Inventory and ethnobotanical studies of medicinal plants in the Asantemanso sacred grove, Ashanti Region, Ghana

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
An ethnobotanical study was carried out in the Asantemanso sacred grove of the Ashanti Region of Ghana to take an inventory of the plant species used by communities around the grove for medicinal purposes and also to determine the status and medicinal importance of identified plant species. The study was carried out between December, 2009 and October, 2010. A total of 175 plant species were identified in the sacred grove comprising of 53 families. The most dominant families included Fabaceae, Rubiaceae and Euphorbiaceae. Some of the most common species were Trichilia prieureana (9.86), Griffonia simplicifolia (13.55), Celtis mildbraedii (4.98), Blighia unijugata (4.39), Blighia sapida (3.79), Nesogordonia papaverifera (5.76), Baphia nitida (5.25), Pterogota macrocarpa (2.25) and Sterculia rhinopetala (2.04). Trees were the most dominant life forms (58%). Plants species were categories into eight (8) star rating conservation status. Green star species recorded the highest number (71%), followed by Blue star rated species with 7%. Two Black Star-rated species, Hippocratea vignei and Tapura ivorensis recorded the least number (1.0%). A total of eight medicinal plant species, with Khaya ivorensis as the most cited species, were indicated by the respondents to be on the decline in the study area. However, several species including Trichilia monadelpha, Strombosia pustulata, Ricinodendron heudelotii, Lannea welwitschii and Petersianthus macrocarpus which were indicated to be on the decline were found to occur in the sacred grove. Ethnobotanical information was gathered using questionnaires from 53 inhabitants from four communities namely Essumegya, Sebedie, Kyekyewere and Boamang. Males constituted the majority (53%), and females represented 47%. The age of the respondents ranged between 27 and 90 years. About 57% of the respondents had no formal education but 41% and 2% had secondary and primary education, respectively. Majority of the respondents were Christians (90.57%) whereas only 9.43% were traditionalists. A total of 153 different medicinal plant species documented were used for various medicinal purposes such as treating fever, piles, cough, waist pains, anaemia, blood pressure, headache, rheumatism, broken bones, convulsions and stomach problems. Euphorbiaceae was the most dominant medicinal plant family. The most important medicinal plants encountered were Alchornea cordifolia (26.42%), Bombax buonopozense (24.53%), Cleistopholis patens (22.64%), Ocimum gratissimum (22.64%), Khaya ivorensis (22.64%), Alstonia boonei (20.75%) and Paullinia pinnata (20.75%). For most of the plants different parts cured different diseases but diseases treated involved predominantly the use of leaves – 46.9%; bark – 27.1%; roots – 17.9%; seed – 2.4% and flowers and fruits – 1.9% and 3.95% respectively. Medicinal remedies were administered in different forms predominantly as decoctions (38.1%), poultices (24.5%), concoctions (13.6%) and tinctures (12.2%). Out of the total 175 plants species enumerated in the sacred grove, 37 species, representing 21.14% of the plant species, were indicated to be of medicinal value through the ethnobotanical study. The presence of the two Black Star-rated species indicates that the Asantemanso sacred grove is not only a habitat for rare or endemic species but may also be a relic forest for plant species that may be under serious threats of extinction. The results shows that the sacred grove is an important source of plants for medicinal remedies and also indicative of the fact that indeed the sacred grove is a reservoir of medicinal plants.
This is thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Master of Science degree in Environmental Science