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Mothers, Markets and Medicine: The role of traditional herbal medicine in primary women and child health care in the Dar es Salaam region, Tanzania.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Traditional medicine is still the most common primary healthcare used in Tanzania, especially among women. The ethnobotanical studies performed in Tanzania have not explored women’s traditional medicine, with the result that we do not know that much about it, including if women’s usage of medicinal plants create a threat against the medicinal flora’s biodiversity or not. Field studies consisting of interviews and collections of medicinal plants were carried out in the Dar es Salaam region in Tanzania before identifying the collected specimens by DNA barcoding, literature and morphology in Uppsala, Sweden. The 33 informants belonged to 15 different ethnic groups and 79% of them had migrated to Dar es Salaam. A total of 249 plant species were mentioned for women’s healthcare and 140 for children’s healthcare. The medicinal plants frequently reported as used for women’s health and childcare during structured interviews and free-listing exercises were Senna occidentalis/ Cassia abbreviata, Zanthoxylum sp., Clausena anisata, Acalypha ornata and Ximenia sp. The most salient uses of medicinal plants by women were during pregnancy, childbirth, menstruation, to induce abortion, and for cleansing infants and treating convulsions in children. Most of the fresh specimens were collected from disturbance vegetation. The informants having most interview answers in common were the market vendors, healers and herbalists and they were the only informants that mentioned species listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. These results were similar to the outcomes from studies of women’s traditional health care in West Africa. Out of 343 collected specimens, 19% were identified by DNA barcoding and 33% by literature sources. Out of 98 voucher samples, 61% were identified by comparisons of morphology, results from DNA analysis and literature. DNA barcoding was necessary to use as method since most medicines were sold in powdered shape. With more time and experience it should be possible to chart the majority of the medicinal plants up to species level. A difference between medicinal plant harvest for domestic and commercial use was observed where the commercial harvesting meant a greater threat to the Tanzanian medicinal plant biodiversity due to unsustainable harvesting methods. Previous studies have shown that an increased commercial harvesting and trade of plants often result in a decreased biodiversity. High population growth and quick urbanization mean that domestic harvesting of women’s medicinal plants will not be able to continue as previously and women in Tanzania will be more dependent on commercial trade for their traditional medicine.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , p. 58
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-313345OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-313345DiVA, id: diva2:1066900
External cooperation
Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Institute of Traditional Medicine
Educational program
Bachelor Programme in Biology / Molecular Biology
Presentation
2015-09-16, Evolutionsbiologiskt Centrum, Uppsala Universitet, Norbyvägen 18D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sverige, 08:15 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-02-09 Created: 2017-01-19 Last updated: 2017-02-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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