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Diversity of Medicinal Plants and Preliminary Parameterization of their Uses in Benin (Western Africa)

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An investigation was conducted in Benin botanical gardens, endogenous therapeutic gardens and forests in order to assess diversity of medicinal plants and their endogenous, alimentary and medicinal importance. A preliminary parameterization to assess the importance range of these medicinal plants was performed. To that end, three indices were built such as National Identity Coefficient (NIC), National Utility Coefficient (NUC), and Alimentary Utility Index (AUI) per family. Relation between these indices and botanical families was assessed using factorial correspondence analysis. Ailments treated per family and percentage of organ solicited per family, were also assessed. As results, the medicinal plants observed globally belong to 15 botanical families. The NIC ranges from 0.31 to 1, and shows eight families that are mostly identified at national scale. The NUC ranges from 0.26 to 1, and indicates seven mostly useful families, i.e. Apocynaceae, Capparidaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Annonaceae, Meliaceae, Rutaceae and Sterculiaceae; but these are not belonged to the most identified families at the national scale. The AUI ranging from 6 to 50, pointed out eight families i.e. Capparidaceae, Annonaceae, Sterculiaceae, Mimosaceae, Bignoniaceae, Combretaceae, Ceasalpiniaceae and Bombacaceae; these are mostly used as food, with 50% highly solicited in treating more ailments. Polygaceae and Flacourtiaceae are the mostly threatened as 70% of their species roots are solicited for various uses. Further studied are needed to standardize these indices.
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Online Publication Date: 19 April 2012
Publisher: Asian Economic and Social Society
Diversity of Medicinal Plants and Preliminary Parameterization
of their Uses in Benin (Western Africa)
Padonou Elie Antoine (PhD student, Laboratory of Applied
Ecology, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, Benin)
Kindomihou Missia Valentin (PhD Agronomy, Lecturer,
Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences,
Benin)
Djègo Julien Gaudence (PhD Botany, Lecturer, Laboratory of
Applied Ecology, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, Benin)
Sinsin Brice Augustin (Professor Tropical Ecology, Head of
Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences,
Benin)
Citation: Padonou Elie Antoine, Kindomihou Missiakô Valentin, Djègo Julien Gaudence, Sinsin
Brice Augustin (2012): ―Diversity of Medicinal Plants and Preliminary Parameterization of their Uses
in Benin (Western Africa) Journal of Asian Scientific Research Vol.2, No.4, pp.212-220.
Journal of Asian Scientific Research, Vol.2, No.4, pp.212-220
212
Author (s)
Padonou Elie Antoine
PhD student, Laboratory of
Applied Ecology, Faculty of
Agronomic Sciences, Benin
E-mail: elpadoue13@yahoo.fr
Kindomihou Missia
Valentin
PhD Agronomy, Lecturer,
Laboratory of Applied Ecology,
Faculty of Agronomic Sciences,
Benin
E-mail: kindomihou@gmail.com
Djègo Julien Gaudence
PhD Botany, Lecturer, Laboratory
of Applied Ecology, Faculty of
Agronomic Sciences, Benin.
E-mail: gdjego@yahoo.fr
Sinsin Brice Augustin
Professor, Tropical Ecology,
Laboratory of Applied Ecology,
Faculty of Agronomic Sciences,
Benin.
E-mail:bsinsin@gmail.com
valentin.kindomihou@fsa.uac.bj
kindomihou@gmail.com
Diversity of Medicinal Plants and Preliminary
Parameterization of their Uses in Benin (Western
Africa)
Abstract
An investigation was conducted in Benin botanical gardens,
endogenous therapeutic gardens and forests in order to
assess diversity of medicinal plants and their endogenous,
alimentary and medicinal importance. A preliminary
parameterization to assess the importance range of these
medicinal plants was performed. To that end, three indices
were built such as National Identity Coefficient (NIC),
National Utility Coefficient (NUC), and Alimentary Utility
Index (AUI) per family. Relation between these indices and
botanical families was assessed using factorial
correspondence analysis. Ailments treated per family and
percentage of organ solicited per family, were also
assessed. As results, the medicinal plants observed globally
belong to 15 botanical families. The NIC ranges from 0.31
to 1, and shows eight families that are mostly identified at
national scale. The NUC ranges from 0.26 to 1, and
indicates seven mostly useful families, i.e. Apocynaceae,
Capparidaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Annonaceae, Meliaceae,
Rutaceae and Sterculiaceae; but these are not belonged to
the most identified families at the national scale. The AUI
ranging from 6 to 50, pointed out eight families i.e.
Capparidaceae, Annonaceae, Sterculiaceae, Mimosaceae,
Bignoniaceae, Combretaceae, Ceasalpiniaceae and
Bombacaceae; these are mostly used as food, with 50%
highly solicited in treating more ailments. Polygaceae and
Flacourtiaceae are the mostly threatened as 70% of their
species roots are solicited for various uses. Further studied
are needed to standardize these indices.
Key words: Medicinal Plants, Family, Parameterization
Introduction
Over 60 % of the world’s population, 80 %
in developing countries depends directly on
plants for their medical purposes. Medicinal
plants have been harvested from the wild
since ancient times (Singh et al., 1979;
Mshigeni, 1990; Balick and Cox, 1996;
Sheldon et al., 1997; Dhillion and
Ampornpan, 2000; Dhillion et al., 2002).
Traditional medicine is still recognized as
the primary health care system (Bannerman
et al., 1983; Manandhar, 1994, 1998;
Svarstad and Dhillion, 2000) in many rural
communities because of its effectiveness,
lack of modern medical alternatives, and
cultural preferences (Plotkin and Famolare,
1992; Taylor et al., 1995; Balick et al., 1996;
Tabuti et al., 2003). Many rural peoples
possess traditional knowledge of medicinal
plants (Manandhar, 1992; Comerford, 1996;
Johnston and Colquhoun, 1996; Milliken
and Albert, 1996; Joshi and Joshi, 2000).
Such knowledge survives because it is
transferred from one generation to another
(Manandhar, 1989; Jain and Saklani, 1991;
Tabuti et al., 2003). Some plant families are
clearly more useful in certain use categories
Diversity of Medicinal Plants and Preliminary…..
213
than others (Phillips and Gentry, 1993a,b;
Moerman, 1996; Moerman et al., 1999; Byg
et al., 2006). The same reasoning holds true
for individual plant species (Prance et al.,
1987; Byg et al., 2006). Determining the
usefulness of plant families generally
pertains to the domain of scientific
researchers (Moerman, 1996; Treyvaud
Amiguet et al., 2006; Bennett and Husby,
2008, Adou Yao et al., 2011), whereas local
people are ideally placed to assess the
usefulness of particular plant species for
particular applications, as the latter can rely
on empirical knowledge accumulated over
several years to generations of practice.
Since folk classification and perception vary
for the use of medicinal plants and organs,
methods are needed to assess importance of
these resources for a sustainable
management in each part of the world. The
aim of this study was to assess diversity of
medicinal plants and to parameterize the
usefulness of plant family based on
quantitative indices. Parameterization of
usefulness of medicinal plants has been
previously and diversely assessed. The
relative importance of taxa for specific use
categories is calculated with informant
consensus factor (F
ic
) formula (Trotter and
Logan, 1986) also called ―Informant
Agreement Ratio‖ (IAR, Collins et al., 2006;
Inta et al., 2008) or Fidelity level (FL)
formula (Alexiades, 1996) or Relative
Importance index (adapted from Bennett and
Prance, 2000) or Informant indexing
technique proposed by Phillips and Gentry
(1993a) and Thomas et al. (2009) while the
cultural importance of medicinal plants is
calculated with Relative Frequency of
Citation (RFC) formula (Tardio and Pardo-
de Santayana, 2008) and cultural Importance
index (CI) (Tardio and Pardo-de Santayana,
2008; Signorini et al., 2009). None of these
formulas use the endogenous languages, the
endogenous names and alimentary utility of
medicinal plants. Since no research
addressed the parameterization of medicinal
plant use, based on endogenous languages,
endogenous names, and alimentary utility of
medicinal plants, this preliminary study will
help in understanding the importance of
plant family according to their endogenous
usefulness.
Material and methods
Data collection
A total of 200 reports of three consecutive
years (2005-2007) for the purposes of
pharmaceutical research in Benin botanical
gardens, endogenous therapeutic gardens
and forests (Lama and Pobè) were used. The
following information were gathered from
the reports analyzed: species names,
botanical families names, plant organs
utilized per ailment per species and family,
ailments treated per species per family, plant
parts utilized as food per species per family,
number of endogenous names and
endogenous languages per species per
family.
Data analysis
Some parameters were developed for
measuring the use importance of medicinal
plants. These were: National Identity
Coefficient (NIC), National Utility
Coefficient (NUC), and Alimentary Utility
Index (AUI) per family. The following
formulas were developed and used:
NIC > 0.5: family less identified or less
useful at the national scale
NIC < 0.5: family mostly use.
name endogenous ofNumber
familyper species ofNumber
= NUC
NUC < 0.5: family most identified or mostly
used at the national scale.
NUC > 0.5: family less identified or fairly
used at the national scale.
100 ×
familyper species ofNumber
familyper food as used species ofNumber
= AUI
0 % < AUI 30 %: family less used as
food;
30 % < AUI 50 %: family mostly used as
food.
The data were analyzed using the linear
mixed model with SAS software (SAS Inc.,
Journal of Asian Scientific Research, Vol.2, No.4, pp.212-220
214
2003). Factorial correspondence analysis
was performed in order to assess the relation
between the botanical families and the
defined parameters. Diversity in species
composition per family and ailments treated
per family were illustrated with diagram in
order to detect the most diversified families
and the family that are useful for treating
more ailments. Percentage of organs utilized
per family for treating ailment, were
assessed and the threatened families were
detected.
Results
Parameters for medicinal plants use
importance
Table 1 shows average values of the
parameters used to assess the medicinal
plants use status in Benin. NIC ranges from
0.31 to 1. Values are low (NIC<0.35) with
Caesalpiniaceae, Meliaceae and
Flacourtiaceae and high (NIC > 0.75) with
Apocynaceae, Rutaceae, Lytraceae,
Mimosaceae and Capparidaceae. NUC
ranges from 0.26 to 1. Lower values (<0.35)
appeared with Meliaceae, Euphorbiaceae,
Caesalpiniaceae and Flacourtiaceae while
higher (>0.6) with Lytraceae, Mimosaceae
and Capparidaceae, Bignoniaceae,
Sterculiaceae and Combretaceae. AUI
ranges from 6 (Apocynaceae) to 50
(Ceasalpiniaceae).
Useful of medicinal plants at national
scale
Results of factorial correspondence analysis
performed on parameters (AUI, NIC and
NUC) and families showed that the first two
axes were highly significant and explained
the overall information related to parameters
and families. AUI contributed mostly for
axis 1 while NIC and NUC contributed
mostly for axis 2. Combretaceae,
Bignoniaceae, Capparidaceae, Mimosaceae,
Rutaceae, Flacourtiaceae and Meliaceae also
mostly contributed for axis 1 while
Sterculiaceae, Lytraceae, Apocynaceae,
Annonaceae, Bombacaceae, Euphorbiaceae,
Polygaceae and Caesalpiniaceae mostly
contributed for axis 2. Figure 1, we observed
that Capparidaceae, Annonaceae,
Sterculiaceae, Mimosaceae, Bignoniaceae,
Combretaceae, Caesalpiniaceae and
Bombacaceae were situated in the same side
as alimentary utility indices and positively
correlated to the axis 1. Thus, these families
were the most used as food. The second axis
showed that the most useful families at
national scale (NUC) were Apocynaceae,
Capparidaceae, Euphorbiaceae,
Annonaceae, Meliaceae, Rutaceae, and
Sterculiaceae since these families were
positively correlated to this axis as the NUC,
while Bombacaceae, Flacourtiaceae,
Lytraceae, Polygaceae, Caesalpiniaceae,
Bignoniaceae, Combretaceae and
Mimosaceae were mostly identified at
national scale (NIC) as they were negatively
correlated to this axis like NIC.
Diversity and solicitation of botanical
families for treating ailments
Diversity and ailments treated per family
Comparison of species composition and
ailments treated per family (Fig. 2)
highlighted the most diversified families and
the solicitation of families in ailments
treating. Apocynaceae and Mimosaceae
were the most diversified families holding
respectively 12 species while the less
diversified were Flacourtiaceae and
Lytraceae with only one species
respectively. Annonaceae, Apocynaceae,
Caesalpiniaceae, Bombacaceae and
Capparidaceae treated more than 50
ailments. Apart from Flacourtiaceae which
treated less than 10 ailments, the number of
ailments treated with the other families
range from 20 to 49.
Organs solicited for treating ailments per
family
Table 2 shows diversity of organs solicited
per family for treatments. Polygaceae (70
%) and Flacourtiaceae (70 %) roots are more
useful for treating ailments while less
families’ roots for treating ailments were
Lytraceae (10 %), Sterculiaceae (10 %) and
Caesalpiniaceae (5 %). From barks, the most
useful family was Fabaceae (40 %) while
the less useful family was Combretaceae (0
%). Families from which leaves were more
solicited for treating ailments were
Lytraceae (50 %) and
Diversity of Medicinal Plants and Preliminary…..
215
Combretaceae (45 %) while the less
solicited leaves families were Mimosaceae
(5 %), Fabaceae (5 %) and Bignoniaceae (5
%). The most useful families’ stems were
Euphorbiaceae (30 %), Meliaceae (30 %),
Bignoniaceae (30 %) and Lytraceae (30 %).
The less useful families stems were
Annonaceae (5 %) and Fabaceae (5 %). The
most useful families’ fruits were
Caesalpiniaceae (40 %), Annonaceae (30 %)
and Bombacaceae (30 %) while the less
useful families’ fruits were Euphorbiaceae
(<0.1 %), Polygaceae (<0.10 %),
Flacourtiaceae (<0.1 %) and Lytraceae (<0.1
%).
Discussion
Useful of medicinal plants at national
scale
The fact that each of the investigated
botanical family and species has gotten a
name from vernacular language of ethnic
groups suggests that every plant species or
family has attained a high degree of cultural
significance in the study areas.
Using the National Identity Coefficient,
Bombacaceae, Flacourtiaceae, Lytraceae,
Polygaceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Bignoniaceae,
Combretaceae and Mimosaceae families
were the most identified at national scale. In
these families, species were named in more
endogenous languages. Thus, these families
involved species used for large purposes in
ailments treating for large local population
since endogenous languages were speaking
by local population.
Based on the National Utility Coefficient,
we remarked that the most useful families at
national scale were Apocynaceae,
Capparidaceae, Euphorbiaceae,
Annonaceae, Meliaceae, Rutaceae, and
Sterculiaceae. In these families, one species
may have more than one name in the same
language; then these families were those
mostly named in endogenous language. The
fact that one species may have more than
one name in the same language is due to its
importance to this local population who uses
to speak this language. Since these families
were mostly named in endogenous language,
they had more importance to local
population who speaks the language in
which they were mostly named.
Capparidaceae, Annonaceae, Sterculiaceae,
Mimosaceae, Bignoniaceae, Combretaceae,
Caesalpiniaceae and Bombacaceae were the
most useful families as food based on
Alimentary Utility Indices. This seems true
because, these families involved species
from which leaves and fruits are widely
valorized as food in the whole country by
local population.
Parameterization of family importance,
allowed us to understand the variation in use
of families and to detect the most important
families. Assessing the useful of medicinal
plants based on indices was also
documented (Trotter and Logan, 1986;
Phillips and Gentry, 1993a; Smith, 1993;
Alexiades, 1996; Borgatti, 1996ab; Bennett
and Prance, 2000; Collins et al., 2006; Inta
et al., 2008; Signorini et al., 2009; Tardío
and Pardo-de Santayana, 2008; Thomas et
al., 2009).
Diversity and solicitation of botanical
families for treating ailments
The number of species per family ranges
from 1 (Flacourtiaceae and Lytraceae) to 12
(Apocynaceae). The difference in species
composition of medicinal plant families may
be linked with their usefulness in treating
ailments. This is confirmed with the number
of ailments treated per family. In fact, the
number of ailments treated varied with the
species composition of family. Family with
more species treats more ailments except
Lytraceae which treated 30 ailments with
only one species.
As far as the organs solicited for treating
ailments are concerned, the roots of
Polygaceae (70 %) and Flacourtiaceae (70
%) were more used in treating ailments
while Fabaceae’ barks (40 %) were more
useful. Lytraceae (50 %) and Combretaceae
(45 %) leaves were more solicited while
Euphorbiaceae (30 %), Meliaceae (30 %),
Bignoniaceae (30 %) and Lytraceae (30 %)
stems were more useful for treating
ailments. The most useful families’ fruits for
treating ailments were Caesalpiniaceae (40
%), Annonaceae (30 %) and Bombacaceae
Journal of Asian Scientific Research, Vol.2, No.4, pp.212-220
216
(30 %). It should be known that families
from which species’ root was mostly
solicited were more threatened than the
others. In fact, removal of roots could have
significant detrimental effects on plant
survival and regeneration (Dhillion and
Amundsen, 2000). Thus, the most threatened
families might be Polygaceae and
Flacourtiaceae.
Conclusion
Parameterization of the usefulness of
medicinal plants helped in understanding the
variability in their using and the most useful
families in Benin. Plant species and plant
parts solicited for treating ailments vary
according to plant family. Threatened
families are those of which roots are more
solicited.
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank all the people in
Zogbodomey, Bohicon, Porto-Novo and
Pobè and the Students in Pharmacy who
made this study possible. We are also
grateful to Tosso Felicien (MSc) and
Professor Akoegninou Akpovi who helped
respectively in data collection and
confirming species and botanical families.
The study was financially supported by the
Laboratory of Applied Ecology, Abomey
Calavi University, (Benin Republic) and the
institutional and logistical support of the
European Union (FP6 INCO-dev 031685)
through the SUN project (Sustainable Use of
Natural Vegetation in West Africa).
Diversity of Medicinal Plants and Preliminary…..
217
Table-1. Parameters for medicinal plants use in Benin
Parameters
Minimum
value
Maximum
value
Average value
Coefficient of Variation
National Identity
Coefficient (NIC)
0.31
1
0.69 ± 0.31
44.93
National Utility
Coefficient (NUC)
0.26
1
0.60 ± 0.28
46.67
Alimentary Utility
Index (AUI)
6
50
29.75 ± 14.10
47.39
Figure 1: Factorial correspondence analysis on parameters and botanical families Legend:
Apocina: Apocynaceae; Euphorbi: Euphorbiaceae; Sterculi: Sterculiaceae; Capparid:
Capparidaceae; Bignoni: Bignoniaceae; Caesalpin: caesalpiniaceae; Polygace: Polygaceae;
NUC: National Utility coefficient; NIC: National Identity coefficient; AUI: Alimentary
Utility Index.
Axis 2
Journal of Asian Scientific Research, Vol.2, No.4, pp.212-220
218
Table 2: Percentage of organs solicited per botanical family for treating ailments
Figure 2: Botanical families’ diversity and ailments treated per family
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