carried out. The most detailed work available is reported in Falconer et al. (1992).

Despite the reported predominance of self-administered treatment in the study of all the rural villages in Western and Ashante Regions, there were people who occasionally collect plant medicines for trade: overall 30% of households collect plant medicines at some time. For most people, this is not a regular undertaking and in none of the households interviewed was gathering of medicinal plants a major source of income; however, it may provide an important supplementary income for poorer households at particular times of the year. During October-December women collect the fruit of Piper guineesis, a climber often found in abandoned cocoa farms. It was found that the returns per day could range between 300 and 8000 cedis (£0.50-14.50), or 100-16 000 cedis per week (£1.80-29). Women mainly sell to retail traders at local markets, although occasionally traders from the Cote d'lvoire will purchase large consignments from a village. Women collect a range of products from farm bush, forest and cocoa farms (for example Monodora myristica).

Falconer et al. (1992) remark that the networks for trade in medicinal plants are informal, and that characterising the trade is difficult. Figure 9.2 illustrates this network diagrammatically. At rural market places the traders rely on goods brought to them by gatherers, although some gatherers may sell medicines themselves. The main customers are the rural public. Some wholesale traders, including some from neighbouring Cote d'lvoire, come to these rural markets, and act as go-between traders who sell to other traders, or sell for themselves at larger markets. At the rural and regional markets, traders tend to be either part-time farmers, or they may travel around the smaller markets. Some specialise in a particular remedy or potion which they peddle around rural markets. In the urban centres, traders are full-time and may be healers themselves. In Kumasi market there are more than 100 full-time traders, mostly women, many of whom inherited their business from their mothers. They provide medicines to rural markets throughout the region and sell a wide range of goods, including many medicines and fetishes from the north. Most have regular suppliers and gatherers. Entry into the wholesale market is difficult as there are few free stalls, and all medicine traders have to be licensed and must have undertaken training with the chief herbalist, the sumankwahene.

The most profitable and most common goods found in the markets include seeds of Piper guineese, Aframomum spp., Monodora myristica and Xylopia aethicopica, which sell in great quantities as they are ingredients in many treatments and have multiple uses. Table 9.3 shows some of the most commonly traded medicinal plants and their uses.

Table 9.3. Some commonly traded medicinal plants

Scientific name

Local name

Uses

Piper guineesis

Esro wisa,

Convulsions, stomach,

Ashanti pepper

purgative

Afrimomum spp.

Fam wisa

Piles, fever, boils

Xylopia spp.

Hwentia

Boils, anaemia, diarrhoea,

purgative

Monodora myristica

Widiaba

Stomach problems

Picralima nitida

Kanwono

Weaning

Tamarindus indica

Samia

Stomach problems

Zanthoxylen

Kanto

Stomach problems, cough

xanthoxyloides (bark)

Combretum spp. (bark)

African myrrh

Ulcer, boils

Kokrodosa

Rauwolfia vomitaria

Kakapenpen

Fever, piles, stomach

(stems/roots)

problems, asthma, measles

Strophanthus hispidis

Maatwa

Headache

(stem/root)

Alstonia boonei (bark)

Nyamedua

Measles

Source: Falconer et al. (1992); Abbiw (1990); Ayensu (1978).

Source: Falconer et al. (1992); Abbiw (1990); Ayensu (1978).

Farm bush Forest

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Responses

  • elle
    What is the name of the plant called nkanto in Ghana?
    1 year ago
  • eugenia
    Which ailment in Ghana was known as "crawcraw"?
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  • Albina
    What type of leaf is maatwa in ghana?
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