Research Paper

Ethnobotany and Ethnopharmacology of the Igala kingdom in Kogi East, Nigeria

Emmanuel Amodu, Theophilus B. Momoh, Samuel Oriabure Otoigiakhi, Veronica Amina Iyeh, Tunde Ayobami Owolabi, Kingsley Chinedu Esenwa, Emmanuel O. Olayioye, Odion C. Iyoriobhe, Odion F. Aferuan

Published on: 25 March 2020

Page: 199 - 208

DOI: 10.6165/tai.2020.65.199


An ethnographic study was conducted from January to August 2018 in nine villages of the Igala kingdom located at Kogi East in Nigeria. The study aimed at identifying the plants used in the preparation of medicine, food, tools and utensils, myth, and legend using oral interviews and group discussions with experienced adults between the ages of 25 to 85 years. Information was gathered on a total number of 96 plants from 108 respondents in which 17.6 % were teachers, 66.7% were farmers, 4.6% were hunters, and 11.1% were herbalists. The study revealed that 49.5% of the plants collected are used as medicines, 28.4% as food, 12.6% for furniture, simple tools and utensils, and 9.5% for myth and legend. The present study also revealed that the leaves and stems of plants are the most used parts by the Igala people. They majorly used these plant parts for medicine and food in which over 24 ailments are identified in this work using indigenous phytotherapy as a curative remedy. Decoctions were used in most cases for the preparation of herbal remedies. The use of plants as therapeutic agents is an essential aspect of traditional indigenous medicine within the Igala kingdom because they have a common belief that all food is medicine. Their regards for plants are very high to the extent that plants are involved whenever sacrifices and communications are to be made to their gods and other mystical beings.

Keyword: Ethnobotany, Ethnology, Ethnopharmacology, phytotherapy, Kogi East, Nigeria

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