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This study focuses on the large outdoor markets of the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo. As the largest metropolitan area in Madagascar with a population of nearly two million, the region has great capacity for consumption of medicinal plant remedies despite numerous pharmacies. Medicinal plant use spans all socioeconomic levels, and the diverse metropolitan population allows us to study a wide variety of people who consume these plants for medical purposes. The purpose of this study is to identify and generate a list of medicinal plants sold in the traditional markets with a focus on those collected in the forests around Antananarivo, get an idea of the quantities of medicinal plants sold in the markets around Antananarivo, and assess the economy of the medicinal plant markets. In order to determine which medicinal plants are most consumed in Antananarivo, ethnobotanical enquiries were conducted in the five main markets of the capital city. Ethnobotanical surveys were conducted with medicinal plant traders, suppliers, harvesters and cultivators, with voucher specimens created from the plants discussed. Trade circuit information was established and the income generated by the trade of some of the species was assessed. The inventory of the Antananarivo markets resulted in a list of 89 commercialized plant species. Ten of the 89 were mentioned by 60-100 % of vendors. Profitability for vendors is high and competitive with other salaried positions within Antananarivo. Transportation costs are also high and therefore lower profitability for other members in the supply chain. The markets of Antananarivo have always played a vital cultural role in the lives of urban Malagasy, but our study shows they also play an economic role not only for urban residents but rural harvesters as well. Continued research and monitoring of the non-timber forest products trade in Antananarivo is needed to better understand the impact of trade on the wild plant populations.
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Medicinal plants sold in the markets of
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Randriamiharisoa et al.
JOURNAL OF ETHNOBIOLOGY
AND ETHNOMEDICINE
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60
DOI 10.1186/s13002-015-0046-y
R E S E A R C H Open Access
Medicinal plants sold in the markets of
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Maria Nirina Randriamiharisoa
1*
, Alyse R. Kuhlman
2
, Vololoniaina Jeannoda
1
, Harison Rabarison
1
,
Nivo Rakotoarivelo
3
, Tabita Randrianarivony
3
, Fortunat Raktoarivony
3
, Armand Randrianasolo
2
and Rainer W. Bussmann
2
Abstract
Background: This study focuses on the large outdoor markets of the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo. As the
largest metropolitan area in Madagascar with a population of nearly two million, the region has great capacity for
consumption of medicinal plant remedies despite numerous pharmacies. Medicinal plant use spans all
socioeconomic levels, and the diverse metropolitan population allows us to study a wide variety of people who
consume these plants for medical purposes. The purpose of this study is to identify and generate a list of medicinal
plants sold in the traditional markets with a focus on those collected in the forests around Antananarivo, get an
idea of the quantities of medicinal plants sold in the markets around Antananarivo, and assess the economy of the
medicinal plant markets.
Methods: In order to determine which medicinal plants are most consumed in Antananarivo, ethnobotanical
enquiries were conducted in the five main markets of the capital city. Ethnobotanical surveys were conducted with
medicinal plant traders, suppliers, harvesters and cultivators, with voucher specimens created from the plants
discussed. Trade circuit information was established and the income generated by the trade of some of the species
was assessed.
Results: The inventory of the Antananarivo markets resulted in a list of 89 commercialized plant species. Ten of the
89 were mentioned by 60-100 % of vendors. Profitability for vendors is high and competitive with other salaried
positions within Antananarivo. Transportation costs are also high and therefore lower profitability for other
members in the supply chain.
Conclusions: The markets of Antananarivo have always played a vital cultural role in the lives of urban Malagasy,
but our study shows they also play an economic role not only for urban residents but rural harvesters as well.
Continued research and monitoring of the non-timber forest products trade in Antananarivo is needed to better
understand the impact of trade on the wild plant populations.
Keywords: Madagascar, Urban market, Medicinal plants
Background
The use of plants for medical treatment and therapy is a
practice as old as humanity, dating as far back as the old-
est known written documents and found in nearly every
known culture [13]. Traditional medicine is rich due to
the diversity of human groups, languages, and customs,
combined with the diversity of ecological regions, leading
to innovative plant use and specialized knowledge [4]. The
World Health Organization estimates that nearly 80 % of
the population in developing countries depends mainly on
traditional medicine for the treatment of ailments [5]. The
dependence on remedies derived from medicinal plants is
particularly important in developing countries where
modern medicine is often absent or simply too expensive
[6, 7]. Economic devaluation of the developing countries
leads to higher prices of pharmaceuticals and makes medi-
cinal plants and traditional medicine more attractive [8].
Additionally, some prefer traditional medicine for various
* Correspondence: randriamiharisoa.maria@yahoo.fr
1
Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of
Antananarivo, Antananarivo 101 BP 566, Madagascar
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
JOURNAL OF ETHNOBIOLOGY
AND ETHNOMEDICINE
© 2015 Randriamiharisoa et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://
creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60
DOI 10.1186/s13002-015-0046-y
reasons including familiarity, tradition and perceived
safety [9, 10].
Medicinal plants can be of great importance in the
daily lives of those who live near places where they
grow, not only for their healing traditions but as a com-
modity to take to the urban areas where they are not
locally found to be sold in the marketplace [11]. Trade
of non-timber forest products (NTFP) has been a main-
stay for rural economies with a large majority being
sourced from wild populations [12]. Rural farmers and
residents therefore have a financial interest to not only
exploit and develop trade of these natural resources
[13], but also to consider conservation measures [14,
15]. The domestic market of medicinal plants of
Madagascar is not well documented, and the market for
medicinal plants and derivatives only represents a small
fraction compared to all internal and external trade of
the country [16]. Our study focused on the city of
Antananarivo and its medicinal plant markets. As the
capital of Madagascar Antananarivo is the largest
metropolitan area with a population of nearly 2 million,
and the region has great potential for consumption of
medicinal plant remedies despite numerous allopathic
pharmacies [11]. Medicinal plant-use in Madagascar
spans all socioeconomic levels and the diverse metro-
politan population allowed to study a wide variety of
people using plant products. The objective of this study
was to identify and generate a list of medicinal plants
sold in the traditional markets with a focus on those
collected in the forests around Antananarivo, as well as
getting information on the quantities of medicinal
plants sold in the markets around Antananarivo, and to
assess the economy of the medicinal plant markets. In-
terviews were started with the vendors at the major
markets of Antananarivo, and continued with suppliers
wherever possible. We then tried to elucidate who cul-
tivated or harvested plants sourced by the suppliers and
finally who held the knowledge of traditional plant
medicine for the region.
Methods
Study area
Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar, the fourth lar-
gest island in the world, and centrally located in the high-
lands at nearly 1,300 meters above sea level [17]. We
conducted surveys in five major markets of Antananarivo:
the Esplanade Analakely, Petite Vitesse, Pavilion Anala-
kely, Isotry and Andravohangy. These markets were
chosen based on the following criteria: market size
and popularity, medicinal plant species sold on the
premises, and knowledge of vendors regarding the
use and sale of medicinal plants. Furthermore, mar-
kets in Antananarivo are housed in permanent build-
ings where vendors occupy permanent booths, which
allowed for repeat visits to the same vendor to update
lists and conduct further interviews.
Markets
The medicinal plant market includes two subsectors:
the traditional medicinal plant market and the pharma-
ceutical market. The traditional plant market, known as
raokandro, includes plants for public use with little to
no processing (dried, raw material). The plants were
sold either singularly or as a mix with other plants for a
particular treatment. Other types of legal plant markets
in Antananarivo are pharmaceutical, cosmetics and
aromatherapy shops marked with HOMEOPHARMA
and IRMA, selling mostly medicinal plants and medi-
cinal plant products that have undergone extensive
modification (liquid extract, cream, ointment). The
present study focused on the medicinal plant trade
within the raokandro. A variety of actors were involved
in the sale of medicinal plants. These included opera-
tors, collectors, harvesters, and small retailers. The def-
initions we followed were taken from the ministerial
decree number 2915/87 of 30 June 1987 and the Decree
of 17 November 1930 mentioned in Articles 32 and 33
are presented in Table 1.
Table 1 Definition of participants within the herbal market trade scheme. Types of collectors and their role within the trade as
defined by the Madagascar government
Operators Persons who legally hold a license or an operating agreement to operate and collect medicinal plants and forest
products to sell or use as raw materials.
Collectors These are individuals who collect plants from those who harvest in the forest. They are authorized to carry out the
grouping of plants with several collectors.
Harvesters These are the persons authorized to conduct harvesting or gathering medicinal plants for commercial purposes
Rural harvesters Those who come from the rural areas surrounding the city of Antananarivo to deliver medicinal species to the
market sellers
Urban harvesters people living in the vicinity of the capital, which also make deliveries to vendors of medicinal plants in the
traditional market of Antananarivo
Public resellers (vendors) These are the people who sell plants to the public. Called "tapa-mpivarotra kazo" or "mpivarotra raokandroin Malagasy.
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 2 of 12
Ethnobotanical surveys
To gather information about the market of medicinal
plants, a series of semi-structured interviews were con-
ducted with traders at the traditional markets (raokandro)
of Antananarivo after obtaining oral prior informed con-
sent. Questionnaires were used as a foundation for discus-
sions with the collectors and traders. During market
interviews we conducted our survey individually and itera-
tively [18]. All medicinal species that were discussed with
the vendors were also purchased from the vendors at the
regular price. Medicinal plants were then identified at the
department of Plant Biology and Ecology at the University
of Antananarivo and crosschecked with published ethno-
botanical and floristic literature where available [1922].
Plant names follow www. TROPICOS.org. Herbarium
vouchers were deposited at the herbaria of Centre
National de la Recherche Appliquée au Developement
Rural (TEF), Parc de Tsimbazaza (TAN) and Missouri
Botanical Garden (MO).
Statistical analysis
For each medicinal plant a Use Index (UI%) was calcu-
lated to give a ranking of the importance of the use and
trade of medicinal species in markets of Antananarivo.
The UI% is calculated from the formula, UI = (na/NA) x
100, where na is the number of interviewees who cite
the species as useful and NA is the totally number of
people interviewed [23]. In this case, na represents rep-
resent the number of vendors who sell a particular me-
dicinal species. The following formulas were used to
calculate the profit margin of the various intermediaries
surveyed. For sellers, Bv = PV- PA where the benefit to
vendors (Bv) is the difference between the sale price
(PV) and the purchase price (PA). For harvesters (rural
and urban), Bh = ΣR-ΣEx, where the benefit to har-
vesters (Bh) is the difference between the revenue (R)
and expenditure costs (Ex). Profit margin (PM) was cal-
culated with PM = B / ΣR, based on [23].
Results and discussion
We interviewed 86 people in the traditional markets of
medicinal plants in Antananarivo. Table 2 summarizes
the survey sites and the number of informants surveyed.
We were able to identify 89 medicinal plant species
from 56 vendors. A list of medicinal plants is presented
in Table 3. The actual number of species sold is likely
higher than what we were able to identify because of the
studys limited duration [24]. Furthermore, vendors
spoke only about plants that at the time of the interview
were available in their stalls. Other plants might be sold
at other times, but if they were not available for pur-
chase the sellers did not mention them.
Among the medicinal species available at the major
markets of the city of Antananarivo, we encountered
nine plant part used: leaves (73 %), bark (7 %), stems
(5 %), roots (5 %), entire plant (4 %), fruit (2 %), tuber
(2 %), flower (1 %), other (1 %). (Fig. 1) Leaves were by
far the most common plant material used, followed by
bark. While leaves and bark were often well represented
in other studies, only 50 % of the combined total in our
study were leaves and bark, similar to in Sierra Leone
[25]. These most common health complaints treated
with plants were hepatitis, kidney stones, asthenia,
wounds, coughs and gastroenteritis (Fig. 2).
Most traded medicinal species
Table 4 lists the ten most traded species in the markets,
including the Use Index calculated for each of these spe-
cies, which varied from 61 % to 100 %. Prices are typic-
ally the main economic indicators about the supply and
demand for a product, with higher prices indicating spe-
cies with higher demand and lower supply. However, we
found that the organization of economic actors within
the regional medicinal plant trade was also a determin-
ant of prices, often affecting the price based on who and
how the species was sourced. Vendors bought their
plants from rural harvesters, urban harvesters, and col-
lectors, which is a common trade pattern found in other
parts of Africa as well [26]. Increased number of inter-
mediaries before a species reaches the sellers increased
the price on the market. Two commercial channels
could be distinguished: a short circuit, when harvesters
moved to Antananarivo to be closer to the markets in
order to sell their products directly themselves, and a
long circuit, consisting of a long chain of intermediaries
the products passed through before reaching sellers in
Antananarivo (Fig. 3). The purchase price of medicinal
plants varied widely depending on the species, but we
found that prices were constant for a given species.
However, product price increased with each change of
hands as transportation costs or other fees incurred. As
found in other parts of the world, the amount of time, en-
ergy and resources needed to transport medicinal plants
to the market was considered extremely high [27]. In
addition, the price also fluctuated depending on the
Table 2 Market sites and number of informants surveyed
Market Number of
vendors
Rural
harvesters
Intermediaries or
Urban harvesters
Esplanade
Analakely
903
Petite Vitesse 21 15 7
Andravoahangy 21 5 0
Pavilion Analakely 2 0 0
Isotry 3 0 0
Total 56 20 10
Total interviewed 86
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 3 of 12
Table 3 List of medicinal plants sold at the Antananarivo medicinal markets. Scientific name, vernacular name, plant part used,
disease treated and voucher number [MTR = Randriamiharisoa, Maria T.] for all 89 plants identified at the Antananarivo Markets. Use
citations were compared with Madagascar ethnobotany published literature: [1] Boiteau P, Allorge- Boiteau L, 1993; [2] Samyn, JM,
1999; [3] Gurib-Fakim A, Brendler T, 2004
Scientific name Vernacular name Part used Application Uses cited in literature Voucher number
Acanthaceae
Avicennia marina
(Forssk.) Vierh.
Afiafy Leaf Stomach ulcer MTR142
Justicia sp.Belohalika Leaf Neuralgia MTR190
Amaranthaceae
Cyathula uncinulata
(Schrad.) Schinz
Tangogo Leaf Stomach ulcer, hepatitis,
diabetes, cardiac problems
MTR163
Anacardiaceae
Anacardium
occidentale L.
Mahabibo Leaf Diabetes, hemorrhoids,
stomach ulcer, allergies,
hepatitis, wounds,
incontinence, anorexia
MTR127
Rhus taratana (Baker)
H. Perrier
Andriambavimahery Leaf Wounds, stomach ulcer MTR174
Apiaceae
Centella asiatica (L.)
Urb.
Talapetraka Entire plant Stomach ulcer, wounds Wounds
3
, skin eczema
3
, accesses
3
,
conjunctivitis
3
MTR138
Apocynaceae
Catharanthus lanceus
(Bojer ex A. DC.)
Pichon
Vonenina Root Cancer Diuretic
2
, purgative
2
, vermifuge
2
,
sores
2
MTR161
Catharanthus roseus
(L.) G. Don
Vonenina Root Cancer, appetite suppressant Hypotensive
1
, antidepressant
1
,
antitumoral
1
, purgative
2
, diabetes
2
,
appetite suppressant
2
, vermifuge
3
,
diarrhea
3
, dysentery
3
MTR162
Cynanchum sp. Vahamavo Leaf Asthenia, erectile dysfunction MTR191
Pentopetia sp. Tandrokosy Leaf Cough, hepatitis, neuralgia MTR189
Araliaceae
Schefflera bojeri
(Seem.) R. Vig.
Tsingila Leaf Stomach ulcer, hepatitis MTR143
Schefflera sp. Ramadio Leaf Neurasthenia, back pain MTR144
Asteraceae
Brachylaena ramiflora
(DC.) Humbert
Ramanjavona Leaf Asthenia, stomach ulcer, MTR173
Cynara scolymus L. Artichaut Leaf Stomach ulcer, hepatitis MTR192
Distephanus
polygalifolius (Less.)
H. Rob. & B. Kahn
Ninginingina Leaf Syphilis, neuralgia, back pain,
stomach ulcerm, hepatitis,
albumin, incontinence
MTR136
Emilia citrina DC. Tsiotsiona Leaf Asthenia, anorexia MTR202
Helichrysum faradifani
Scott- Elliot
Haihalala Leaf Gonorrhea, cough, asthenia,
fever, stomach ulcer, hepatitis
MTR159
Helichrysum
gymnocephalum
(DC.) Humbert
Rambiazina Leaf Stomach ulcer, cough, wound,
severe headache
Headaches
1
, bronchitis
1
, ulcers
1
,
heartburn
2
, upset stomach
2
,
fever
2
, diarrhea
3
, dysmenorrhea
3
,
rheumatism
3
, gout
3
MTR160
Inulanthera brownii
(Hochr.) Källersjö
Kelimavitrika Leaf Immune system of children,
erectile dysfunction, stiffness
MTR128
Psiadia altissima (DC.)
Drake
Sakatavilotra Leaf Cough, wound, diarrhea Fever
3
, abdominal pain
3
,
antiseptic
3
, toothache
3
, boils
3
MTR220
Ramijaingy Leaf MTR201
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 4 of 12
Table 3 List of medicinal plants sold at the Antananarivo medicinal markets. Scientific name, vernacular name, plant part used,
disease treated and voucher number [MTR = Randriamiharisoa, Maria T.] for all 89 plants identified at the Antananarivo Markets. Use
citations were compared with Madagascar ethnobotany published literature: [1] Boiteau P, Allorge- Boiteau L, 1993; [2] Samyn, JM,
1999; [3] Gurib-Fakim A, Brendler T, 2004 (Continued)
Senecio canaliculatus
Bojer ex DC.
Stomach ulcer, gastroenteritis,
syphilis
Vernonia
appendiculata Less.
Ambiaty Leaf Fever, nerves MTR193
Bignoniaceae
Jacaranda
mimosifolia D. Don
Zaharandaha Leaf Sinusitis, severe headache MTR145
Phyllarthron
bojeranum DC.
Zahana Leaf Asthenia, erectile dysfunction,
severe headache, gonorrhea,
cough, syphilis
MTR175
Symphytum orientale
L.
Konsody ou Maseza Leaf Stomach ulcer, hepatitis MTR203
Cactaceae
Cereus triangularis (L.)
Haw.
Tsilo Root Kidney stones, urinary tract
problems, syphilis, gonorrhea
MTR158
Canellaceae
Cinnamosma
madagascariensis
Danguy
Mandravasarotra Bark Astenia, erectile dysfunction,
stomach ulcer
Stomach pain
3
, colic
3
, analgesic
3
,
indigestion
3
, stimulant
3
, cough
3
,
dysentery
3
MTR194
Celastraceae
Mystroxylon
aethiopicum (Thunb.)
Loes.
Fanazava Leaf Neuralgia, hepatitis, albumin,
erectile dysfunction, back pain,
urinary tract problems, stomach
ulcer, hypertension, immune
deficiency
Fatigue
3
,neuralgia
3
, purgative
3
,
vertigo
3
MTR126
Combretaceae
Combretum
coccineum (Sonn.)
Lam.
Tamenaka Fruit Intestinal parasites Anthelmintic
,3
, liver problems
3
MTR200
Terminalia catappa L. Atafana Leaf Urinary tract problems Astringent
3
, sudorific
3
, dysentery
3
MTR188
Commelinaceae
Commelina
madagascarica C.B.
Clarke
Nifinakanga Leaf Abortifacient, acne MTR176
Crassulaceae
Kalanchoe prolifera R.
Hamet
Sodifafana Leaf Neurasthenia Boils
3
, furuncles
3
, wounds
3
,
rheumatism
3
MTR186
Cyperaceae
Cyperus papyrus
subsp.
madagascariensis
(Willd.) Kük.
Fonjozoro Stem Emphysema, back pain MTR146
Droseraceae
Drosera
madagascariensis DC.
Mahantanando Leaf Conjunctivitis, enurensis Coughs
3
, toothpaste
3
, dyspepsia
3
,
anemia
3
MTR129
Ebenaceae
Diospyros sp. Bois de rose Bark Cysticercosis, intestinal
parasites, taxoplasmosis,
emphysema, diabetes, albumin
regulation, allergies
MTR171
Equisetaceae
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 5 of 12
Table 3 List of medicinal plants sold at the Antananarivo medicinal markets. Scientific name, vernacular name, plant part used,
disease treated and voucher number [MTR = Randriamiharisoa, Maria T.] for all 89 plants identified at the Antananarivo Markets. Use
citations were compared with Madagascar ethnobotany published literature: [1] Boiteau P, Allorge- Boiteau L, 1993; [2] Samyn, JM,
1999; [3] Gurib-Fakim A, Brendler T, 2004 (Continued)
Equisetum sp. Tsitoatoana Leaf Constipation, urinary tract
problems
MTR177
Euphorbiaceae
Ricinus communis L. Tanantanamanga Leaf Asthenia, hemorrhoids,
wounds, intestinal parasites,
cold
Galactagogue
1,2
, purgative
1,2
,
laxative
1,2
, intestinal worms
1
,
tapeworm
1
, headache
2
,
rheumatism
2
, dental cavities
2
,
wounds
2
, fevers
2
MTR164
Fabaceae
Caesalpinia bonduc
(L.) Roxb.
Vatolalaka Fruit Hemorrhoids, appendicitis MTR204
Phylloxylon
xylophylloides (Baker)
Du Puy, Labat &
Schrire
Arahara Leaf Hepatitis, urinary tract
problems, pharyngitis
MTR184
Senna septentrionalis
(Viv.) H.S. Irwin &
Barneby
Anjanajana Leaf Immune system children,
gastroenteritis
MTR147
Senna occidentalis (L.)
Link
Tsotsorinangatra Stem Syphilis, gonorrhea, prostate
tumor, hypertension, hepatitis,
rheumatism
MTR165
Tamarindus indica L. Voamadilo Leaf Constipation, gastroenteritis,
wounds
Laxative
1
,vermifuge
1
, stomach
ache
1
, general wounds
1
MTR125
Gentianaceae
Tachiadenus
longifolius Scott-
Elliot
Tapabatana Leaf Diarrhea, stomach ulcer MTR172
Gesneriaceae
Streptocarpus
hilsenbergii R. Br.
Mangavony Enitre plant Hepatitis, acne MTR185
Hydrostachyaceae
Hydrostachys
stolonifera Baker
Tsilavondrina Leaf Asthenia MTR187
Hypericaceae
Harungana
madagascariensis
Lam. ex Poir.
Harongana Leaf Wounds, asthma, cough,
stomach ulcer, hepatitis,
gastroenteritis, albumin,
allergies, insomnia
Scabies
1,2
, stomach ache
1
,
flatulence
1
, anticatarrhal
1,2
, bladder
infections
2
, syphilis
2
, menstruation
regulation
2
, fever
2
, wounds
2
,
diarrhea
2,3
, hemorrhoids
2
, skin
diseases
3
MTR130
Psorospermum sp. Todihazo Stem Scabies, leprosy MTR148
Psorospermum
ferrovestitum Baker
Andriambolamena Leaf Female infertility, abortifacient,
stomach ulcer, hypertension,
intestinal parasites
MTR166
Lamiaceae
Ocimum gratissimum
L.
Romba Leaf Severe headache, albumin,
wounds, abortifacient, cold, low
calcium, dental problems
Digestion
3
, chest complaints
3
,
diarrhea
3
, vomiting
3
, anticatarrh
3
,
antiseptic
3
MTR205
Tetradenia riparia
(Hochst.) Codd
Borona Leaf Cough, wounds, hepatitis MTR221
Lauraceae
Cinnamomum
camphora (L.) J. Presl
Ravitsara Leaf Stomach ulcer, hepatitis,
abortifacient, jaundice,
Fevers
3
, rheumatism
3
,
abortifacient
3
MTR122
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 6 of 12
Table 3 List of medicinal plants sold at the Antananarivo medicinal markets. Scientific name, vernacular name, plant part used,
disease treated and voucher number [MTR = Randriamiharisoa, Maria T.] for all 89 plants identified at the Antananarivo Markets. Use
citations were compared with Madagascar ethnobotany published literature: [1] Boiteau P, Allorge- Boiteau L, 1993; [2] Samyn, JM,
1999; [3] Gurib-Fakim A, Brendler T, 2004 (Continued)
hypertension, appendicitis,
rheumatism
Loganiaceae
Anthocleista
madagascariensis
Baker
Landemy Leaf Stomach ulcer, diarrhea,
malaria, constipation,
abdominal colic, severe
headache
Fever
1,2
, dysentery
1,2
, emetic
1,2
,
laxative
1,2
MTR149
Lycopodiaceae
Lycopodium sp. Karakaratoloha Leaf Hepatitis, hypertension,
gastroenteritis, epilepsy
MTR157
Meliaceae
Azadirachta indica A.
Juss.
Nimo Leaf Asthenia, diabetes, albumin,
rheumatism, pelvic pain, boils,
hepatitis, kidney stones, burns,
constipation, high cholesterol
MTR124
Cedrelopsis grevei
Baill.
Katrafay Bark Asthenia, erectile dysfunction,
neurasthenia, back pain
MTR141
Neobeguea
mahafaliensis J.-F.
Leroy
Andy Bark Asthenia, erectile dysfunction' MTR183
Molluginaceae
Mollugo nudicaulis
Lam.
Aferotany Entire plant Cough, gastroenteritis MTR178
Moraceae
Ficus reflexa Thunb. Nonoka Leaf Hepatitis, gastroenteritis,
wounds, albumin, hemorrhoids
MTR167
Morus alba L. Voaroihazo Leaf Low calium, anorexia MTR209
Primulaceae
Embelia concinna
Baker
Tanterakala Leaf Intestinal parasites, erectile
dysfunction
MTR206
Myrtaceae
Eucalyptus citriodora
Hook.
Kininina oliva Leaf Cold, severe headache MTR210
Eucalyptus sp. Kininimpotsy Leaf Cold, severe headache MTR211
Syzygium cumini (L.)
Skeels
Rotra Bark Diarrhea, gastroenteritis MTR131
Nymphaeaceae
Nymphaea sp. Betsimilana Leaf Female infertility, abortifacient,
albumin, painful menstruation
MTR219
Onagraceae
Ludwigia octovalvis
(Jacq.) P.H. Raven
Volondrano Leaf Emphysema Nose bleeds
3
, diarrhea
3
,
malnourishment
3
MTR150
Orchiaceae
Vanilla
madagascariensis
Rolfe
Vahinamalona Stem Erectile dysfunction, asthenia Aphrodisiac
1
, MTR208
Pedaliaceae
Uncarina sp. Farehitra Leaf Acne Dandruff
3
, alopecia
3
MTR132
Poaceae
Fandrotrarana Entire plant Syphilis, kidney stones MTR168
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 7 of 12
Table 3 List of medicinal plants sold at the Antananarivo medicinal markets. Scientific name, vernacular name, plant part used,
disease treated and voucher number [MTR = Randriamiharisoa, Maria T.] for all 89 plants identified at the Antananarivo Markets. Use
citations were compared with Madagascar ethnobotany published literature: [1] Boiteau P, Allorge- Boiteau L, 1993; [2] Samyn, JM,
1999; [3] Gurib-Fakim A, Brendler T, 2004 (Continued)
Cynodon dactylon (L.)
Pers.
Imperata cylindrica
(L.) Raeusch.
Fakatenina Root Kidney stones MTR182
Zea mays L. Volokatsaka Silk Urinary tract problems,
hepatitis, kidney stones
MTR156
Pteridaceae
Adiantum capillus-
veneris L.
Ampanga Leaf Allergies, cough Respiratory problems
1
, diuretic
1
,
chickenpox
1
, measles
1
MTR207
Ranunculaceae
Clematis mauritiana
Lam.
Farimafy Leaf Stomach ulcer, hepatitis,
erectile dysfunction
Antiasthmatic
3
, rheumatism
3
,
cough
3
, bronchitis
3
, abdominal
pains
3
MTR179
Rubiaceae
Oldenlandia sp. Ahipody Leaf Scabies, leprosy MTR218
Paederia foetida L. Vahamaibo,
laingomaimbo
Leaf Dental issues, wound, stomach
ulcer, gastroenteritis
Diuretic
1,3
, diaphoretic
1
,
purgative
1
, skin issues
1,3
, ulcers
1,
boils
3
, venereal diseases
3
, bladder
issues
3
, gastric pains
3
MTR123
Pauridiantha
paucinervis (Hiern)
Bremek.
Tamirova Leaf Stomach ulcer, hepatitis,
hypertension, urinary tract
problems, rheumatism, malaria,
albumin, diabetes
MTR153
Rutaceae
Toddalia asiatica (L.)
Lam.
Fanala simba Elaf Syphilis, gonorrhea Malaria
3
, digestive complaints
3
,
fever
3
, cholera
3
, diarrhea
3
,
rheumatism
3
, syphilis
3
MTR181
Salicaceae
Homalium parkeri
Baker
Hazomby Bark Dental issues MTR140
Salviniaceae
Azolla sp. Ramilamina Lower Cardiac arrest MTR170
Smilacaceae
Smilax anceps Willd. Avotra Leaf Gastroenteritis, abdominal colic Varicose veins
3
,eczema
3
, liver
disorders
3
MTR180
Solanaceae
Brugmansia candida
Pers.
Datroa Leaf Epilepsy, paraplegia MTR152
Physalis peruviana L. Voanantsindrana Leaf Rheumatism, urinary tract
problems, syphilis, stomach
ulcer, hepatitis
Eat berries before physical
exertion
1
, diuretic
1,3
, kidney
stones
1
, rheumatism
1
, abscess
2
,
liver disease
2
, gout
3
, fever
3
, heart
palpitations
3
, emollient
3
MTR137
Solanum
mauritianum Scop.
Seva Leaf Hepatitis, wound General disinfectant
1
, Stomach
ulcers
2
MTR151
Stilbaceae
Nuxia capitata Baker Valanirana Leaf Gastroenteritis, asthenia, cough MTR169
Urticaceae
Urera acuminata
(Poir.) Gaudich. ex
Decne.
Sampy vato Leaf Kidney stones, abortifacient,
hepatitis, stomach ulcer
Irritant to skin and eyes
3
,
childbirth
3
MTR133
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 8 of 12
customer's apparent wealth and the type of market (i.e.:
tourist handicraft market). Medicinal plants were often
supplied from a collector two to four times a week, while
some species were only delivered once a month or once a
year (in the case of plants came from other provinces of
Madagascar). Urban harvesters could afford to bring small
amounts of plants (a basket or box) as they sold their
products almost daily. Table 5 summarizes the types of
providers and delivery frequency by type of market.
Local markets worldwide are a thriving business for
both rural and urban dwellers, with a steady demand
for medicinal plants. To understand the possible bene-
fits for rural harvesters, several factors needed to be
taken into account: 1) the cost of transporting goods 2)
the frequency of deliveries to the Antananarivo markets
3) the quantity and value of the species transported to
the market. Transport costs from rural areas of
Antananarivo depended greatly upon the state of the
road and mode of transportation and varied from $
0.45 - $ 1.34 per person transporting plants. The most
common mode of transport was carrying plant prod-
ucts on their backs, or by hand, from the rural areas
to the city market, with costs ranging from $ 0.08 $
0.15 per bag. Overall, transportation costs to deliver the
goods to the vendors of medicinal plants in the major
markets of the city of Antananarivo ranged anywhere
from $ 3.39 - $ 8.57 per week. If four bags of medicinal
plants (which was the standard weekly amount per
vender) were sold at a price of $ 4 - $ 5 per bag, earn-
ingswere$12-$20aweek.Theprofitmarginranged
from 40 % - 81 %.
Case study: Pauridiantha paucinervis and Mystroxylon
aethiopicium
To further analyze the trade value of the medicinal
plants in Antananarivo, we used the most used single
species, Pauridiantha paucinevris, and a species that
was present in most of the mixtures, Mystroxylon aethio-
picium for closer analysis.
In the market, Pauridiantha paucinervis was sold
packaged in a sealed, labeled bags. We found that
package was uniform in all markets. Collectors sold
this product to vendors for an average of $ 0.06 per
package, and the frequency of deliveries was based on
fluctuating demand in the markets. The selling price
of the product in the market ranged from $ 0.08 - $
0.17. Thus, the selling price of this product was
double or even triple compared to its purchase price.
According to our surveys vendors sold an average of
six bags of P. paucinervis each day. Thus, the average
earnings for the sale of P. paucinervis amounted to $
0.50 per day, and the monthly earnings could be up-
wards of $ 22.50.
Mystroxylon aethiopicium was sold at $ 0.10 - $ 0.20
per package, but this species was only rarely sold alone,
but rather was packaged with other herbs to form a tea
Table 3 List of medicinal plants sold at the Antananarivo medicinal markets. Scientific name, vernacular name, plant part used,
disease treated and voucher number [MTR = Randriamiharisoa, Maria T.] for all 89 plants identified at the Antananarivo Markets. Use
citations were compared with Madagascar ethnobotany published literature: [1] Boiteau P, Allorge- Boiteau L, 1993; [2] Samyn, JM,
1999; [3] Gurib-Fakim A, Brendler T, 2004 (Continued)
Verbenaceae
Lantana camara L. Randriaka Leaf Hemorrhage, hypertension MTR155
Xanthorrhoeaceae
Aloe macroclada
Baker
Vahona Leaf Cancer, allergies, acne, fungus MTR139
Dianella ensifolia (L.)
DC.
Erana Leaf Intestinal parasites,
constipation, back pain,
gonorrhea
Eczema
3
, dysentery
3
, stomach
pains
3
MTR154
Zingiberaceae
Zingiber sp. Tamotamo Tuber Cough MTR135
Zingiber officinale
Roscoe
Sakamalao Tuber Cough MTR134
Fig. 1 Plant parts most commonly sold
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 9 of 12
to treat specific ailments. Sellers bought from collectors
once a week, and the order quantity, depending heavily
on supply and demand, was often irregular. The pur-
chase price of this species from suppliers was $ 0.03
$ 0.30, depending on volume. The profit margin of sales
was 100 % to 150 % if the plant was sold alone, and
even higher if it was combined with other herbs. In the
latter case, the sale price varied according to the type of
disease and also the amount needed for treatment.
Vendors sold an average of 10 packets of M. aethiopi-
cium a day, yielding an average of $ 0.30. The average
monthly income for a vendor selling M. aethiopicium
was about $10. Therefore, the combined sale of only P.
paucinervis and M. aethiopicium averaged a monthly
gross income of $25. Considering that the professional
monthly minimum wage guarantee in Madagascar is
$25, the medicinal plant trade can be considered lucra-
tive. However, given the limited amount of time, and
Fig. 2 Number of plant species sold for specific ailments
Table 4 Use index calculated for the most traded species and their treatment associations
Family Scientific name Vernacular name Application Use index
Rubiaceae Pauridiantha paucinervis (Hiern)
Bremek.
Tamirova Stomach ulcer, hepatitis, high blood pressure, urogenital diseases,
rheumatism, malaria, edema, diabetes
100 %
Meliaceae Cedrelopsis grevei Baill. Katrafay Asthenia, erectile dysfunction, back pain 100 %
Meliaceae Neobeguea mahafaliensis J.-F.
Leroy
Andy Asthenia, erectile dysfunction 82 %
Cactaceae Cereus triangularis (L.) Haw. Tsilo Kidney stones, dysuria, anuria, syphilis, gonorrhea 78 %
Fabaceae Senna occidentalis (L.) Link Tsotsorinangatra Syphilis, gonorrhea, enlarged prostate, high blood pressure,
rheumatism, hepatitis
70 %
Lamiaceae Ocimum gratissimum L. Romba Intense headache, edema, wounds, repeated miscarriages, cold,
hypocalcemia, dental pain
65 %
Boraginaceae Symphytum orientale L. Konsody Stomach ulcer, hepatitis 65 %
Asteraceae Cynara cardunculus subsp.
flavescens Wiklund
Artichaut Stomach ulcer, hepatitis 64 %
Asteraceae Distephanus polygalifolius (Less.)
H. Rob. & B. Kahn
Ninginingina Syphilis, neuralgia, back pain, stomach ulcer, hepatitis, edema,
enuresis
61 %
Urticaceae Urera acuminata (Poir.) Gaudich.
ex Decne.
Sampivato Kidney stones, repeated miscarriages, hepatitis, stomach ulcer 61 %
Randriamiharisoa et al. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:60 Page 10 of 12
limited number of interviews, we could not elucidate
the exact quantity of plant material sold in the markets.
Conclusions
Market studies of non-timber forest products (NFTP)
have in the past focused mostly on rural economies and
export markets. Recently, increased interest in the do-
mestic marketplace has resulted in more data about eco-
nomic value of NFTP in the domestic medicinal plant
trade. It is difficult to quantify the number of medicinal
plants that circulate in the markets of a city like
Antananarivo, because this number is highly dependent
on market dynamics, which can be quite irregular even
for a single plant species. But our estimates show that
the sale of medicinal plants in the domestic market pro-
vided income for all players - vendors, collectors and
harvesters - allowing them to supplement or fully supply
their annual income. The impact of these urban trad-
itional markets on the urban and rural economy can
be substantial [28]. This booming business has real
implications for conservation concerns, which should
be researched further to fully explore the impact of
the medicinal plant trade on the ecological well-being
of the forests where the plants are sourced. Further
research and monitoring of the Antananarivo markets
will also be invaluable to chart the sustainable use of
wild natural resources.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Authorscontributions
All authors designed the study and contributed to writing the manuscript.
MNR conducted the interviews and completed the data analysis. All authors
read and approved the final manuscript.
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Plant Biology
and Ecology Department at the University of Antananarivo for their support
and cooperation while carrying out this research. We thank our supervisors
for their valuable advice, encouragement and methodological guidelines. We
also thank the vendors in all of the markets of Antananarivo for freely giving
their time and knowledge.
Author details
1
Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of
Antananarivo, Antananarivo 101 BP 566, Madagascar.
2
William L. Brown
Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299,
USA.
3
Missouri Botanical Garden, Madagascar Research and Conservation
Program, Antananarivo 101 BP 3391, Madagascar.
Received: 13 June 2014 Accepted: 17 July 2015
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Most people in the world still use medicinal plants to treat and prevent disease. In Anatolia, studies have shown that people have used plants for centuries to treat many diseases. Herbal markets play an important role in the supply of medicinal plants and the transmission of cultural heritage. In this study, we investigated the traditional uses of medicinal plants traded in Kahramanmaraş herbal markets. We also analyzed the threats that may arise from the use of medicinal plants and the measures that can be taken to protect these plants. For these purposes, ethnomedicinal data were collected using semi-structured and open-ended questionnaires of herbalists and local people. Ethnobotanical indices (e.g., Relative Frequency of Citation, Use Value, Relative Importance, and Informant Consensus Factor) were used to quantify the use and cultural importance of medicinal plants sold at Kahramanmaraş herbal markets. We identified 62 taxa (11 imported) of plants that are used in traditional folk medicines. The top three plant taxa sold per year by herbalists at Kahramanmaraş herbal markets are Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra; 140 kg), Thyme (Thymus sp.; 109 kg), and Carob (Ceratonia siliqua; 106.5 kg). The plant parts and mode of utilization used most are leaves (28 reports) and infusion (36 reports), respectively. The highest ICF value was detected for endocrine system ailments (0.78), and the next highest two values were lymphatic system (0.75) and respiratory system ailments (0.72). We determined that Urtica dioica, G. glabra, Thymus sp., Mentha x piperita have widely traditional uses, with high ethnobotanical index values and use reports. In addition, according to IUCN criteria, 26 of 62 taxa identified in the research are under threat to various degrees on a global scale.
... One of the fascinating aspects of the African region, when I worked at Missouri Botanical Garden, was the possibility to conduct ethnobotanical studies in Madagascar, and documenting the profound differences this huge island has in comparison to the African continent, especially due to its almost entirely endemic flora, and to see how understudied the region was (Bussmann, Paniagua-Zambrana et al. 2015a, 2018e, Rabearivony et al. 2015, Rakotarivelo et al. 2014, 2015, Randriamiharisoa et al. 2015,c, 2017, Razafindraibe et al. 2013 Of course, over the last years, and especially with the formation of the Department of Ethnobotany here at the Institute of Botany in Tbilisi, our heart lies with ethnobotanical studies in the wiser Caucasus region. This is not just the case because we call Georgia our home, but also because there existed a long Caucasus German tradition before Germans were deported under Stalin, and not surprisingly, quite a few of the Germans who emigrated to the Caucasus in the early 19th century were Swabians, so I might even have had distant cousins here, which makes me feel like I have cultural roots here in Georgia. ...
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An interview with Rainer W. Bussmann, Full Professor of Ethnobotany and Head of the Department of Ethnobotany at the Institute of Botany, Ilia State University, Georgia and co-director of Saving Knowledge. His work focuses on ethnobotanical research and the preservation of traditional knowledge, in the Andes, the Caucasus, and the Himalayas. © 2022, Ilia State University, Institute of Botany, Department of Ethnobotany. All rights reserved.
... The use of plants in medical practice is undoubtedly as old as humanity, and even today, no population or community does not possess a folk pharmacopeia, written or oral, based on the use of plants in their environment. Indeed, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), more than 80% of rural populations in Africa use traditional medicine to provide for their basic health needs (Randriamiharisoa et al., 2015). Moreover, in developing countries such as Madagascar, medicinal plants are a key source of medical care, mainly in very isolated areas or where health resources are limited. ...
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