A comparative analysis of ethnobotanical applications by the AbaWanga people in western Kenya

Ndondolo Owuor N


AbaWanga people of western Kenya are known to have a rich history of ethnobotanical knowledge, probably due to their long interactive history of migration from North Africa to West Africa and then to Central and finally to East Africa. Their collective and accumulative ethnobotanical knowledge during the long migration and settling at their current geographical location largely remains unknown and is likely to be just as rich and worth analyzing, hence the current study of the AbaWanga people. Non-alienating, dialogic, participatory action research (PAR) and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) approaches involving 100 women and men aged over 30 years old were utilized. A combination of snowball and purposive sampling methods were used to select 100 key respondents. The methods comprised a set of triangulation approach needed in ethnobotanical knowledge of non-experimental validation process. The study showed varied ethnobotanical uses and existence of a complex and extensive ethnic-based plant nomenclature system with more mononomials than polynomials. There were 54 human diseases/ill-health conditions treated, controlled and managed together with a wide range of plants and plant products offering nutritional, socio-cultural/economic and veterinary values. Most prevalent diseases/ill-health conditions treated, controlled and managed included: - upper respiratory tract infections, reproductive health (such as barrenness), mental illnesses, cancer, schizophrenia and stroke. The study showed that there was a rich ethnobotanical knowledge and ethnopractices amongst the AbaWanga; that is potential for developing useful ethnoproducts for improving livelihoods of people. There was an indication that plant- and plant products-based ethnomedicine system was practically developed and potentially useful.



AbaWanga people and livelihoods; Ethnobotanical knowledge; Ethno-nomenclature; Mumias

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.48347/IMIST.PRSM/ajmap-v2i2.6708

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ISSN: 2458-5920