Trends of Research on Traditional Medicinal Plants in Ethiopia

A Preliminary Review


  • Ashenif Tadele Ethiopian Public Health Institute Author


Research, development, commercialization, natural medicinal products, Ethiopian traditional medicine


Background: In Ethiopia, there are more than 6,500 plant species of which an estimated 12% are endemic and about 887 species are used as medicinal plants. Considerable efforts have been exerted on research and development of medicinal plant products in the country. However, the research trend is largely unknown.

Objective:To examine and update the trends of research and development efforts on Ethiopian traditional medicinal plants. 

Methods:Data for this survey were generated from research findings on Ethiopian traditional medicinal plants that appeared indifferent peer reviewed journals and proceedings duringthe last 30years (1985-2014) using search words of Ethiopian medicinal plants, traditional medicine, formulation, toxicity, standardization, and phytochemistry. Descriptive analysis was conducted using excel spreadsheets and the number of research findings were categorized in each disease category. 

Results:A total of 454 abstracts were published in peer reviewed journals and proceedings. The most researched areas were the antimicrobial drugs, ethnomedicinal, antprotozoal phytochemistry and Knowledge, Attitude and Practice about traditional medicine study. The study also revealed that much research is yet to be done in other areas such as formulation, anticancer, diabetics, hypertension and mental disorder. Over 170 medicinal plants were screened for biological activity of which Moringa stenopetala, Glinus lotoides, Lippia adoensis, Phytolacca dodecandra, Albizia gummifera, Artemisia afra, Croton macrostachys, Rumex abyssinicus were the most researched medicinal plants for their phytochemistry, and pharmacological activity.

Conclusions: This preliminary review set out the trends of medicinal plant research in Ethiopia. The research and development should be intensified in the least-researched areas. It is recommended that medicinal plant research and development should be strengthened and linked to manufacturing investment if Ethiopia intends to meet the health sustainable development goals


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Author Biography

  • Ashenif Tadele , Ethiopian Public Health Institute

    Traditional and Modern Medicine Research Directorate, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia






Original Article

How to Cite

Tadele, A. (2017) “Trends of Research on Traditional Medicinal Plants in Ethiopia: A Preliminary Review”, Ethiopian Journal of Public Health and Nutrition (EJPHN), 1(2), pp. 119–124. Available at: (Accessed: 21 May 2024).

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