Wubua Mekonnen, Programme Specialist

Biodiversity has significant contribution to agriculture and accounts for 40% of Ethiopia’s GDP and generates 74% of the national export earnings. Furthermore, industries in the country that produce food and beverage, textile and leather, largely depend on Biodiversity resources for their raw materials.

Today, the country’s unique biodiversity resources find markets as ingredients in the cosmetic, perfumery and aromatic industries.  Today, the country’s unique biodiversity resources find markets as ingredients in  the cosmetic, perfumery and aromatic industries.  Products from the African sandalwood (Osyris quadripartite) are being developed with Aditi International, a research lab based in Mumbai, India, and Docomo oils plc, a company with decades of experience in this area. The products are being developed with participation of the South Omo people.  Read the full story  


The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement, entered into force on 12th October 2014, which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way.

If the benefit sharing under the Nagoya Protocol is about fairness, then it should be fair for both genders:

1.     Women participation in decision making and negotiations

2.     Gender fairness in the control and distribution of benefits

However, currently, users are not favourable towards sharing benefits even if providers would offer access to genetic resources. The desired change is to create ready access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge to all, while promoting benefit sharing. 


With the financial and technical support of the UNDP-GEF the “Strengthening Human Resources, Legal frameworks, and Institutional capacities to implement the Nagoya protocol (ABS) project”, was officially launched in July 2017 under the coordination of Ethiopia’s Biodiversity Institute (EBI). The project, over its three years’ lifespan intends to lay-out the foundations to foster mutually beneficial partnerships that will trigger economic growth, conserve biodiversity and ensure its sustainable use, while yielding significant development and benefits for local communities, including women, youth and elderly.

As per its objective, the project is assisting the country in the development and strengthening of its national Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) legal frameworks, human resources, and administrative capabilities to implement international protocols. Ethiopia adopted the ABS laws before the adoption of the Nagoya (international) Protocol in 2006 and 2009 respectively. Therefore there exists some discrepancies between the Nagoya Protocol and the Ethiopian ABS laws. Accordingly, UNDP together with the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute has conducted the Gap Analysis.

The revision of the existing ABS laws and regulation will provide:

·       Ensure Compliance; better understanding of national and international provisions of ABS, and enhance the implementation of the proposed national ABS law at all levels (from Federal up to  local level).

·       Unleash the scientific and technological potential of ABS. Specifically, institutionalize mechanisms to establish a ABS Clearing House(a platform for exchanging information on access and benefit sharing).

  • Opportunity for : i)  poverty reduction through improved income from genetic resource use and ii) environmental sustainability by maintaining ecosystem  services that recognize the role of women and there by the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal.


Ethiopia is rich in its natural resources with its interrelated bio-diversities; and because of its geo-physical conditions (range of altitude, rainfall pattern and soil variability), has an immense ecological diversity and a huge wealth of biological resources. The Country stands to be one of twelve centers of diversity globally, as identified by Vavilov in 1935.


The Ethiopian flora is estimated at 6,000 species of higher plants, of which 10% are endemic. Woody plants constitute about 1,000 species. Ethiopia is also a center of origin for many cultivated plants, of which wild relatives exist for most species. In addition, the fauna of Ethiopia is also very diverse, with many endemic, both wild and domestic animals. The Ethiopian wild fauna comprises 320 mammals (36 endemic), 926 bird, (24 endemic), 242 reptiles (19 endemic), 200 fish (40 endemic), 4693 insects (23 endemic), 73 Amphibians (30 endemic)




These diverse and unique natural capital is of very high significance to industries that use genetic resources and associated community knowledge to develop a variety of products through their Research and Development processes. These resources and knowledge are vital given their customary uses and contribution to food security and base for research on genetic improvements

To regulate access to genetic resources, Ethiopia enacted the “Access to Genetic Resources and Community Knowledge, and Community Rights” Proclamation No. 482/2006 with entered into force (Regulation No. 169/2009) in 2009.

Inclusive engagement is essential for real benefits from genetic resources. UNDP supports inclusivity and full participation of all relevant stakeholders – the communities, who are the rights holders, the research institutions, academic organizations, civil society organizations, and the others. We believe in ‘leaving no one behind”






















Future opportunities: Species that have Bioprospecting Potentials for ABS

1.     Leucas martinicensis


Leucas martinicensis is an erect annual herb growing up to 1 m tall, with white flowers that bear spiny calyces. The plant is locally named “Ras Kimir” in Amharic (Ermias Dagne, 2009). The lamina is oval lanceolate with strongly serrated margin. The whole plant is pubescent. The flowers are assembled in axillary glomeruli surrounding the stem. The leaves are simple,opposite and decussate along the stem. They are held by long petioles, 5 to 20 mm long. The lamina is oval to lanceolate, measuring 4 to 9 cm long and 2 to 4 cm wide. The margin is sharply serrated. The plant multiplies from a small number of individuals producing many seeds. It also multiplies from many late and undeveloped individuals during flowering, but largely increases the soil seed bank. Leucas martinicensis is reported to have phytochemical compounds like saponins, tannins and flavonoids (Timothy et al., 2016; Muhammad et al., 2012; Eze et al., 2013).

Leucas martinicensis ABS potential:

a)     Pharmacological  use

The decoction of its leaves is used in traditional medicine to treat many ailments such as :  kidney disorders, rheumatism, inflammations, cough,  diarrhea,  fevers, skin rashes, epilepsy and   convulsions(Minja, 1999; Agra et al., 2007; Ugwah-Oguejiofor et al, 2015).



b)    Additional uses

Morevover, studies revealed that Leucas species has antimalarial (Valsaraj et al., 1997), anti-inflammatory (Reddy et al., 1986) and antidiabetic (Saha et al., 1998), properties. The crushed leaves ofLeucas species can be applied to wounds, sores, especially those of the eyes and nose, chronic skin diseases, such as psoriasis and scabies. The crushed leaves are also used to treat mild fevers, colds, rheumatism and snake bites, and as a decoction against roundworm, mainly for children.

The plant is reported to have antibacterial and antifungal properties as it is used to prevent diarrhea around Yabello areas in Ethiopia (Muhammad et al, 2012). Ugwah-Oguejiofor et al. (2015) reported that Leucas martinicensis as having anticonvulsant and sedative activities and thus partly lend pharmacological credence to the use of the plant extract in traditional medicine in the treatment of epilepsy and convulsions.

2.Ficus sycomorus


Ficus sycomorus, is commonly known as ‘Shola’ or ‘Bamba’ (Amharic). The plant is also known by several English names such as wild fig, strangler fig, Sycamore, sycamore fig, bush fig, and common cluster fig. It is a fig species that has been cultivated since ancient times. Ficus sycomorus belongs to the Family Moraceae, comprising about 40 genera and over 1,400 species of trees, shrubs, vine and herbs, often with milky latex juices. Ficus sycomorus is a large, semideciduous spreading tree, up to 21 m. The bole can be up to 100cm in diameter and is occasionally buttressed. Bark on young stems is pale green with a soft powdery covering; greygreen, fairly smooth, with scattered grey scales and pale brown patches on older stems. Leaves are broadly ovate or elliptic. The flowers are unisexual, cyclic and greenish. Ficus sycomorus is 2–3 cm in diameter and found in leaf axils or on up to 10 cm leafless branches on old wood as in single or paired form. The seeds are numerous, round and very tiny.

a)     Source of  Food:

Mature fruits are, Sweet and aromatic, eaten fresh, stewed, or dried and stored for later use. The leaves contain substantial level of nutrients, minerals and bioactive components. It contains all the essential amino acids which could contribute useful amount to human diet (Nkafamiya et al., 2010). Leaves are used in soups and groundnut dishes. The wood ash is commonly used as a salt substitute.

b)    Fight obesity and associated health disorder

Study  investigated the protective effects of Ficus sycomorus L. against high fat induced obesity in experimental rats, concluded that Ficus sycomorus L. leaves could hinder weight gain and prevent its related disorders, implicating its anti-obesity (El-Hashash, 2014). The bark of the tree is chewed together with kola nut.

c)     Pharmacological  use

Ficus sycomorus is used as extracts of fruits, leaves, root and stem barks to treat various ailments such as cough, diarrhea, skin infections, stomach disorders, liver disease, epilepsy, tuberculosis, lactation disorders, helminthiasis, infertility, sterility and Diabetes mellitus (Igbokwe et al., 2010; Adoum et al., 2012). The plant has also been reported to be a potent antimicrobial agent against ciprofloxacin resistant Salmonella typhi (Adeshina et al.,2010). In Palestine, the milky sap from F. sycomorus stem bark is used for treating skin diseases while a decoction of the stem bark is used for problems of the gastrointestinal tract.

iii. Fodder source:

Ficus sycomorus trees  is good source of fodder year-round fodder to be used as a  feed supplement .

iv.             Raw material for alcoholic beverage:

The Ficus fruit can also be used for the preparation of an alcoholic beverage.

3. Mentha piperita


Mentha piperita is known by English vernacular name, peppermint or by the vernacular name in Amharic, “Naana”.  It is aromatic, perennial, rhizomatous, and winter popular erect herbaceous plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Like other mints, it has squarish purple-green stems with dark or light green highly aromatic leaves, and purple and lilac-colored flowers. The stem is brownish to purplish. The leaves are odorous. Inflorescence is terminal, forming an interrupted oblong spike. Flowers are sterile, glabrous; lobes is ciliate; Corolla is lilac pink (Hedberg et al., 2006). Mentha piperita is the hybrid of Mentha aquatica L. and Mentha spicata L. (Spearmint). It has
more than 20 varieties (Bupesh et al., 2007; Ermias Dagne, 2009).

a)     Potential for medicine, pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology uses


Mentha piperita oil has several uses, and using data on the oil are considered relevant to the leaf extract formulations as well. Its essential oils offer a promising potential for future applications in the fields of agriculture, medicine, pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology. Mint oil and its constituents and derivatives are used in food, pharmaceutical and perfumery and flavouring industry (Balakrishnan, 2015).






4.     Bacillus subtilis



Bacillus subtilis belongs to the Domain-Bacteria, Phylum-Firmicutes, Class-Bacilli, OrderBacillales, Family-Bacillaceae, Genus-Bacillus, and Species - B. subtilis. It was originally named Vibrio subtilis by Ehrenberg (1835) and renamed as Bacillus subtilis by Cohn (1872).

Bacillus subtilis is a Gram-positive bacterium and catalase positive. B. subtilis cells are typically rod-shaped, and are about 4-10 micrometers (μm) long and 0.25–1.0 μm in diameter, with a cell volume of about 4.6 fL at stationary phase. Yu et al. (2014) stated that it can form an endospore like other members of the genus Bacillus, to survive extreme environmental conditions of temperature and desiccation. Madigan and Martinko (2005) stated B. subtilis as a facultative anaerobe. Nakano and Zuber (1998) considered it as an obligate aerobe until 1998.

a) Laboratory use

 Bacillus. subtilis is heavily flagellated, which gives it the ability to move quickly in liquids. Bacillus subtilis has proven highly amenable to genetic manipulation, and has become widely adopted as a model organism for laboratory studies, especially of sporulation, which is a simplified example of cellular differentiation. In terms of popularity as a laboratory model organism, B. subtilis is often considered as the Gram-positive equivalent of Escherichia coli, an extensively studied Gram-negative bacterium. The microorganisms of Bacillus genus are known to be one of the most important sources of enzymes and other biomolecules of industrial interest, being responsible for the supply of about 50% of the market for enzymes (Schallmey et al., 2004). The world market for enzymes is estimated at 1.6 billion dollars, 29% for the food industry, 15% for animal feed and 56% in other applications (Outtrup et al., 2002). Bacillus subtilis produces a variety of extracellular enzymes including proteases, amylases and lipolytic enzymes of great importance in industrial processes such as pharmaceutical, leather,laundry, food and waste processing industries (Schallmey et al., 2004).

5.     Balanites aegyptiaca


Balanites aegyptiaca is a savannah tree, which belongs to the Family Balanitaceae. It is known by the common name Desert date (English), and ‘Bedeno’ (Amharic). It is with a height of more than 6 m. It has a spherical crown and tangled mass of long thorny branches (Sulaiman and Jackson, 1959 cited in Manji et al., 2013). It has multiple uses. Almost every part of the plant including, leaves, thorns, back of root and fruit is useful. Balanites aegyptiaca has been used over thousands of years (Ajayi and Folorunso, 2013). Balanites aegyptiaca is a savannah tree, which belongs to the Family Balanitaceae. It is known by the common name Desert date (English), and ‘Bedeno’ (Amharic). It is with a height of more than 6 m. It has a spherical crown and tangled mass of long thorny branches (Sulaiman and Jackson, 1959 cited in Manji et al., 2013). It has multiple uses. Almost every part of the plant including, leaves, thorns, back of root and fruit is useful. Balanites aegyptiaca has been used over thousands of years (Ajayi and Folorunso, 2013).

a)     Medicinal use

Balanites aegyptiaca is used traditionally in African countries as an anthelmintic (Koko et al., 2000) and in the treatment of jaundice (Sarker et al., 2000). The fruits are used as an oral anti hyperglycemic in Egyptian folk medicine and herbalists. Its fruits are sold as an antidiabetic agent in the Egyptian market (Kamel et al., 1991). Balanites aegyptiaca has also been used in a variety of folk medicines in India. Various parts of the plant are used in Ayurvedic and other folk medicines for the treatment of different ailments such as syphilis, jaundice, liver and spleen problems. The plant has also insecticidal, antihelminthic, molluscicidal and contraceptive activities (Yadav and Panghal, 2010; Sagna et al., 2014). Various parts of Balanites aegyptiaca have their own traditional medicinal properties. This plant has been reported to be purgative, vermifuge, febrifuge and emetic. It can also cure other types of ailments like skin boils, leucoderma, malaria, wounds, colds and aches. The bark of the plant is useful in curing mental diseases, epilepsy, yellow fever, jaundice and acting as a fumigant to heal wounds of circumcision.

6.     Stingless Bees Trigona


Stingless bees, sometimes called stingless honeybees, can be classified into 2 genera, namely, the Melipona and the Trigona. According to Michener (2013), the Melipona genus is numerically large, even larger than that of the common honey bee (Apis mellifera Linnaeus). They are highly eu-social bees like the honeybees of the genus Apis, live with many individuals in a nest where honey and pollen are stored (Eardley, 2004). Five hundred stingless bee species are recorded and they are classified into five genera: Melipona, Trigona, Meliponula, Dectylurina and Lestrimelitta; of which, Trigona and Melipona are the honey producing bees (Gupta, 2014). Stingless Bees (Trigona spp.) are classified under Class Insecta and Order Hymenoptera. They belong to the Family Aphidae and the Tribe Meliponini.

a)     Medicinal use

Stingless bees produce small quantities of highly prized medicinal honey, and also for the wax and propolis, produced and gathered by the bees and used for its household and curative properties. A traditional medicine branch, called apitherapy, developed in recent years, offers treatments based on honey and the other bee products against many diseases (Bogdanov, 2016). Stingless bees honey is believed to have medicinal value and has higher market demand in India with 20 times costlier than normal honey (Kumar et al., 2012). Stingless bee honey has biological and pharmacological activities in the treatment of diabetes, metabolic and neurological disorders, cancer, cardiovascular diseaserelated complications and hypercholesterolemia and in wound healing (Rao et al., 2016). Besides it cures asthma, arthritis, overcomes hepatitis; treats bladder infection; improves brain function; treats cough, stomach disturbance, sore throats, tonsillitis; can be used in wound dressing and so on. Soad et al. (2017) reported that showed effect of stingless bee honey have statistically resulted in significant reduction in the number of episodes of oral mucositis, bacterial and fungal infections


7.     Securidaca longe pedunculata  (king of traditional medicinal plants)


Securidaca longepedunculata belongs to the family Polygalaceae. It is a medium-sized violet tree indigenous to Ethiopia. It is known by the common names in Amharic: ‘Temene’, ‘EtseMenahe’, ‘Etse-Menabele'. The common English names for the plant are: Violet Tree, Rhodes’s Violet and Wild Vesteria. It is a semi-deciduous shrub or small tree growing up to a height of 2-6 metres, with a characteristic pale smooth bark with slender branches to an open crown, sometimes with drooping branchlets. Leaves are variable in size and shape, alternate, often in clusters or crowded on dwarf spine-tipped branchlets. Leaves have fine hairs but mature leaves lose the fine hairs. Flowers in short bunches are pink or purple with sweet scent (Junaidu et al., 2014). The bark of young twigs is yellow-green, becoming stringy and pale; rough grey mature bark flakes to show yellow below; deep fissures when old. It is resistant to bush fires and is frostsensitive (Azene Bekele, 2007). The violet tree, S. longepedunculata, known as king of traditional medicinal plants in South Africa, is used for almost every conceivable ailment (Kadiri et al., 2013).


a)     Medicinal use

The root and bark are taken orally either powdered or as infusion for treating chest complaints, inflammation, abortion, tuberculosis, infertility, heart, kidney, lung, venereal diseases and constipation (Ndou, 2006, cited in Junaidu et al., 2014; Orwa et al., 2009; Dapar et al., 2007). Toothache can also be relieved by chewing the roots. Powdered roots are used to treat headache when rubbed on the forehead. Infusions of the root are used for washing topical ulcers. The powdered root mixed with maize and sorghum beverages are used for sexually weak men. The leaves or roots ground with water and salt is used against snake bites and cough (Sanusi et al., 2014; Orwa et al., 2009; Junaidu et al., 2014). The plant, called “the mother of all drugs”, in Nigeria, is reputed to have over one hundred medicinal uses (Olajide et al., 1998, cited in Owoyele et al., 2006). In many parts of Africa, the plant is employed in traditional medicine principally for its psychotropic properties; aqueous extracts of its root are used as psycho-pharmacological agents (Winkelman and Dobkin, 1989, cited in Dapar et al., 2007). Roots of S. longepedunculata, in small doses, are purgative, diuretic, diaphoretic and emetic. They are used for treating conjunctivitis, malaria, venereal diseases, urethral discharges, stomach problems, dysentery, rheumatism, fibrositis, toothache, headache, sleeping sickness, cough, chest complaints, snakebites, and wound dressing, and as an aphrodisiac, taenifuge, vermifuge and expectorant (Sanusi et al., 2014; Dapar et al., 2007; Abuelo, 1999; Junaidu et al., 2014). Seeds are used for treating headache, fever and rheumatism; leaves for treating snakebites, venereal diseases and coughs; bark for treating stomach problems, S. longepedunculata is also used for traditional medicine in the treatment and management of cancer. There are findings suggesting the plant’s potential to increase life span in patients with advanced stages of cancer. Herbal supplements could be produced from the plants with low concentration of the extract. Chemotherapeutic applications of the plant also include its potential inclusion in drug development based on the pro-apoptotic potential of the plant (Lawal et al., 2013).

8.     Nigella sativa



Taxonomically, this species is classified as the family Ranunculaceae. The English name is black seed or the black cumin. Locally, the species has different names in different localities. For example in Amharic, the species is named as “Tiqure Azemude” (Volume 2 part 1, 1988). It is an indigenous, annual and branched herb up to 0.7m tall. Structurally, the Stem is ribbed, sometimes hollow when old. Leaves with blade up to 7 x 5 mm, having segments very narrow and basal leaves with light green petiole, greatly widened at the base. A cultivated plant mostly grown in back gardens of homesteads, also on heavier Soils as a field crop, tolerating a wide range of soils, occasionally found growing as wild; 1500-2500 m a.s.l. Seeds found in most local markets and assumed to be grown through-out the agricultural highlands (Ermias Dagne, 2009).

a)     Spice and food flavor use

This species is an important spice to Ethiopia, commonly used to add flavor to bread. Medicinally, the plant is very essential for many complaints. In Ethiopia the seeds are an important spice used in preparing hot pepper sauce and other dishes. They are also used to give flavor for bread.

b)    Medicinal use

They are mixed with melted butter, wrapped in a piece of cloth and sniffed to relieve some types of headaches (Pers. Observ.). According to Inga and Sebsebe Demissew (2000), the seeds of Nigella sativa are used to induce an abortion.

Nigella sativa has been traditionally used for the treatment of a variety of disorders, diseases and conditions pertaining to respiratory system, digestive tract, kidney and liver function, cardiovascular system and immune system support, as well as for general well-being. Black seeds usually stimulate the body's energy and helps recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness. Black seeds and their oil have a long history of folklore usage in Ethiopia and other country. The seeds have been traditionally used for the treatment of several diseases and ailments including asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism and related inflammatory diseases. A tincture prepared from the seeds is useful in digestion, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, dropsy, amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and in the treatment of worms and skin eruptions. Externally the oil is used as an antiseptic and local anesthetic (Padmaa and Paarakh, 2010).

9.     Artemisia afra


Artemisia afra Jacq., commonly known as the African wormwood, belongs to the family Compositae (Asteracea). It is one of the most widely used southern African medicinal plant with essential oil components (Esteban et al., 1986; Graven et al., 1990). Indigenous people of Ethiopia (Bale) refer to Artemisia afra as 'Chigugn' (Amharic), Kapani (Oromgna), Kodo (Guragna). It is an evergreen perennial herb or deciduous subshrub with grey or green foliage leaves containing yellow florets. It is aromatic and it exudes a pungent, sweet smell when any part of the plant is bruised. It grows up to a height of about 1 meter, at an altitude range of 3070 and 3600metres a.s.l. (Mesfin Tadesse and Sebsebe Demissew, 1992).

Artemisia afra has a long history of domestic herbal use in both the Northern and Southern parts of Ethiopia. Juice of chopped leaves of A. afra mixed with water is traditionally taken orally for the treatment of roundworm and stomach pains in the Bale area of Ethiopia. The leaves are also chewed or the aroma is inhaled for stomachaches and headaches (Menassie Gashaw, 1991). Charred powder of leaves mixed with honey or edible oil is also used as remedies for eye diseases (crying eyes and cataract) and stomach cramps by the Northern people of Ethiopia.

a)     Medicinal use

Leaf tea of this plant is used to treat coughs, colds and flu as well as bronchial and intestinal ailments. Milk decoctions of the whole plant or leaves are used in the treatment of haematuria, haemorrhoids, mumps, small pox, malaria, neuralgia, colitis and liver disorders. The plant also has tonic, stimulant, perfumic, antihelmintic (vermifuge) and antipyretic (febrifuge) properties (Jansen, 1981; Dawit Abebe and Ahadu Ayehu, 1993; Iwu, 1993).


10.  Pentas lanceolate




Pentas lanceolata is evergreen shrub or tall perennial, becomes 3 to 4 feet tall and is decorated throughout most of the year, with many 3-inch-wide, dense clusters of long-tubed, star-shaped flowers, commonly known as Egyptian Star cluster. Pentas lanceolata belongs to the family Rubiaceae. This family consists of 611 genera and 13.143 species, which make it the fourth largest angiosperm family after the Asteraceae, Orchidaceae and Fabaceae. The genus Pentas contains 40 species.

a)     Medicinal use

Pentas lanceolata is used as herbal medicinal plant in different communities in Ethiopia. Lymphadenitis: Leaves and roots are used as the herbal treatment to treat lymphadenitis. It was also reported that Pentas lanceolata could be used to heal wound due to the presence of the polyphenolic compound tannin, which is considered antimicrobial.

Diarrhoea: Pentas root and leaves are boiled and administered through the nose as treatment for diarrhoea. This method may be painful and is usually applied to babies and small children who would otherwise refuse to drink the concoction, Snake Bite:In some communities in Ethiopia, Pentas lanceolata is used to treat snake bite, Malaria: extracts from Pentas longiflora and Pentas lanceolata roots has resistance to the malaria parasites, Ascariasis: Ascariasis may not be a common ailment in most part of the world, but in rural parts of Africa, including Ethiopia this is a frequent problem.

11.  Lippia adoensis


Lippia adoensis Hochst also known as L. multiflora is a herbaceous plant of the genus Lippia. It belongs to the family Verbanaceae, which is composed of 41 genera with approximately 220 species of herbs, shrubs and small trees (1, 2, 3). The plant flowers from September to November and fruits in January. It possesses white sweet-scented flowers stalked on cone-like heads in a terminal panicle nearly 120 mm long.
Lippia species in Ethiopia occurs as an erect woody shrub which grows up to 1-3m tall, It is endemic medicinal plant and cultivated variety commonly found in home gardens in different regions of Ethiopia with altitudinal range of 1600-2200m. Two varieties are recognized in Ethiopia, the wild variety (var. adoensis) and the cultivated variety locally known as koseret (var. koseret sebsebe).

a)     Spice and food flavoringuse

Traditionally, the dried leaves are used as one of the ingredients in the preparation of spiced butter and also for food flavoring agent and preservative.

b)    Medicinal use

The leaves of L. adoensis are used in Ethiopian traditional medicine for the treatment of various skin diseases including eczema and superficial fungal infections. The dried leaves powdered together with barely eaten to get relief to from stomach complaints.

12.  Rhamnus prinoides (Gesho)


Rhamnus prinoides L’Herit, common name dogwood, Amharic name Gesho, family Rhamnaceae, is a widespread plant species in East, Central and South African countries and it is a native plant to Ethiopia.

Rhamnus prinoides is a shrub or tree to 6 m, unarmed; branchlets sparsely crisped pubescent. Leaves alternate, glabrous but for scattered appressed hairs on midrib; petiole 3-17 mm, sparsely pubescent; stipules falling off quickly; lamina ovate, elliptic or oblong, 3-12.5 x 1.5-4.5 cm, glandular serrulate; apex acuminate to acute; base cuneate to rounded. Flowers yellowish green, solitary or in 2-5flowered axillary fascicles; pedicels 5-15(-20 in fruit) mm, sparsely pubescent, drooping in fruit. Receptacle puberulous. Sepals 5, acute, 2 mm long; petals usually absent or 1 mm long; filaments 1 mm; ovary 3(-4)-locular, style 1 mm. Fruit subglobose, 5-8 mm in diameter, turning through red to blackish purple; stones obconic.

a)      Industrial use

Industrial application- Natural dye yielding Leaves of Rhamnus prinoides (Rhamnaceae) is reported potential dye yielding plant and reasonably good dyeing with higher color strength values reflecting in direct affinity to cotton (Abera Kechi et al., 2013).



b) Brewery

According to Berhanu Andualem (2014), Rhamnus prinoides can substitute the standard commercial hops for even beers brewed for commercial purpose that the determination of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of ‘Gesho’ extract, during ‘Tella’ brewing is found to inhibit bacterial growth and thereby help to extend the shelf-life of the product. Apart from bittering and flavoring properties of hops, they are widely used for their oils and to impart characteristic aroma for beer production (Goldammer, 2000; Tinseth, 1994). In brief, essential oil with the range of 0.5 to 5% and the volatile resins are together responsible for the aroma in hops (Versele and Keukeleire, 1991). One of the raw materials that are widely used as bittering agent in ‘tella’ preparation is Rhamnus prinoides. It is completely different from hops and largely cultivated in Ethiopia and currently available in dried form in the local market with comparable essential oil and volatile resins.

b)    Medicinal use

Ethno-medical use Plant genetic resources studied such as C. citratus (Graminae) A. rehan (Compositae), G. lotoides (Aizoceae), four Rumex species (Polygonaceae), Rhamnus prinoides (Rhamnaceae), Impatiens tinctoria (Balsaminaceae), and Crotalaria rosenii (Leguminosae) have traditional medicinal uses as antihelmintic, hypoglycemic, antibacterial and antifungal agents. Several terpenoids, anthracene derivatives, flavonoids, a triterpenoid glycoside, and macrocyclic pyrrolizidine diester alkaloids have been isolated and characterized by chemical and spectroscopic methods (Berhanu Abegaz and Gizachew Woldeyes, 1988). Leaves of Rhamnus prinoides is used for the treatment of the diseases/disorders like stomach complications, joint pain, fever, diarrhea, common cold, malaria, body weakness, appetizer and pneumonia, sprains, gonorrhea, colic, rheumatism and ringworm infections (Berhanu and Teshome, 1995; Hailemichael Alemu et al., 2007).





13.  Abelmoschus esculentus


Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench (Synonym Hibiscus esculentus L.) (Malvaceae). It is known by the common names in Amharic: ‘Bamya’, ‘Bamiya’, ‘Bameeya’. The common English names for the plant are: Okra and Lady`s fingers. The cultivated okra, ‘Lady’s finger’/‘Gumbo’, is the only vegetable crop of significance in the Malvaceae family (Abeykoon et al., 2010). Abelmoschus esculentus is an erect, coarse annual herb of up to 2 m in height with branches of 0.6 to 1.5 meters in length and having a long-petioled orbicular-ovate shaped leaves.

a)     Medicinal use

Parts of the plants are known to have ethno-medicinal properties like antioxidant, antispasmodic, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, and stimulant (Chaudhari et al., 2011). It is a good vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression and it is also used in treating ulcers, lung inflammation, sore throat as well as irritable bowel. Okra is good for asthma patients and it also normalizes/stabilizes blood sugar and cholesterol levels (Subrahmanyam et al., 2011). Okra polysaccharide possesses anti complementary and hypoglycemic activity in normal mice. It also lowers cholesterol level in blood and may prevent cancer by its ability to bind bile acids (Ray et al., 2013). Additionally, Okra seed possess blood glucose normalization and lipid profiles lowering action in diabetic condition. In some countries, okra also is used in folk medicine as antiulcerogenic, gastroprotective and diuretic agents (Doreddula et al., 2014). Okra is also a popular healthy food due to its high fiber, vitamin C, and foliate content.

b)    Source of food

 Okra is o a good source of calcium and potassium. Okra pod contains thick slimy polysaccharides, which are used to thicken soups and stews, as an egg white substitute, and as a fat substitute in chocolate bar cookies and in chocolate frozen dairy dessert (Adetuyi et al., 2011). Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) used as antispasmodic; demulcent; diaphoretic; diuretic; emollient; stimulant and vulnerary. The roots are very rich in mucilage, having a strongly demulcent action. This mucilage can be used as a plasma replacement. Okra is a source of protein, Vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium and dietary fiber, Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium and phosphorous, Moisture, Protein, Fiber, Fat and Ash (Adetuyi et al., 2011). It contains large quantities of glycins, which are responsible for the viscosity of aqueous suspension and the stringy gum-like consistency that is particularly desirable in soups. (Chaudhari et al., 2011).


c)     Medicinal use

An infusion of the roots is used in the treatment of syphilis. The juice of the roots is used externally to treat cuts, wounds and boils. The leaves furnish an emollient poultice. A decoction of the immature capsules is demulcent, diuretic and emollient. It is used in the treatment of catarrhal infections, dysuria and gonorrhoea. The seeds are antispasmodic, cordial and stimulant. An infusion of the roasted seeds has sudorific properties (Kumar et al., 2013).

14.  African naked mole-rat Heterocephalus glaber



There are approximately 30 different kinds of mole rats. The best known is the naked mole rat. Naked mole-rats have little/no body hair (hence the common name, naked mole rat). The only hairs that can be found are touch-sensitive hairs which they use for feeling their way through their tunnels. Naked mole-rats have cylindrical bodies with short limbs and very loose skin. It has a purplish brown back and tail. The skin is wrinkled and loose, which helps them to turn in compact spaces or squeeze through the tiniest of tunnels. And, it can easily walk on top of and around its friends (Wikipedia, 2015). The naked mole rat’s tube-shaped body is 8 to 10 cm long. Its skinny tail adds 3 to 5 cm of length. It weighs 30 to 35 grams but the queens are larger and may weigh well over 50 grams, the largest reaching 80 grams. The naked mole rat has small eyes and small holes for ears. Its large incisors stick out beyond its mouth (Wikipedia, 2015). As they are well-adapted to their underground existence, their eyes are quite small, and their visual acuity is poor. They have small holes for ears. Their legs are thin and short; however, they are highly adept at moving underground and can move backward as fast as they can move forward. Their large, protruding teeth are used to dig and their lips are sealed just behind the teeth, preventing soil from filling their mouths while digging (Wikipedia, 2015).

Pain sensitivity: The skin of naked mole-rats lacks a key neurotransmitter called substance P that is responsible in mammals for sending pain signals to the central nervous system. The naked mole-rats feel no pain when they are exposed to acid or capsaicin. When they are injected with substance P, however, the pain signaling works as it does in other mammals, but only with capsaicin and not with acids. This is proposed to be an adaptation to the animal living in high levels of carbon dioxide due to poorly ventilated living spaces, which would cause acid to build up in their body tissues (Park, 2008). Petherick (2008) reported that nasty stimuli including acid and capsaicin, the ingredient in chilli peppers that causes a burning sensation in many animals did not bother the naked mole rats. These mole-rats are also odd in that their skin, when inflamed, does not become hypersensitive when exposed to unpleasantly hot objects, even though they react to excessive heat in the same way that other mammals do. The African naked mole rat is being targeted for its resistance to pain inflicted by acid. German researchers have discovered why it is immune to feeling pain on its skin and they now bears vast implications for analgesic drug research-bringing new hope to chronic pain sufferers. Its protein can also be used as a local anesthetic in dentistry (Bishton, 2012). Naked mole-rats' substance P deficiency has also been tied to their lack of the histamine-induced itching and scratching behavior typical of rodents (John et al., 2010).

a)     Medicinal use (including for  cancer)

Resistance to cancer: Cancer has not so far been detected or observed in the naked mole-rat. Recent studies have suggested that its cells possess anti-tumour capabilities that are not present in other rodents or in humans. Naked mole-rats are highly resistant to cancer or tumours (Buffenstein, 2008). A potential mechanism that averts cancer is an "over-crowding" gene, p16, which prevents cell division once individual cells come into contact (known as "contact inhibition"). The cells of most mammals, including naked mole-rats, undergo contact inhibition via the gene p27 which prevents cellular reproduction at a much higher cell density than p16 does. The combination of p16 and p27 in naked mole-rat cells is a double barrier to uncontrolled cell proliferation, one of the hallmarks of cancer (Seluanov et al., 2009). Blind mole-rats Spalax golani and Spalax judaei also appear to be immune to cancer but by a different mechanism (Cormier, 2012).

b)     Longevity and Anti-ageing uses

Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are the longest-living rodents known, with a maximum lifespan of 30/31 years - 5 times longer than expected on the basis of body size, i.e. an extraordinarily long-lived for a rodent of its size (Edrey et al., 2011; HAGR, 2014) and holds the record for the longest living rodent (Buffenstein and Jarvis, 2002; Buffenstein, 2005) and maintain healthy vascular function longer in their lifespan than shorter-living rats (Csiszar, 2007). The reason for their longevity is debated, but is thought to be related to their ability to substantially reduce their metabolism during hard times, and so prevent aging-induced damage from oxidative stress. This has been referred to as "living their life in pulses" (Science Daily, 2007). Their longevity has also been attributed to “protein stability” (Pérez et al., 2009)

15.  Salvadora persica L.


Salvadora persica L. is an evergreen shrub. It is also by the common names in Amharic: ‘Adee’ or ‘Yeharar Mefakiya’. It is a popular teeth cleaning stick throughout the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the wider Muslim world (Wikipedia, 2016). The plant grows to a height of 4-6 m tall with a short trunk, white bark and smooth green leaves. Its main trunk is erect or trailing with profusely branched, wide crown of crooked, straggling and drooping branches; young branches are green in color; bark slightly rough, grayish-brown on main stem, paler elsewhere. Leaves are oblong-elliptic to almost circular, 3 x 7 cm, light to dark green, rather fleshy, sometimes with wart like glandular dots and dense, rather loose hairs; apex broadly tapering to rounded, sharp tipped; base broadly tapering; margin entire; petiole up to 10 mm long; leaves in opposite pairs. Flowers are greenish to yellowish, very small, in loose, slender-branched axillary or terminal panicles, up to 10 cm long. Fruits are spherical, fleshy, 5- 10 mm in diameter, pink to scarlet when mature, and single seeded. Seeds turn from pink to purple-red and are semi-transparent when mature (Orwa et al., 2009).

The chemical constituents of Salvadora persica are flavonoids, salvadorine, cyanogenic glycosides, lignans, saponins, alkaloids, tannins, linoleic acid, steraric acid, salvadourea, vitamin C, silica and different salts (Ahmad and Rajagopal, 2013). The seed contains oil known as "Kinknail oil". Nutritionally, the seed contains fat (45-48%), albuminoids (18-94%), carbohydrates (23-48%), fibre (5-80%), and ash (3.50%) (Mathur Sujata 2015).


a)     Medicinal use

Salvadora persica L. has great medicinal potential. Almost all the parts of the tree are used for curing human ailments. The plant possesses aphrodisiac, alexiteric, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, astringent, and diuretic and bitter stomachic activities. It has great medicinal use in the treatment of nose troubles, piles, scabies, leucoderma, scurvy, gonorrhea, boils and toothache. It is used for treating hookworm infection, venereal diseases, rheumatism; relieving cough and asthma; lowering cholesterol plasma levels. It is used as a laxative. The seed oil is useful for the treatment of some skin diseases and joint pains (Ahmad and Rajagopal, 2013).

b)     Anti-microbial use

 Salvadora persica L. is known to exhibit significant antimicrobial (antibiotic and antiseptic) activity against both aerobic as well as anaerobic bacteria of teeth with inflamed gums and necrotic pulps (Ahmad and Rajagopal, 2013). Salvadora persica possesses anti-fungal properties. The diluted acetone extract of dry Salvadora persica stems is reported to show the highest inhibitory activity against Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, and Candida parapsilosis strains. The dried S. persica is reported to have a greater anti-fungal activity against several Candida strains (both oral isolates and reference strains) than the fresh plant (Noumi et al., 2010).

c)     Anti cariogenic uses:

Salvadora persica is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants for oral hygiene among global Muslim community. Toothbrushes prepared from the roots and small branches of Salvadora persica are highly useful for cleaning teeth and maintaining dental health. Salvadora persica possesses anti-plaque properties. It is reported to have potent activity for dental complaints. The roots and twigs of this tree have been used for teeth cleaning since ancient times. Fresh S. persica impregnated in 0.1% sodium fluoride (NaF) or a maximum of 0.5% NaF was used for a day for the prevention of dental caries. Baeshen et al. (2011) reported that the remineralizing effect of fluoridated chewing sticks on white spot lesions in post orthodontic patients.

d)     Anti-malarial use

 Salvadora persica root possesses anti-plasmodial activity, and is used as part of remedies to treat malaria (Tesfaye Seifu, 2004).

16.  Justicia schimperiana


Justicia schimperiana (Hochst. ex Nees) T. Anders. (Syn: Adhatoda schimperiana; Gendarussa schimperiana). It belongs to the family of Acanthaceae. It is known by the common names in Amharic: Sensel, Simiza, Sansal and Dumoga. Justicia schimperiana is an erect leafy shrub which grows up to 4-5 m high usually much branched from base (with stems 2-3 m high). Its stem is brittle i.e. it breaks easily. Its leaf is simple and opposite, long oval to 13 x 4 cm, tip pointed, narrowed to a short stalk. Its flower is inconspicuous terminal heads on long stalks seen clearly above the leaves, each small flower lies inside a green-yellow leafy bract 1.5 cm long, its edge clear and membranous, flowers white or yellow white, tubular to 3 cm long, two-lipped with dark purple throat or lines on the lip. The plant has slightly unpleasant smell (Ermias Dagne, 2009; Azene Bekele, 2007)

a)     Medical use

Hypoglycemic and anti-hyperglycemic activities: Justicia Schimperiana has been traditionally used for the treatment of Diabetes mellitus. Andualem Tesfaye et al. (2016) evaluated the hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic activities of aqueous extract of Justicia schimperiana leaves in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. The result indicated that aqueous extract of Justicia schimperiana has significant antihyperglycemic activity in streptozotocin induced diabetic mice and improvement in glucose tolerance as well as slight hypoglycemic activity in normal mice and justifying the traditional claim for its use in diabetes. In addition, Justicia schimperiana contains alkaloids, phenols and terpenoids (Eyasu Mekonnen et al., 2006 cited in Andualem Tesfaye et al., 2016). Any of these secondary metabolites may be responsible for the glucose suppression in the blood. Hepatoprotective activities The experimental study of Shemsu Umer et al. (2010) indicated that Justicia Schimperiana has hepatoprotective activity (the ability to prevent liver damage) due to the presence of hydroalcoholic in the leaf extracts. As the hydroethanolic extracts offered higher antioxidant activity, it is possible to establish the potential application of hydroalcoholic extracts from Justicia schimperiana in development of products with antioxidant properties and demonstrate a promising pharmaceutical product.

Anti-malarialactivity: Justicia schimperiana is traditionally used for the treatment of malaria and the crude extract confirmed of the plant is endowed with antimalarial activity. Moreover, Jemal Abdela (2014) evaluated the antimalarial activities of chloroform, methanol and aqueous fractions of the leaves of Justicia schimperiana against Plasmodium berghei in mice.





17.  Rumex abyssinicus


Rumex abyssinicus is perennial herb, which grows up to 3 m tall, with thick, fleshy rhizome. Its local Amharic name is ‘Mekmako’ (Ermias Dagne, 2009). 

Rumex abyssinicus is a potential genetic resource for bioprospecting due to its active parts rhizome, roots and leaves. The plant is used in treating various diseases. The decoction of leaf or root powder is taken as vermifuge. Root powder paste with lime juice can be applied for infestation of Tinea nigra, T. versicolor. If eaten in large quantities, the plant could produce toxic effect due to its oxalate contents (Raju and Elias Ali, 2010).

a)     Medicinal use

Teshale Mekonnen et al. (2010) reported that 80 % methanol extract of the rhizomes of Rumex abyssinicus possesses secondary metabolites such as tannins, saponins, flavonoids, steroids and anthraquinones. Flavonoids and tannins have been shown to be important for wound healing due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities.

Rumex abyssinicus is used to treat malaria, gonorrhea, poisoning, hepatitis, constipation, sciatic neuralgia, hypertension, migraine, rheumatism, breast cancer, stomach distention, earache, liver diseases, hemorrhoids, typhus, rabies and wound (Teshale Mekonnen et al., 2010; Tilahun Teklehaymanot et al., 2007).

Anti-hypertensive, Anti-inflammatory, diuretic and analgesic The roots of Rumex abyssinicus are reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory activities (Getie et al., 2003). It has been traditionally used for management of hypertension, inflammatory and painful conditions in Ethiopia and also shows diuretic and analgesic activities (Teshale Mekonnen et al., 2010). It contains a number of anthraquinones that showed COX-2 inhibitory (non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug that directly targets cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain), and antitumor activity against different cancer cell lines (Biniyam Girma et al., 2015). The roots are reported to possess anti-inflammatory activity against the synthesis of prostaglandin.

Anti-microbial: Rumex abyssinicus roots were used for anti-microbial activities. The roots are reported to possess antibacterial activity against Streptococcus pyogenes. The plant has strong antiviral activity against Coxsackie virus and influenza A virus. In vitro it demonstrated proliferation of murine macrophage cells, suggesting that it may have a role in improving the immune system of the body (Diallo et al., 1990). It also contains promising bioactive compounds that might be useful in the control of helminth infections by interrupting the worms’ life cycle and preventing their growth (Basha et al., 2011).

Wound healing Eshetu Mulisa et al. (2015) reported that Rumex abyssinicus has a potential application as a wound healing agent. Higher hydroxyproline content in the extract and standard treated group might be related to enhancement of the proliferation and migration of fibroblasts and collagen deposition. Better efficacy of the crude extract in wound healing was further evidenced by the breaking strength in incision wounds. The plant, when applied externally, is used fresh or dried to treat wounds, sores and parts affected by scabies (Bussmann et al., 2011).

b)    Other Uses:

Rumex abyssinicus has a yellow and a red dye as a result of its rhizome. It is used for colouring wickerwork, and to impart a red colour to the feet and hands of women. The crushed plants are used to clean cooking pots that have been blackened over the fire, and to remove grease. Leaves of various Rumex species are very good at removing dirty oil from the skin by simply crushing the leaves to release the sap and rub them over the dirty area (Bussmann et al., 2011).

Extract results showed that the curing system using 10% Rumex abyssinicus powder with 15% common salt is efficient in preserving the raw goatskins. Shegaw Ahmed et al. (2011) reported that the less-salt preservation system based on Rumex abyssinicus is a cleaner alternative for the conventional salt-based preservation method.

18.  Waltheria indica L.



Waltheria indica is a short-lived, perennial plant with several erect or ascending more or less woody stems that can be branched from the base. Its local name is ‘Albe’ (in Berta). The plant grows from 0.5-2 meters tall (Edwards et al., 1995). Waltheria indica begins flowering at about 6 months old, and blooms more or less continuously for the rest of their lives. Reproduction is by seeds, which are dispersed by water, agricultural equipment and grazing animals.

The qualitative phytochemical analysis of root, stem and leaf extracts of Waltheria indica reported the presence of saponins, alkaloids, anthraquinones, flavonoids, tannins/ phenols and cardiac glycosides at varied amounts. High amount of saponins and anthraquinones were reported to be present in the three different parts of the plant than other phytochemicals. Tannins and cardiac glycosides were more observed in the roots and leaf extracts than in the stem extracts (Olajuyigbe et al., 2011). The phytochemical assessment indicated the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols, terpenes, cardiac glycosides, saponins, anthraquinones and carbohydrates (Ibrahim Ahmed and Syed Baquer Mahmood, 2014).

Significance: Waltheria indica is a potential genetic resource for bioprospecting due to its active phytochemicals in the roots and leaves.

a)     Medicinal use:

 Waltheria indica is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use. It is commonly used in traditional medicine of Africa, South America and Hawaii, mainly against pain, inflammation, diarrhea, dysentery, conjunctivitis, wounds, abscess, epilepsy, convulsions, anemia, erectile dysfunctions, bladder ailments and asthma (Zong et al., 2013). Various extracts are used in Africa as tonics, analgesics, purgatives, and to reduce fevers. In Hawaii, the root is chewed to ease sore throats and treat gonorrhoea and leprosy in humans. Stems are used as a chewing stick. The plant extracts are used as an eye bath in Panama and used for treatment of cough and curing female sterility. Personal observation during documentation of traditional knowledge of Benishangul Gumuz Region reports Waltheria indica as one of traditional medicinal plant. The plant is applied externally on skin to heal eruptions and wounds. A decoction of various plant parts is taken as a treatment for fever (febrifuge) and syphilis (antisiphylitic). A decoction of the leafy stems is taken to relieve fevers, coughs, colds, bladder ailments, vaginal infections, hypertension, ulcers and as a remedy for haemoptysis(http:// tropical.theferns.info/). According to Olajuyigbe et al. (2011), Waltheria indica is useful in the treatment of enteric diseases, antibacterial effects and source of new antibiotic compounds. The plant is used as an aspirin-like anti-inflammatory drug (Saunders, 2007). It is used to treat diarrhea by traditional healers in Nigeria (Zailani et al., 2010). It is traditionally used to treat malaria (Jansen et al., 2010), hemorrhoids and cancers (Graham et al., 2000), leprosy (Olajuyigbe et al., 2011), analgesic activity (Mohammed et al., 2007), infertility (Ribuot et al., 2013), bladder ailments, erectile dysfunction and impotence (Bekro et al., 2007).

b)    Industrial use:

Waltheria indica is also a source of a fiber. The plant produces a fiber that was formerly used for making cords, sacking, padding and sandals. An extract of the plant, is used in a commercial cosmetic for its ability to inhibit melanin synthesis and whiten the skin. Therefore, Waltheria indica is promoted as the potential genetic resources for bioprospecting due to its active phytochemicals in the roots and leaves, its locally well-known traditional medicinal properties and its industrial activities.





19.  Impatiens tinctoria



Impatiens tinctori is known by English vernacular name, Balsamine or by the vernacular name in Amharic, “Insosila”. It is a common perennial herbaceous plant species belonging to the genus Impatiens which comprises more than 1000 species and occurs in tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Central America, and temperate regions of North Hemisphere. Impatiens tinctoria is one of the largest species in the genus and classified under Balsaminaceae family of Ericales order. More than 100 species of Impatiens have been identified in Africa and the most common one is I. tinctoria.

a)     Cosmotic use

 Insosila is the dominant cash herb in Mahoney / Maichew, Tigray  and may parts of Ethiopia is used by the local women as a cosmetic (Tilahun Amede and Mulugeta Taye, 2015). Insosila plays a great role in cosmetic, medicine and textile industries.
 Cosmetic use: Cosmetic use of I. tinctoria is common in Ethiopia. Women cook and pound the inside of the tubers into a paste and apply to the palms, hands and to the feet where it turns the skin strong, dark reddish color and also makes nails black and shiny (Hedberg et al., 2006).
 b) Medicinal  use:

 Medicinally, root decoction is drunk as a purgative against abdominal pains. The stem is chewed to treat mouth and throat diseases. For instance, in an ethnobotanical study of traditional medicinal plants in Amhara Region of Northern Ethiopia, Messay Wolde-Mariam et al. (2015) reported that the chopped and crushed roots of Insosila being mixed with water are drunk once or twice for abortion purpose; and similarly, the chopped, crushed and boiled roots are drunk to treat arthritis. Treatment by Insosila helps to control fungal infections as well as to toughen the skin. 

b)    Industrial use

Coloring / dyeing: Local plants such as Insosila are sources of natural colorants (Jihad, 2014). For instance, in general, the flower and crushed stem and leaf pastes of Balsaminaceae are used to produce brown, orange and red colors to dye garments such as silk, wool, and cotton (Kar and Borthakur,2008: Singh et al., 2015). More specifically, the juice of pounded roots of Insosila is one of the ingredients for a red ink and can be used in textile industries to dye cloths. Hence, the roots and flowers of I. trinctoria can be used in different textile industries to dye garments in place of using synthetic chemicals (Jihad, 2014). Besides, Insosila is among the many plants used by Ethiopian painters to produce green color

c)     Economic use

 As Insosila plays a great role in cosmetic, medicine and textile industries, it is valuable to capitalize on responding to its local, national and international market demands. A survey of local market in Western Highlands of Ethiopia reported 2.6 mean of Insosila sellers in the market; and an estimated mean financial money value of 30 Birr from five visits (Zuberi et al., 2014). This study also reported high local community market demand on Insosila due to its
cosmetic nature particularly to color nails. A study in Tigray Region also recommended specialization and value addition to the highly demanded Insosila in Mahoney, Tigray Region of Ethiopia, for adornment, particularly by women (Tilahun Amede and Mulugeta Taye, 2015).

20.  Cucurbita pepo



Cucurbita pepo L. is known by common name ‘Duba’, ‘Dubba’ (in Amharic) and Pumpkin (in English). Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, consisting of 90 genera and approximately 700 species, wherein the genus Cucurbita stands out as one of the most important. It is a herbaceous, monoecious, annual plant. It is a medium-sized plant grown for its fruits and edible seeds (Adepoju and Adebanjo, 2011; Aliu et al., 2012). It is a vigorous trailing annual herb, with stems growing up to 5 m long. It has broadly triangular, large leaves and large, bright yellow flowers. Its flowers are yellow with fused petals and are easily distinguishable as male and female (Lerner, 2000 cited in Brew et al., 2006). The male blossom is on a long slender stalk or pedicel, while the female blossom has a swollen embryonic ovary attached to its base. It flowers from April to December and honeybees collect pollen and nectar from its flowers frequently (Cotner et al., 2003 cited in Brew et al., 2006; Fichtl and Admasu Adi, 1994; Ermias Dagne, 2009).

a)     Medicinal uses

The seeds of Cucurbita pepo L are used for immobilization and expulsion of intestinal worms and parasites, prostate gland disorders, irritable bladder and kidney inflammation in different regions of the world (Adepoju et al., 2011). Umadevi et al. (2011) indicated that the seeds and pulp of Cucurbita pepo are used for medicinal purposes by irritating the intestinal tract of parasites and worms. It is also used to treat urinary tract problems and gastritis and to remove tapeworms and roundworms from the intestine.

Chemical composition and physicochemical properties The chemical composition and physicochemical properties of pumpkin seeds and fatty acids of their oil has been determined in various studies (Achi et al., 2005 cited in Aliu et al., 2012; Ardabili et al., 2011; Leffingwell et al., 2015; Oloyede et al., 2012). Pumpkin seeds are valued for high proportions of proteins, essential amino acids, fatty acids and microelements. They are rich in oil and protein. With a high yield of oil and physicochemical characteristics similar to those of the other commercial edible oils, the pumpkin seed oil can be considered as a new and valuable source of edible oil (Ardabili et al., 2011; Lazos, 1986 cited in Oloyede et al., 2012)

b)    Pharmacological use

 Pumpkin extracts of different parts of the plant have shown various curative effects due to their biologically active components. In the therapy of small urinary disorders, prostate gland and the urinary bladder diseases, pumpkin seeds have shown positive results (Đorđević et al., 2016). Pumpkin seed protein isolates were reported to have in vitro anti-oxidative activity of (Nkosi et al., 2005, 2006 cited in Adepoju and Adebanjo, 2011). The antioxidant capacities of the female flower extracts were significantly higher than the male flower extracts (Tarhan et al., 2007 cited in Adepoju and Adebanjo, 2011). Umadevi et al. (2011) reported significant antioxidant and antidepressant activity of Cucurbita pepo seed extracts. Therefore, Cucurbita pepo may serve as a potential resource for natural psychotherapeutic agent against depression.




21.  Ajuga integrifolia







Ajuga integrifolia Buch.-Ham. (Syn: Ajuga remota; Ajuga bracteosa) is known by common names: ‘Armagussa’, ‘Etse Libawit’, ‘Medhanit’ (in Amharic). It is one of the species in the genus Ajuga and family Lamiaceae. The plants in the genus Ajuga are evergreen, clump-forming rhizomatous annual or perennial herbaceous flowering species in the mint family, Lamiaceae. There are at least 301 species of the genus Ajuga with many variations: Ajuga is one of the 266 genera of the family Lamiaceae.

Ajuga integrifolia, mostly known under the name Ajuga bracteosa, is a herb often lying on the ground and rooting at the nodes, covered with soft hairs, stems growing up to 40 cm high. Its leaves are oblanceolate and coarsely toothed. Its flowers are small, pale blue, white or pale violet found in small clusters in the leaf axils. It flowers from late August to October while honeybees are frequently visiting the flowers for pollen and nectar (Fichtl and Admasu Adi, 1994; Ermias Dagne, 2009).

a)     Medicinal uses

 Ajuga integrifolia is widely used in traditional medicine for treating diarrhea, stomach disorders, evil eye, retained placenta, ascariasis, malaria, swollen legs, hypertension, jaundice and wounds It can also be used for veterinary purposes (Asres et al., 2001; Vohra and Kaur, 2011). A decoction of the leaves of the herb is used in the traditional medicine for a number of diseases including diabetes, hypertension, fever, malaria and stomach pain (Mirutse Giday et al., 2009).
Chemical composition and pharmacological activities: Some compounds isolated from these plants have medicinal value and are of ecological and economic importance (Israili and Lyoussi, 2009; Vohra and Kaur, 2011). A large number of compounds have been isolated from various species of the Ajuga herb. Some of the bioactive compounds (steroids) isolated from genus Ajuga integrifolia are:-Ecdysone, 20- hydroxyecdysterone, Polypodine, Cyasterone, 29-Norcyasterone, 29-Norsengosterone,
Ajugalactone, Ponosterone, Ajugasterone C, etc. Different parts of the Aguja plant possess different bioactive compounds (Vohra and Kaur, 2011). Several compounds such as glycoside, tannin, ceryl alcohol, cerotic acid, have been isolated from Ajuga integrifolia leaves. The aqueous extract of leaves shows diuretic, stimulant action, aperients and febrifugal due to the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, triterpenoids, saponins and tannins like phenolic compounds (Pala et al., 2011). Clerodane diterpenoid is found to be among the important bioactive compounds isolated from the bark of Ajuga integrifolia. The bark after decoction is useful for curing jaundice and sore throat in experimental animal model. The bioactive compounds isolated from the root of Ajuga integrifolia are steroids, palmitic acid and heptacos-3-en-25-one. The roots of Ajuga integrifolia contains comparatively larger amounts of chromium which may be interrelated to its use as remedy for diabetes.

The considerably larger amounts of potassium (159 mg per 100 g in roots in comparison to 139 mg per 100 g in leaves) than sodium (29 mg per 100 g in roots in comparison to 21 mg per 100 g in leaves) may have some correlation with the use of the herb in hypertension (Pala et al., 2011). Generally, crude extracts from multiple parts of the Ajuga integrifolia plant are used to treat various disorders in different traditional systems. The presence of different bioactive compounds in Ajuga integrifolia might be responsible for the variety of medicinal purposes such as hypoglycemic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antibacterial, immunomodulatory and antispasmodic activities of the plant (Pala et al., 2011).























































































































































































































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