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.


            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. 


            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.

Chiezey, N. P., Gefu, J. O., Jagun, A. G., Abdu, P. A., Alawa, C. B. I., Magaji, S. O., Adeyinka, J. A. and Eduvie, L. O. (2000). Evaluation of some Nigerian plants for anthelmintic activity in young cattle. Pp. 38-48. In Gafu, J, O, et al. (Eds.). Ethnoveterinary practices, Research and Development, National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.  

Guaeye, E. F. (1995). Ethnoveterinary medicine against poultry diseases in African villages. World’s Poultry Science Journal 9.55(2), 187-198.

Kayode, J. and Faluyi, M. A. (1994). Studies on self and cross-compatibility in soybean (Glycine max L.) in a tropical rainforest environment. Nigeria Journal of Botany 7, 55-61.

Kayode, J. (1999). Phytosociological investigation of compositae weeds in abandoned farmlands in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Compositae Newsletter 34, 62-68.

Kayode, J. (2002). Conservation and ethnobotanical exploration of compositae in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Compositae Newsletter 37, 79 – 83.

Kayode, J. (2004). Conservation Perception of Endangered Tree Species by Rural Dwellers of Ekiti State, Nigeria. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 19(4), 1-9.

Kayode, J. and Omotoyinbo, M. A. (2008). Conservation of Botanicals Used for Dental and Oral Healthcare in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Ehnobotanical Leaflets 12, 7-18.


Keengwe, M. and Benalo, I. (1996). Ethnoveterinary medicine in Kenya: A field manual of traditional animal health care practices. Intermediate Technology Development Group and International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Nairobi, Kenya.

Kudi, A. C. and Myint, S. H. (1999). Antiviral activity of some Nigerian medicinal plant extracts, Journal of Ethnopharmacacology 68, 289-294.

Nwude, N. (1977). Nigerian plants that may cause poisoning in livestock. Vet. Bull. 47(11), 811-817.

Ramana, M. V. (2008). Ethnomedicinal and Ethnoveterinary Plants from Boath, Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh, India. Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 391-400. 2008.

Raul, P., Pedrazo, M. and Manuela, P. (1990). Animal health care in India. ILEIA Newsletter 8(3), 22-23.

Sanyasi Rao, M. C., Varma, Y. N. R. and Vijaykumar, R. (2008). Ethno veterinary medical plants of the catchment area of the River Papogni in the Chittor and Ananthapur districts of Andra-Pradesh, India, Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12, 217-226.

Sarr, J. and Abdu, P. A. (1999). Study of the needs in veterinary vaccines in ECOWAS member states. Study Report, The Department of Industry, Agriculture and Natural Resources, ECOWAS Secretariat, Abuja, Nigeria.         


Table 1. Respondents’ indigenous technical knowledge on poultry pests and diseases.

Indigenous Technical Knowledge                                             Pests/ Diseases

                                                                          English/Scientific Name       Vernacular Name

(a) Pests



- Small insects that are transmitted

  by body contact, whose life-cycle

  is completed in relative short time,

- Cause restlessness,

- Often results in sores on the birds

   that may serve as entry points for


- May also transfer diseases from one

  bird to another                                                           Lice                                  Yooo



- Worms present in the stool

- Lack of appetite

- General weakness                                       Worms/Helminthes                        Aran   

(b) Nutritional Diseases



- Weak and staggering

- Inability to walk properly

- Partial paralysis                                        Rickets/Osteomalacia              Aro/Roparose



- Weakness of the body

- Pale look

- Inadequate blood                                          Anaemia                            Gbigbe

(c) Microbial Diseases



- Paralysis of bird(s),

- Loss of birds weight

- Difficulties in the breathing of bird(s)

- Depressions of the bird(s)                        Fowl plague/Newcastle disease



- Excessive diarrhea

- Persistence stooling                                          Coccidiosis



- Swellings, filled watering substances,

  on the surface of the comb, wattles,

  beak and eyes                                                     Fowl pox



- Discharge of watery substance from

  the nose of the bird(s)

- Swollen of bird(s) face

- Sneezing and coughing                                Respiratory disease    


Table 2. List of identified botanicals used for the treatment of poultry diseases in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

S/N    Botanical Species                       Family                  Vernacular Name        Part(s) Used

1.   Acacia arabica                         Mimosaceae               Ewon egun                Leaves

2.   Adansonia digitata                   Bombacaeae               Ose                           Leaves, fruits

3.   Aframomum melagueta           Zingiberaceae               Atare                       Fruits, Seeds

4.   Allium cepa                              Alliaceae                      Alubosa                    Leaves, bulbs

5.   Allium sativum                         Alliaceae                      Alubosa-Elewe          Leaves, bulbs

6.   Amarantus spinosus                Amaranthaceae          Tete-Elegun               Leaves, Seeds

7.   Azadirachta indica                   Meliaceae                    Dongoyaro                Leaves, Fruits

8.   Boerhavia diffusa                     Nyctaginaceae            Etipe-elila                  Leaves

9.   Bridelia ferruginea                   Euphorbiaceae             Ira                             Leaves, Stem bark

10. Capsicum frutescens               Solanaceae                  Ata wewe                  Fruits

11. Carica papaya                         Caricaceae                   Ibepe                         Leaves, Seeds

12. Chromoleana odorata              Asteraceae                  Akintola                      Leaves

13. Cissampelos owariensis          Menispermaceae         Jokojee                      Leaves

14. Citrus aurantifolia                     Rutaceae                     Osan wewe               Leaves, Fruits juice            

15. Datura stramonium                  Solanaceae                  Adodo-mode              Leaves

16. Elaeis guineensis                     Arecaceae                   Ope                            Leaves, Fruits

17. Ficus exasperate                      Moraceae                    Eepinpin                    Leaves, latex

18. Jatropha gossypifolia                Euphorbiaceae            Lapalapa                   Leaves, Latex

19. Lagenaria siceraria                   Cucurbitaceae             Igba                           Leaves

20. Lantana camera                        Verbenaceae              Ewon adele                Leaves

21. Momordica charantia                 Cucurbitaceae            Ejinrin                        Leaves

22. Musa paradisiaca                      Musaceae                   Ogede agbagba        Leaves, Stem

23. Nicotiana tobacum                    Solanaceae                 Taba                          Leaves  

24. Ocimum bascilicum                   Lamiaceae                  Efirin wewe                Leaves   

25. Parkia biglobosa                        Mimosaceae               Iru (igba)              Leaves, Stem bark, seeds

26. Pergularia daemia                      Asclepiadaceae         Atufa                      Leaves

27. Perquetina nigrescens               Asclepiadaceae         Ogbo                      Leaves

28. Saccharum officinarum              Poaceae                  Ireke                         Leaves, Stem extract

29. Senna alata                                Caesalpiniaceae     Asunrin oyinbo         Leaves 

30. Senna occidentalis                     Caesalpiniaceae    Papala-omode           Leaves

31. Solanum americanum                 Solanaceae            Odu                          Leaves, fruits

32. Talinium trangulare                     Portulaceae            Gbure                       Leaves  

33. Tephrosia vogelii                        Papilionaceae         Orobeja                    Leaves

34. Terminalia schimperiana            Combretaceae         Idi                            Leaves

35. Vernonia amygdalina                  Asteraceae              Ewuro                     Leaves

36. Vitex doniana                              Verbenaceae          Oriri                         Leaves

37. Vitellaria paradoxa                      Sapotaceae            Emi                          Leaves

38. Zea mays                                    Poaceae                 Agbado                   Seeds         


Table 3. Folk medicinal value of the identified botanical species used for the treatment of poultry diseases in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

S/N    Botanical Species                                      Folk medicinal value

1.   Acacia arabica                             Healing of wound and cure of fowl pox   

2.   Adansonia digitata                       Healing of wound, cure of fowl pox, and diarrhea   

3.   Aframomum melagueta               Cure of gastrointestinal diseases

4.   Allium cepa                                  Curing cold, helminthiasis and respiratory diseases     

5.   Allium sativum                              Curing cold, helminthiasis, respiratory and gastrointestinal


6.   Amarantus spinosus                   Curing pile

7.   Azadirachta indica                      Prevention of worm infestation, control of lice

8.   Boerhavia diffusa                       Cure of worms and gastrointestinal diseases

9.   Bridelia ferruginea                      Cure of cold, fever and cough

10. Capsicum frutescens                 Cure of cold and fever

11. Carica papaya                            Control of lice, curing pile and other gastrointestinal disorders       

12. Chromoleana odorata                Curing diarrhea

13. Cissampelos owariensis            Cure of worm and diarrhea

14. Citrus aurantifolia                       Control of lice and worms, curing of cold, nervous diseases, fowl

                                                         pox and diarrhea

15. Datura stramonium                    Healing of wounds and cure of fowl pox

16. Elaeis guineensis                       Healing of wound and cure of fowl pox

17. Ficus exasperate                       Cure of diarrhea      

18. Jatropha gossypifolia                 Cure of worms and fowl pox

19. Lagenaria siceraria                    Cure of Newcastle disease and coccidiosis

20. Lantana camera                         Healing of wounds and cure of fowl pox

21. Momordica charantia                 Cure for fowl pox, helminthiasis and coccidiosis

22. Musa paradisiaca                       For cure of respiratory diseases

23. Nicotiana tobacum                     Control of lice

24. Ocimum bascilicum                    Cure of diarrhea

25. Parkia biglobosa                        Cure of Newcastle disease

26. Pergularia daemia                      Curing Newcastle diseases

27. Perquetina nigrescens               For cure of diarrhea, coccidiosis

28. Saccharum officinarum              Cure of worms

29. Senna alata                                Curing piles, helminthiasis                                

30. Senna occidentalis                     Helminthiasis

31. Solanum americanum                Cure for helminthiasis ,coccidiosis and gastrointestinal diseases

32. Talinium trangulare                    Cure of fever

33. Tephrosia vogelii                        Cure of coccidiosis

34. Terminalia schimperiana            Curing of coccidiosis, Antihelminthic

35. Vernonia amygdalina                 Cure of diarrhea, helminthiasis

36. Vitex doniana                             Cure of coccidiosis  

37. Vitellaria paradoxa                     Cure of coccidiosis and fowl pox     

38. Zea mays                                   Cure of cold and fever