COLLECTION, IDENTIFICATION, AND PRESERVATION OF MEDICAL PLANTS
The collection, identification and preservation of medical plants native in Enugu state were carried out between June and July 2005. Identification of local herbs as used in traditional medicine, was carried out through consultation with practitioners. These include the herbalist and aged natives. The specimen or plant sample were collected from various habitats like forest gardens, field within Enugu metropolis.
References were however, made to other plants used in other part of Enugu. Collected specimen were classified and identified based on the key for identification of higher plants. It is hoped that further harnessing of medical plants within the locality for the alleviation of ailments will reduce our dependency on imported drugs. Government is advised to invest more on further researches in this field.
1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Medicinal plants are plants that have healing properties. The use of these plants for is called herbalism. Medicinal plants contain and produce a variety of chemical substances that act upon the body. Herbal medicine is the primitive man observed and appreciated the great diversity of plants available to him and the plants provided food and medicine to him.
The medicinal uses of plant seen have been developed through observation of wild animals and by trial and error. As time went on each tribe, added the medicinal power of herbs in the area of its knowledge base, for example the foxglove plant has been in use since 1775 and at present, the ear deal stimulant of the plant serves as treatment to millions of heart patient. Medicinal plants are in use throughout the globe over the time; even in Nigeria as a country and Enugu state appreciate the use and importance of herbal medicine.
The world health organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people (80%) of the worlds population presently, use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. In resent estimate suggests that over 9,000 plants have known medicinal application in various cultures and countries.
The parts of plants that are used or that are involved include the following: bark, leaves, roots, flowers and saps.
Dr. Thumberg took the trouble to identify botanically twenty-four plants, which are medicinal in nature in 1780 by the natives of South Africa, and he was convinced of their value. Over five thousand distinct species are known to occur in forest regions alone and most of them have been used for several centuries in traditional medicine for the prevention and treatment of disease. The continent is believed to have the oldest known human habitation as generally considered the cradle of human civilization.
The ancient kingdom and empires of Africa such as Lent, Nabia, Ethiopia, Bini, Oyo, Zimbabwe, Nupe, Borno, Nri, and Mandingo has extensively codified healing zelipes. The history of healing arts in Africa can be traced back to about 3200 BC, during the times of the first pharaoh of ancient Egypt. Anthothis, the son of Menes was credited with knowledge of many therapeutic preparations, the first African physician in a scientific sense actually belong, to the great imlotap was an accomplished architect and the step pyramid at saggoroh is among his numerous works. He was also a scribe and a high ranked administration in the pharaoh’s court, a high priest and a renowned healer, who by 525 BC had become in the field as the god of medicine.
1.2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
Collection, Identification and Preservation of medicinal plants, the purpose of the research are the development in the field of medicinal plant