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A quantitative market survey of medicinal plants used in Dar-es-Salaam and Tanga.
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Abstract [en]

Tanzania has a thriving medicinal plant trade, which is solely based on the harvest of wild plant resources. Many of the plants are dried or powdered and often lack sufficient morphological characters for species-level identification. It is thus unclear which species exactly are traded and in what amounts. This study provides an overview of species traded in the main Tanzanian coastal trade hubs Dar-es-Salaam and Tanga, quantifies the annual sales volumes of these plants and gives an overview of the possible conservation issues arising from the wild-harvest of Tanzanian medicinal plants. Based on the interview data from 46 questionnaires an overview was compiled of the plants most frequently mentioned by the market vendors as well as a list with plants that were considered to become more difficult to obtain. A total of >850 single ingredient samples was collected. The main health categories for which these plants are reported to be used are women’s health, ritual purposes and respiratory problems. In addition to vouchers from the plants sold on the market, reference herbarium vouchers were made in the field together with a medicinal plant collector for the twenty most frequently mentioned plants. Results from the field indicate that there are high harvesting pressures on some of the most commonly traded medicinal plant species. The top five plants that are considered to be becoming scarcer are Zanha africana (Radlk.) Exell. (Sapindaceae), Zanthoxylum chalybeum Engl. (Rubiaceae), Warburgia elongata Verdc. (Canellaceae), Allophylus rubifolius (Hochst. ex A.Rich.) Engl. (Sapindaceae) and Cassia abbreviata Oliv. (Leguminosae). Alarmingly, four out of these five plants also figure in the list of most frequently mentioned plants and several vendors indicate they each sell up to 200kg of these species per month. Warburgia elongata is included on the global Red List as endangered, as well as several Zanthoxylum species. From these plants the bark, roots and branches are used for medicine, parts which are often harvested unsustainably. In order to conserve local medicinal plant populations and ensure a sustainable herbal medicine supply, it is essential to look at sustainable harvesting strategies as well as cultivation possibilities in collaboration with the harvesters, middlemen and vendors.

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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-355180OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-355180DiVA, id: diva2:1225439
Available from: 2018-06-27 Created: 2018-06-27 Last updated: 2018-06-27
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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
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Output format
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