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Research background

Background and justification of the project

People in Sub-Sahara Africa suffer a lower standard of healthcare than in any other region of the world. Hence, improving healthcare becomes a primary goal of any development programme (WHO, 2001). More than 80% of the people in Ethiopia and neighbouring countries mainly rely on plant-based pharmaceuticals, using their millennia-old medicinal plant lore, to complement lack of trained health professionals and access to modern medication (Dawit Abebe, 2001). However, medicinal plants and the associated indigenous knowledge are fast-declining due to anthropogenic and environmental factors, and lack of skilled man power working on the subject (Fekadu Fullas, 2010). The flora of Ethiopia is estimated to be between 6500 and 7000 species, and has the richest endemism (12% of Ethiopia’s flora) owing to the diversity in climate, vegetation, and terrain ranging from Afro-alpine to desert vegetation (Teshome Sormessaet al., 2004).Among the flora species of Ethiopia, numerous traditional medicinal plants are available that are still in use for supporting primary healthcare services by treating different human and livestock ailments.

Based on different authors Ethiopia have so far documented and reported >800 medicinal plant species from the country, but little attempt has been made to validate folk-knowledge claims of medicinal uses. Despite the effort in ethnomedicinal researches in the country, the scattered nature of existing ethnomedicinal data and insignificant nature of subsequent phytochemical investigations constitutes a significant hurdle in enhancing effective use of the medicinal plant wealth of Ethiopia.

Understanding the potential use and existing decline of traditional medicinal plants and associated knowledge, DebreBerhan University has already launched an integrated project at Ankober District, North Shewa Zone, with the intent of conserving medicinal plants and herbal product development through establishing modern nursery and a laboratory (for physical and chemical analysis, investigation of antimicrobial activity and in-vitro testing).Therefore, efforts linked to medicinal plants, the contributions of the area to primary healthcare services and the direction of the government towards traditional medicine, this project proposal is designed to address issues related to conservation of medicinal plants and associated indigenous knowledge,extraction, characterization of bioactive components, running in-vitro/vivo antimicrobial activity, formulation and standardization of herbal products and drugs from selected medicinal plants, testing and safety analysis of extracts and formulated products that support the contemporary human and livestock health care services. The project proposal with the intent of herbal medicine preparation and plant biodiversity conservation also goes in line with the strategy set by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and the country’s Growth and transformation plan II (GTP-II) which focuses on human and livestock health development and productivity.

Description of the study area

Ethnobotanical data will be collected in different seasons over the different years with the objective of including representative Districts in North Shewa Zone, Amhara Region and collecting plant specimens during the respective flowering seasons. Market survey and checking of reliability of informants' medicinal plant use knowledge will also be conducted in representative markets in the region. Laboratory activity will be conducted in Ankober Herbal medicine preparation and plant biodiversity conservation project laboratory.  Ankober is perched on the eastern escarpment of the Ethiopian highlands and situated 172 km north of Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, and 42 km to the east of DebreBerhan town (North Shewa Zone capital).



Debre Berhan University Ministry of Science & Technology  Ankober Woreda Development Association

Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute  Ethiopian Public Health Institute AAU School of Medicine

Ghent University  Hamburg University

Increasing People's Opportunity

Contact Info


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    Debre Berhan University,

    Debre Berhan,