Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 40-46. 2009.
Medicobotanical Studies in Relation to Veterinary Medicine in Ekiti State, Nigeria: (1) Checklist of Botanicals used for the Treatment of Poultry Diseases
J. Kayode, M. K. Olanipekun and P. O. Tedela
Department of Plant Science, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.
Issued 04 January 2009
A semi-structured questionnaire matrix and direct field observation were used to identify botanicals used for veterinary health care in the rural areas of Ekiti State, Nigeria. A total of 38 plants belonging to 27 families were valued for the treatments of poultry pests and diseases in the study area and the parts mostly utilized were the leaves. Features that enhanced the continuous utilization of these botanical species were identified and strategies that could further enhance their sustainability were also proposed.
Ekiti State (7025’- 8020’, 5000’- 6000’) is located in the southwestern part of Nigeria. The state has a contiguous land mass of about 7000 sq. kilometers and over 75% of the 1.6million inhabitants of this area are farmers, most of whom are situated in rural areas (Kayode 1999). There are two climatic seasons, a dry season, which lasts from November to February and a rainy season, which lasts from March to October with an annual rainfall of about 1150mm (Kayode and Faluyi 1994).
In Nigeria, ethnoveterinary practices still play important roles in many rural areas (Kudi and Myint 1999). Veterinary treatment by conventional means has continued to be out of reach for ordinary farmers due to cost and quite often the non-availability of drugs (Chiezey et al. 2000). Unfortunately a gross dearth of documentations on ethnoveterinary botanicals still abounds in Ekiti State where the current rate of deforestation is unprecedented (Kayode 2004). In fact, previous assertion by Keengwe and Benalo (1996) had revealed that in Nigeria, ethnobotanical knowledge and methods have not been fully documented, studied and popularized for use together with modern veterinary medicine as has been done in Kenya, another African country.
The study being here reported is a part of on-going studies on the medicobotanicals used in veterinary medicine being conducted at the Department of Plant Science, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. It is expected that the study will document the plant based animal care practices used by the rural communities of Ekiti State, Nigeria.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Ekiti state was divided into three zones, Ekiti North, Ekiti Central and Ekiti South, based on the existing political delineation. In each zone, ten communities that were still relatively far from urban influence were chosen. In each of these communities, ten respondents who had maintained domicile for a period of not less than 20 years were chosen and interviewed with the aid of semi-structured questionnaire matrix (after Kayode 2002, 2005, Kayode and Omotoyinbo 2008). The interviews were conducted with a fairly open framework that allowed for focused, conversational, two-way communication.
Botanical species used for veterinary treatments, in each community, were identified and documented. Information on the part(s) of such plant used was documented. Voucher specimens of the species were collected and later scientifically identified at the herbarium of the Department of Plant Science, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. The specimens were later kept in the herbarium.
Secondary information was obtained from records at the State Veterinary Hospital located in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, and key informants consisting of officials of the State Ministries of Agriculture, Environment and Health as well as Veterinary Doctors were also interviewed. The services of the veterinary doctors were utilized in the diagnosis of the livestock diseases.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Field observation revealed that poultry constituted the bulk of livestock kept in the study area where livestock was recognized as occupying a prominent place in the rural economy. The birds were mostly managed using the free range system. There were no traditional veterinary healers in any of the communities sampled in this study. Elsewhere in Nigeria, Nwude (1997) had asserted that traditional medicinal healers were only available for the treatments of human diseases in the study area. Sanyasi-Rao et al. (2008) made similar observation in the Chittor and Ananthapur districts of India. In Ekiti State Nigeria, the treatments of poultry diseases in the rural area were skewed to the use of botanicals which were perceived as cheap, usually at low cost, locally and easily available and do not have side effects on their livestock. This observation confirms the previous assertion of Sarr and Abdu (1999) that dependency on the maintenance of livestock health in Nigeria is based on traditional remedies.
Most of the residents in the study area were quite familiar with the appearance of some symptoms which they used in recognizing the various diseases affecting their poultry livestock (Table 1) and many considered pests as being an integral part of the diseases that hindered poultry productivity in the study area. Some of the poultry diseases were known to be caused by nutritional deficiencies while some were recognized as being caused by micro-organisms. A total of 38 plants belonging to 27 families (Table 2) were valued for the treatments of poultry pests and diseases (Tables 1 and 3), the part mostly utilized was the leaves (Table 2). Elsewhere in India, the leaves also formed the bulk of the parts of ethnobotanical used (Ramana 2008).
The indigenous knowledge on the efficacies of these botanical species is passed from one generation to another. Respondents were of the opinion that the various governments in the country had demonstrated inadequate concerns for livestock health thus confirming the assertion of Sarr and Abdul (1999) that apart from the successful control of rinderpest, little or no efforts had been demonstrated by the government on the control of veterinary diseases. Field observation also revealed that respondents were aware of the successful control of bird flu that was also carried out by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the year 2004-2006. However, the financial commitments by governments, as previously observed by Abdu et al. (2000) were poor when compared to the number and diverse breeds and species of livestock in the country. This has further fueled the dependence of the rural and the urban resource-poor farmers on the use of botanicals for the livestock.
In conclusion, residents in the rural areas were confronted with multiple problems that hindered poultry productivity. These include the lack of functional veterinary hospital, inadequate financial resources, non-availability of modern veterinary drugs, even when diverse sources were utilized to source for fund to purchase them, poor extension services and increased environmental degradation that has deleterious effects on the health of the livestock. With the increasing rates at which indigenous knowledge are being lost, the documentation of the ehtnobotanicals cannot be over-emphasized. According to Raul et al. (1990), considerable wealth of knowledge is inherent in most cultures of the world. Thus the use of etnoverterinary medicine is widely considered as sustainable (Gueye 1995) as it is perceived as economical, culturally acceptable and economically sound. Consequent on the above, the previous suggestion of Chiezey et al. (2000) that empirical trials must be carried out to ascertain their efficacies, safety and relative health and economic risks before they are widely promoted, is still relevant. The abundance of the botanicals, in the study area, must be determined with the aim of establishing sustainable strategies that would conserve the rare species among them. Standard dosages must be established for the species as this might be necessary in integrating the botanicals with modern orthodox veterinary medicine.
The assistance of ANTHRA, India and Professor J. O. Gefu of the National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, in the supply of literature were highly appreciated.
Abdu, P. A., Jagun, A. G., Gefu, J. O. Mohammed, A. K., Alawa, C. B. I. and Omokanye, A.T. (2000). A survey of ethnoveterinary practices of agropastorialist in Nigeria, Pp. 25-31, In Gefu J.O. et al. (Eds.). Ethnovertirinary practices, Research and Development, National Animal Production Institute, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
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Table 1. Respondents’ indigenous technical knowledge on poultry pests and diseases.
Table 2. List of identified botanicals used for the treatment of poultry diseases in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
Table 3. Folk medicinal value of the identified botanical species used for the treatment of poultry diseases in Ekiti State, Nigeria.