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Henrik Balslev

Ethnomedicinal plants of the Loita Maasai of Kenya

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  • Jedidah Nankaya, School of Tourism and Natural Resources Management, Maasai Mara University
  • ,
  • James Nampushi, Maasai Mara University
  • ,
  • Shani Petenya, Maasai Mara University
  • ,
  • Henrik Balslev

Traditional medicinal plants play a central role in primary health care in most African communities, including that of the Maasai. Unfortunately, the local Maasai knowledge is under enormous pressure from introduction of agriculture, population growth, and climate change—all of which affect availability and regeneration of natural resources and ecosystem services which are accompanied by erosion of traditional knowledge. Loss of medicinal plants and the knowledge related to them would have devastating effects on the Maasai community. Therefore, it is important to document the plants and the traditional knowledge related to their use, and conservation and management. We interviewed 31 informants who were especially knowledgeable about medicinal plants. Based on these interviews, we document 62 plant species that the Loita Maasai use as medicine, and we describe the parts of the plant that are used, the methods of preparation, and how they are used. We rank them according to their importance to the people and discuss the management practices developed for these resources, and we evaluate the conservation status.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • Conservation, Local knowledge, Management, Primary health care

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