|Livestock Research for Rural Development 27 (8) 2015||Guide for preparation of papers||LRRD Newsletter||
Citation of this paper
This study was conducted in three districts (Moroto, Nakapiripirit and Napak) of Karamoja Region, Uganda, to identify and document indigenous knowledge of the pastoralists regarding the control of helminthosis and ticks. Participatory methods in form of focus group discussions (30) with livestock keepers (9-12 per group) in 30 settlement areas (manyattas), and key informant interviews (20) were employed to establish the ethnoveterinary practices including local plant names, life form, parts used, method of preparation and administration. Interviews were supplemented with field observations and plant collection trips. Samples of each plant were identified and documented at the Makerere University Herbarium and National Museums of Kenya.
Fourteen plant species from 13 genera and 10 botanical families were recorded as being used for control of ticks and helminthosis. Most frequently used plants for ticks were Azadirachta indica A. Juss and Adenium obesum (Forssk) Roem. & Schult (39 and 23% consensus, respectively). Dalbergia melanoxylon Guill & Perr. and Azadirachta indica A. Juss were frequently used for control of helminthosis (47 and 33% consensus, respectively). Most plants were in form of shrubs (57%). Most frequently used part of the plant was roots (43%). Non-plant practices included daily handpicking of ticks from animals, burning of bushes, smearing animals with mud and application of a mixture of ash and urine. This study contributes to the ethnoveterinary knowledge in the control of ticks and helminthosis of livestock, and provides a basis for further pharmacological studies, particularly those involving the use of plants. Apart from Azadirachta indica, Nicotiana tabacum and Balanites aegyptiaca, other plant species are reported for the first time, in Uganda, for the control of ticks and helminthosis.
Keywords: ethnobotanical, indigenous knowledge, livestock disease
Livestock keeping is a source of wealth for pastoralists in Africa, in addition to their social and cultural functions (Oba 2012; Onono et al 2015). Helminthosis constrains livestock farming due to control costs, poor weight gains, reduced production, and direct mortality, especially in small ruminants (Lapenga and Rubaire-Akiiki 2009; Nabukenya et al 2014b). Ticks are a major threat to the livestock industry in tropical and subtropical regions due to the direct (blood loss, skin lesion, and injection of toxins) and indirect (transmission of parasites, treatment, and control costs) effects (Jongejan and Uilenberg 2004).
In African rural areas, modern drugs are difficult to access and expensive (Hammond et al 1997); therefore, the use of ethnoveterinary medicine by pastoralists to control livestock diseases is common (Gradé et al 2009; Kidane et al 2014; Nabukenya et al 2014a). On the other hand, improper use of anthelmintics to control worms has led to the development of resistance to the drugs (Byaruhanga and Okwee-Acai 2013; Kumsa et al 2010; Nabukenya et al 2014b). The use of ethnoveterinary practices in the control of livestock diseases has been documented from various studies in Uganda (Ejobi et al 2007; Gradé et al 2009; Lagu and Kayanja 2010; Nabukenya et al 2014a; Nalule et al 2011; Opiro et al 2010; Tabuti et al 2003a; Tabuti et al 2003b).
Ethnoveterinary plants have been evaluated and found to have acaricidal (Habeeb 2010; Kalume et al 2012) and anthelmintic (Alvarez-Mercado et al 2015; Bizimenyera et al 2006; Gradé et al 2008; Innocent and Deogracious 2006) activities. The use of ethnoveterinary botanicals is sustainable and ecologically sound because the plants are locally available, potentially easy to be produced, locally processed and used by farmers themselves (Habeeb 2010). The plants are, therefore, a great potential for cheaper alternative to expensive modern medicine. A further advantage from the use of the compounds from the plants is that resistance develops slowly because there is usually a mixture of different active agents with different mechanisms of action (Habeeb 2010). Although ethnoveterinary knowledge can be passed on from one generation to the next (Wanzala et al 2012), such knowledge faces extinction because of the current rapid changes in communities (Nabukenya et al 2014a). Therefore, traditional knowledge of control of important disease vectors and diseases must be documented and conserved through systematic studies.
Karamoja Region is inhabited by pastoral communities, whose livelihoods are highly dependent on livestock (Mubiru 2010). Due to limited supply and high cost of conventional drugs, most Karamojong pastoralists (about 99%) utilise plant species and other indigenous practices for themselves and their livestock (Gradé et al 2007). Helminthosis and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) are significant constraints to animal production among pastoralist communities in Karamoja Region (Anderson and Robinson 2009). However, specific data with regard to ethnoveterinary practices in the control ticks and helminthosis in the region is still scarce. A previous ethnoveterinary study in region (Gradé et al 2009) covered various aspects of animal health, and therefore, produced very little ethnoveterinary information specific for control of ticks and helminthosis.
The objective of this study was, therefore, to identify and document indigenous practices for control of ticks and helminthosis in Karamoja Region, Uganda. The contributes to the knowledge base of ethnoveterinary practices and provide a basis for further pharmacological research, which presents an opportunity to establish alternative cost-effective, environmentally friendly and sustainable control strategies for tick and helminthosis.
This study was conducted in Karamoja Region between 2013 and 2014. The region is located in northeastern Uganda bordered by Kenya to the east and South Sudan to the north. It is characterised by a relatively flat savannah with some hills and mountains up to 3,800 m (Gradé et al 2007). The region is mostly semi-arid with low rainfall (average of 500 - 600 mm per annum). The Karamojong, numbering about 1,455,200, live in clustered settlement areas (manyattas) (UBOS 2014).
Three districts, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, and Napak, were conveniently selected for the study. In each district, one sub-county was randomly selected. Thirty groups of livestock keepers and 20 key informants were purposively selected with the help of community leaders and extension workers. The groups were distributed in 30 manyattas, 10 per district. The key informants were veterinary extension workers and kraal leaders.
The study utilised participatory rural appraisal tools (Chambers 1994). Data were collected by focus group discussions (FGDs), key informant interviews (KIIs), and field observations and visits to collect ethnobotanical specimens. The interviews followed a check list with predetermined topics. Data collection progressed only after consent was given by the participants. Discussions with the livestock keepers were conducted in the local language (Ngakarimojong) by a facilitator who guided the discussions, a community mobiliser, an interpreter and a recorder.
Information gathered included informants knowledge of local plants and practices used to manage ticks and helminthosis in livestock, local names of the plants, part used, mode of preparation and administration, and the farmers’ perception of their efficacy. The plant samples obtained were identified at National Museums of Kenya, East African Herbarium in Nairobi, Kenya and Makerere University Herbarium in Kampala, Uganda as previously described (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 2003). Vouchers are kept at the herbaria. Data was analyzed with frequency table from Microsoft Excel spread sheets. Any repeated responses were tallied.
A total of 307 participants in 30 groups were interviewed in the three districts. Of these, 187 (61%) were male and 120 (39%) were female. Interestingly, a considerable number of women in this pastoral area got involved in the interviews; reportedly due their active role in preparation and use of indigenous practices for small ruminants and calves in the manyattas. All the livestock keepers interviewed were above 25 years of age. Each group consisted of 9-12 livestock keepers.
A total of 14 plant species from 13 genera and 10 families are documented. The most common plant family was Fabaceae (4/14). Eleven plant species distributed in seven families were used to control ticks while six plant species which belong to six families were used for control of helminthosis. Three of the plant species were used in the control of both ticks and helminthosis. The informants acquired the traditional knowledge from their family ancestors. The plant species were not conserved but found in the wild, but within 8 km from the manyattas. A list of plant species along with their local, scientific and family names, and life forms is given in Tables 1.
|Table 1. Identity of plant species used by pastoralists in Karamoja Region of Uganda for managing ticks and helminthosis in livestock|
(voucher specimen number)
|Family name||Plant use (helminthosis/ticks)||Life form|
|Ekapangiteng*||Dalbergia melanoxylon Guill. & Perr. (CB-001)||Fabaceae||Helminthosis, ticks||Shrub|
|Ekadeli||Commiphora africana (A. Rich.) Engl. (CB-002)||Burseraceae||Ticks||Shrub|
|Eyelel||Acacia drepanolobium Sjostedt. (CB-003)||Fabaceae||Ticks||Shrub|
|Eminit||Acacia gerrardii Benth. (CB-004)||Fabaceae||Ticks||Shrub|
|Etaba||Nicotiana tabacum L. (CB-005)||Solanaceae||Ticks||Herb|
|Elira (neem)*||Azadirachta indica A.Juss (CB-006)||Meliaceae||Helminthosis, ticks||Tree|
|Eyome||Cucumis aculeatus (CB-007)||Cucurbitaceae||Ticks||Herb|
|Elemu||Adenium obesum (Forssk) Roem.& Schult (CB-008)||Apocynaceae||Ticks||Herb|
|Senikook||Boscia angustifolia A.Rich.Var.angustifolia (CB-009)||Capparaceae||Ticks||Herb|
|Ebuto||Tylosema fassoglensis (Schweinf) Torre.Hillc (CB-010)||Fabaceae||Ticks||Shrub|
|Ekorete||Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Delile (CB-011)||Balanitaceae||Helminthosis||Shrub|
|Ecailait||Albizia coriaria Welw. Ex Oliv. (CB-012)||Leguminosae||Helminthosis||Shrub|
|Lomabus||Amaranthus dubius Mart. Ex Thell. (CB-013)||Amaranthacea||Helminthosis||Herb|
|Lolemo*||Desmidorchis acutangula Decne. (CB-014)||Apocynaceae||Helminthosis, ticks||Shrub|
|*Plants used against both ticks and helminthosis|
Most frequently used plants to control ticks were Azadirachta indica A. Juss (39% respondent consensus) and Adenium obesum (Forssk) Roem. & Schult (23% consensus), which represented the families Meliaceae and Apocynaceae, respectively (Figure 1). Most frequently used plants to control helminthosis were Dalbergia melanoxylon Guill. & Perr. (47% consensus) and Azadirachta indica A. Juss (33% consensus), which represented the families Fabaceae and Meliaceae, respectively (Figure 2). Majority of the plant species used for control of ticks and helminthoses were in form of shrubs (57%) followed by herbs (36%), and trees (7%).
|Figure 1. Consensus amongst respondents on the use of plant species for control of ticks in Karamoja Region, Uganda|
|Figure 2. Consensus amongst respondents on the use of plant species for control of helminthosis in Karamoja Region, Uganda|
Table 2 shows the plant part used, preparation and method of application. The most widely used remedies were derived from fresh roots (43%) followed by leaves (22%), bark (17%), stems (9%), and fruits (9%). All the remedies were used as single ingredient. The methods of preparation of these botanicals comprised crushing and mixing with cold water to obtain solutions. Crushing was done between two rocks. Most recipes against ticks were applied topically on the body of the animal while those against helminthosis were administered per os. No disagreement was encountered about a particular plant use, preparation, and administration. The dosage was dependent on the species and size of the animal.
|Table 2. Ethnoveterinary botanical practices by pastoralists in Karamoja Region of Uganda in the control of ticks and helminthosis of livestock|
|Plant species (Scientific and local names)||Parts used||Method of preparation||Method of application|
|Dalbergia melanoxylon Guill. & Perr. (Ekapangiteng)||Roots and bark||Crush fresh roots and bark, mixed with water, and the liquid extract is used||Drenching animal|
|Commiphora africana (A. Rich.) Engl. (Ekadeli)||Roots||Fresh roots are crushed, mixed with water, and the liquid extract is used||Washing animal body with extract|
|Acacia drepanolobium Sjostedt. (Eyelel)||Roots||Fresh roots are crushed, mixed with water, and the liquid extract is used||Washing animal body and drenching with extract|
|Acacia gerrardii Benth. (Eminit)||Roots||Fresh leaves are crushed, mixed with water, and the extract is used||Washing animal body with extract|
|Nicotiana tabacum L. (Etaba)||Leaves||Fresh leaves are crushed, mixed with water, and the extract is used||Washing animal body with extract|
|Azadirachta indica A.Juss (Elira)*||Fruits||Fruits are dried, crushed into powder, and then boiled to extract an oil suspension which is used||Pour-on|
|Cucumis aculeatus (Eyome)||Fruits||Fruits are crushed, mixed with water to form solution which is used||Washing animal body with extract|
|Adenium obesum (Forssk) Roem.& Schult (Elemu)||Roots||A piece of fresh root tuber is cut, crushed, and mixed with water to obtain a solution which is used||Wash animal body with the solution|
|Boscia angustifolia A.Rich.Var.angustifolia (Senikook)||Roots||Fresh roots are crushed, mixed with water, and the liquid extract is used||Washing animal body with extract|
|Tylosema fassoglensis (Schweinf) Torre.Hillc (Ebuto)||Leaves and stem||Fresh leaves and stem are crushed together, mixed with water, and the liquid extract used||Washing animal body with extract|
|Desmidorchis acutangula Decne. (Lolemo)**||Leaves and stem||Fresh leaves and stem crushed together and the liquid part extracted||Wash body of animal with extract|
|Dalbergia melanoxylon Guill. & Perr. (Ekapangiteng)||Roots and bark||Crush fresh roots and bark, mixed with water, and the liquid extract is used||Drenching the animal|
|Azadirachta indica A.Juss (Elira)*||Leaves||Fresh leaves are crushed, mixed with water and the liquid extract is used||Drenching the animal|
|Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Delile (Ekorete)||Roots and bark||Fresh or dry roots and bark are crushed, mixed with water, and the liquid extract is used||Drenching the animal|
|Albizia coriaria Welw. Ex Oliv. (Ecailait)||Leaves and bark||Fresh leaves and bark crushed together, mixed with water and the liquid extract is used||Drenching the animal|
|Amaranthus dubius Mart. Ex Thell. (Lomabus)||Roots||Crush fresh roots, mixed water and the liquid extract is used||Drenching the animal|
|Desmidorchis acutangula Decne. (Lolemo)**||Roots||Fresh roots are crushed, mixed with water and the liquid extract is used||Drenching the animal|
|*While leaves of Neem tree were used in the
control of helminthosis, fruits from the plant were used against ticks.
**Leaves and stem of lolemo were used against ticks while roots were used against helminthosis
Most pastoralists (58%) indicated that the plants had good efficacy against ticks and helminthosis, while 42% mentioned moderate activity. None of the plants posed toxic effects when administered to the animals.
Daily hand picking of ticks as a method to control ticks was done by all pastoralists. Cattle crushes were scarce; therefore, the pastoralists restrained the animals in the open for handpicking of ticks. The pastoralists mentioned that hand picking of ticks had no monetary costs, does not require special skill or knowledge, and can be done at any time. However, it was difficult to restrain the animals for hand picking, and the practice caused bleeding and created wounds which often became infected. After picking, the ticks were destroyed in the fire or crushed between two stones. Bush burning in the dry season as a method to control ticks was done by all the interviewed pastoralists, with the aim to destroy ticks and their habitats (grass). It was easy to burn the bushes. The pastoralists believed the method was always effective since the ticks burrowed underground or climbed trees to escape the fire. Pastoralists in four groups mentioned they smeared cattle with mud to control ticks, while 12 groups used a mixture of ash and cattle urine, and sometimes together mixed with crushed tobacco leaves.
The information collected in this study is significant due the integral role that indigenous practices play in the control of livestock diseases in pastoral areas. Due to scarcity of veterinary services in the area and limited access of veterinary drugs, the pastoralists compliment the use of conventional medicine with ethnoveterinary practices.
In this study, plants in Fabaceae family were most commonly used, consistent with previous ethnobotanical studies in Uganda (Gradé et al 2009; Tabuti et al 2003a; Tabuti et al 2003b) and Ethiopia (Wondimu et al 2007). A vegetation study about Karamoja also showed that Fabaceae was one of the most plentiful families in the region (Thomas 1943).
Apart from Nicotiana tabacum, which was mentioned in a previous study (Gradé et al 2009), other plants are documented for the first time for their anti-tick and anthelmintic use in Karamoja Region. The plants Adenium obesum, Albizia coriaria, Azadirachta indica, Balanites aegyptiaca, Commiphora africana and Acacia species were reportedly used to control other livestock diseases or conditions in Karamoja (Gradé et al 2009). ‘Lolemo’ and ‘Eyome’ were reported in the previous study for control of intestinal parasites and lice, respectively, but were identified as Leonotis nepetfolta and Momordica foetida. This may indicate that some local plant names are given to more than one species. In the present study, the pastoralists used Albizia coriaria to control worms in livestock. Previous reports in Uganda showed that the related species Albizia anthelmintica could have anthelmintic properties (Ejobi et al 2007; Gradé et al 2008; Gradé et al 2009), reducing fecal egg counts and weight loss in lambs (Gradé et al 2008). Albizia coriaria is a multipurpose plant used for herbal medicines and wood for construction. However, the species needs to be conserved because it is rare and its abundance is declining (Tabuti and Mugula 2007).
Some of the plant species mentioned in the present study were earlier noted elsewhere in Uganda for control of helminthosis. For example, Azadirachta indica was used to control helminthosis in animals in Mpigi and Gulu districts of Uganda (Nabukenya et al 2014a). Nicotiana tabacum was used to control helminthosis of livestock in south-western Uganda (Lagu and Kayanja 2010), Mpigi and Gulu districts (Nabukenya et al 2014a), and Nakasongola district (Nalule et al 2011) in Uganda. Farmers in Bulamogi county of Uganda used Balanites aegyptiaca to control abdominal worms (Tabuti et al 2003b). Elsewhere, Nicotiana tabacum was used to control tick infestations by farmers in Cameroon (Nfi et al 2001). The plant species for control of ticks in the present study differed from reported in Acholi sub-region, Uganda (Opiro et al 2010). The plant species for control of helminthosis differed from those for control of internal parasites in the Lake Victoria Basin in Uganda (Ejobi et al 2007). This may indicate a high diversity of ethnobotanicals which could be candidates for the development of medicines for the livestock sector.
Some of the plants reported in the present survey were previously validated for their ant-tick activity through in vitro tests, for example, Azadirachta indica (Williams 1993) and Nicotiana tabacum (Choudhary et al 2004).
The livestock keepers claimed a moderate to good level of efficacy from the plants mentioned in control of ticks and helminthosis. The plant species especially those which showed the highest consensus need to be subjected to further pharmacological studies for their anti-tick and anthelmintic activity.
Karamojong pastoralists have much traditional knowledge for control of ticks and helminthosis. The pastoralists used 11 and 6 plant species for control of ticks and helminthosis, respectively. Four non-plant practices were also reported. Apart from Azadirachta indica, Nicotiana tabacum, and Balanites aegyptiaca, other plant species are reported for the first time in Uganda for control of ticks and helminthosis. These findings constitute an important contribution to the ethnoveterinary knowledge in control of ticks and helminthosis. The plants and practices observed in this study need to be evaluated in order to identify those which can be practically useful in the control of ticks and helminthosis in animals. Conservation measures should also be put in place for these plant species.
We thank the livestock keepers of Karamoja Region for the information presented in this paper. This study was supported by funds from the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) of Uganda under the Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services (ATAAS) project. We are grateful to the botanists at Makerere University, Uganda, and East African Herbarium, Kenya, for the assistance with identification and classification of the plants identified by the livestock keepers.
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest and this document is their original research work in Karamoja Region of Uganda, and no part of it has been submitted elsewhere for conference presentation or publication.
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Received 24 June 2015; Accepted 6 July 2015; Published 1 August 2015
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