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Ethnobotany Survey of the Wonegizi, Ziama Clan-Lofa County,Liberia

Kpadehyea JT1*,Fernando ES1,Tinio CE1,Buot IE2

1Forest Biological Sciences,College of Forestry and Natural Resources,University of the Philippines Los Baños,College Laguna,Philippines;

2Institute of Biological Sciences,College of Arts and Sciences,University of the Philippines Los Baños; and Faculty of Management and Development Studies,University of Philippines Open University,Los Baños,4031 Laguna,Philippines.

Received date: November 16,2015; Accepted date: December 11,2015; Published date: December 17,2015

Corresponding Author:
Kpadehyea JT
Tel: 231886080124
E-mail: [email protected]

Citation: Kpadehyea JT,Fernando ES,Tinio CE,et al. Ethnobotany Survey of the Wonegizi,Ziama Clan-Lofa County,Liberia. Electronic J Biol,11:4

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Background: Wonegizi landscape is one of the poorest areas in Liberia; lacks basic social services including road network, or inaccessible. The knowledge of indigenous medicine by these people has not being recorded separately, though some botanical research works have occurred. We conducted this research to record local knowledge on what plant resources are used daily for the wellbeing of Wonegizi people. The main objective is to draw attention to traditional practice of medication, providing a comprehensive list of indigenous medicinal plants of potential for the cure of diseases and wounds in Wonegizi, which will serve as the beginning of a systematic recording of medicinal plants in Ziama Clan separate from the previous works conducted in Liberia by western botanists.

Methods: The survey was conducted during May- June 2014 using photographic documentation of indigenous medicinal plants. The use of keyinformants, community consultations, transects and articles and books on West Africa flora were used.

Results: A total of 101 plants of medicinal potential were surveyed belonging to 48 families and 97 genera. Accessed plants are used for treatment of 11 categories of different diseases and disorder common in Wonegizi area. The majority recorded were cure to internal complications and others for external body parts. Trees were the primary source for treatments of diseases and ailments followed by herbs and liana/climbers.

Conclusion: The Wonegizi survey demonstrated significant role of unique traditional medicinal practitioners whose beliefs prohibited the collection of plant specimens during field work. They believe their ancestral spirits must be consulted on the exclusive collection of medicinal plant parts through sacrificing cattle. Hence, traditional medicine continues to be extremely important for the people of Wonegizi in meeting their basic health services.


Wonegizi; Ethnobotany; Indigenous knowledge; Health services; Recording.


Ethnomedicinal healing systems vary across cultures [1]. In Africa,70–80 percent of the vast majority of people still consult traditional medicinal practitioners [2]. Special families are responsible for traditional medication referred to as ‘Zoes’ in Wonegizi community. The introduction of synthetic medicine has never replaced the indigenous healing system,and traditional healers continue to be consulted for a variety of reasons in Africa [3].

There have been several botanical studies conducted in parts of Liberia beginning in the 1960s,viz. national forests of Liberia (Sapo National Park,Proposed and Protected Areas of Liberia including Wonegizi,Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties) [4-7]. Yet many parts of the country remain unexplored exclusively for medicinal plants. In fact,the idea of plant collection is poorly understood by the country side,let alone their medicinal plants.

In general,this study sought to showcase the significant role of Traditional Medicinal Practitioners (TMPs) of Wonegizi in providing sustainable fundamental healthcare services for the community wellbeing.

Specifically,this study aimed to:

1. Assess,classify,and record indigenous medicinal plants (MPs) and their traditional uses using local,common,and scientific names,after comparing specimens with field guides and manuals.

2. Make recorded information available to the community,local and national government,and all concerned stakeholders for decision making in support of indigenous medicinal plants conservation.

Material and methods

Site description

Wonegizi landscape is located in Ziama Clan,Zorzor District,Lofa County- Liberia,and is host to the Wonegizi Proposed Protected Area (WPPA) (Figure 2 ). It has a population of 40,000 people distributed in 16 major towns and 47 satellite villages. The landscape is proposed suitable conservation area due to its diverse biodiversity presence [8]. It is located in the northwest of the country and covers 37,979 hectares of forestland that hosts remnants of African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis africana),and other threatened and endangered species. Wonegizi forms a trans-boundary conservation corridor between Liberia and Guinea. The area is recognized internationally as key biodiversity conservation hotspot,and includes Liberia’s highest peak,Mt Wutevi (1,424m) [9] (Figure 1 and 2).


Figure 1: Map of Ziama and WPPA (FDA GIS Division 2013) [10].


Figure 2: Towns surveyed around WPPA (FDA GIS Division 2014) [11].

The landmark contains the lone intact example of transitional vegetative type between lowland and montane rainforest in Liberia [11,12]. Liberia has a tropical climate; average temperature ranging from 70°F (21°C),with relatively small variations between day and night,and never exceeding 37°C. Its average rainfall is 170 inches (4.320mm) inland including Ziama land [13].

Ethnography of Ziama-Wonegizi

Ziama Clan was defined based on tradition,and cultural beliefs. There are only two major groups (Nephews and Uncles) of people in the Clan. Majority of people in Ziama belong to the nephew group called ‘’darbey’’. This group occupies 11 of the 16 major towns. The towns are Amah,Barwen,Barzewen,Boi,Borkeza,Kpassagizia (Lokpo),Konia,Luyeama,Nikebouzu,Zeleemai and Zulor. Kpassagizia (Lokpo Massa) is the most senior brother town to the 11 by virtue of the Ziama tradition,and not the history for which town was built first; nor is the largest. The role of Lokpo Massa in Ziama tradition is to provide traditional medical security. In other words,Kpassagizia is the lead herbalist town referred to as the Zoe town. Lokpo Massa is assisted by the 10 nephew towns that refer to Lokpo as “dea-zayzay”,big-brother. The name Lokpo Massa is exclusive title called by the uncle towns,and not others when they refer to the people of Kpassagizia. They are direct nephews to Ziggida (Vesseh),which proxies for Wozi (Loleye).

The second segment consists of the 5 uncle towns,which are responsible for the traditional administration of the clan. They are Dorzenilor,Warkesu,Wozi,Vetesu,and Ziggida. Vesseh administers on behalf of Loleye (senior uncle town) on traditional matters.

Ethnobotanical survey

A total of 46 well-informed indigenous medicinal practitioners (18 females and 28 males) between the ages of 30 and 80 participated from the 8 towns as key informants along with our team (Table 1). The towns’ people chose herbalists based on experience and commitment to good services for their community. These men and women played important role in society apart from being herbalist. Some informants were senior local citizens,educators,traditional midwifes and etc (Table 2). Data were collected through interview,transects,consultation,participation and disclosure.

No Name Sex Age Occupation & Position Institution
1 James T. Kpadehyea M 47 Student &
Survey Team Leader
University of the Philippines Los Baños
2 Francis K. Kpadeh M 55 Forester & Asst. Manager Forestry Development Authority
3 KokulokuSali M 45 Forester; Conservation Zone Warden Wonegizi Proposed Protected Area (WPPA) Forestry Development Authority

Table 1: Team of recorders.

No Name Sex Age Occupation & Position Town
1 GayduoTaloma F 55 Chairlady;  herbalist Kpassagizia
2 KebbehYanquoi F 45 Herbalist Kpassagizia
3 FlomoYougie M 40 Herbalist Kpassagizia
4 DuduZaza M 73 Herbalist/Elder Kpassagizia
5 WoikpadehKpabee M 35 Herbalist Kpassagizia
6 ForkpaZaza M 38 Herbalist/Asst. town Chief Kpassagizia
7 KruboN’yanvee F 73 Herbalist/Zoe-elder Kpassagizia
8 Abraham Kolubah M 32 Herbalist Kpassagizia
9 Alexander Oua M 41 Escort Kpassagizia
10 KolubahMonzubah M 59 Herbalist/Zoe elder Warkesu
11 KebehSeveh F 55 Herbalist Warkesu
12 LarwuoGbarwolee F 35 Herbalist Warkesu
13 Joseph T. Daniels M 47 Herbalist/Town Chief Warkesu
14 MulbaZumo Gain M 39 Herbalist/ builder Warkesu
15 KolubahDorbor M 49 Herbalist/Zoe Warkesu
16 GayduoBolowolee F 67 Herbalist/Women Zoe Ziggida
17 ZoebadehGbolumah M 76 Herbalist/Elder Ziggida
18 Korboi-yallahYoungor F 64 Herbalist Ziggida
19 GayflorVamuwu M 50 Herbalist/Former Town Chief Ziggida
20 MulbahSakwe M 36 Herbalist Ziggida
21 TetelmaZaza F 54 Herbalist Ziggida
22 KruboSuah F 36 Herbalist Ziggida
23 TarnueVelewuzeye M 51 Herbalist Ziggida
24 ZoeballahForkpa M 60 Herbalist Barwen
25 Kpadeh-koi M 43 Herbalist Barwen
26 KebbehLeayai F 59 Herbalist/Women Zoe Barwen
27 KolubahZubah M 53 Herbalist Barwen
28 KruboYourwuo F 61 Herbalist Barwen
30 ZubayeaKolor M 42 Herbalist A-mah
31 ForkpaPumah M 55 Herbalist/Zoe A-mah
32 ZoekpadehZoewei M 51 Herbalist A-mah
33 ForkpayeaZokubah M 61 Herbalist/Grand-zoe A-mah
34 MawoleiSali F 43 Herbalist/traditional mid-wife Nikebouzu
35 YamahKolu F 64 Herbalist/Women Zoe Nikebouzu
36 GayflorBoiboi M 54 Herbalist/Hunter Nikebouzu
37 TokpaKollie M 63 Herbalist/Elementary Teacher Nikebouzu
38 Oliver Zaza M 57 Herbalist/Chief hunter Vetesu
39 KebbehYouwu F 54 Herbalist/Women Chief Vetesu
40 KruboGonoe F 47 Herbalist/Town’s mid-wife Vetesu
41 Oldman-Forkpayea M 79 Herbalist/Land Lord Vetesu
42 TarnueKezelee M 40 Herbalist/Asst. Town Chief Dorzenilor
43 YamahGbatolo F 59 Herbalist/Mid-wife Dorzenilor
44 SorborKezelee F 48 Herbalist Dorzenilor
45 ForkpaViewu M 44 Herbalist/Nephew Dorzenilor
46 MulbahGayflor M 38 Herbalist Dorzenilor
47 Mama Samah F 62 Herbalist/Chairlady Dorzenilor

Table 2: Informants of Wonegizi indigenous medicinal plants.

Medicinal plants survey

Respecting Ziama tradition,we were not allowed to collect specimens in physical form. They believe this could be a bridge between them and their ancestral spirits who gave them the power to use the plant resources. A way of obtaining medicinal plants specimens required sacrifice with cattle to ancestral spirits,and approval through the lead Zoe,who performs the oracles of the land. Besides,medicinal plants or plant parts were not seen on both Borkeza and Konia general market-grounds for sale during the research. Informants told us that consultation with TMPs in Ziama was at the homes of “zoes’’.

Medicinal plants were identified by touched from informants,which in most cases was captured through photograph. They were identified and initially authenticated by comparing [14-16]. Finally,plants surveyed were compared to specimens stored at the ArcelorMittal’s temporary herbarium in Yekepa,for their authentication. Dr. William D. Hawthorne,an Oxford University Professor who did lot of recent collections in West Africa also made huge collections in Liberia stored in Yekepa. Plants surveyed around 8 towns of Ziama provide treatments against diseases in Ziama. Majority medicinal plants recorded were used as same treatment against diseases in the 8 towns. This notably indicated that medicinal plants recorded were the most effective and intensive used in the landscape (Table 2).

Results and Discussion

Medicinal plants surveyed and family with highest count

The survey began in Kpassagizia on 5 May 2014. Kpassagizia provides traditional medical assistance to Ziama,by virtue of the practice and norm of their ancestral kinsmen. Traditional medical fees are very minimal,if paid. Our initial plan was to work with one female and two male herbalists. The women herbalists didn’t send their selected for the first day in keeping with the respect and dignity of their culture. The men were to start out first to soften the bush before women enter. On May 6,all three women herbalists joined their male counterparts to help us with the recording of plant resources they worked with. The women general focus was on birth attended traditional medication and children treatment. Most traditional medicines recorded for treatment of illnesses that affected their children were mentioned by women; though they were also kin on menstrual disorders.

The people of Kpassagizia and the 7 other towns worked with our team in good faith; acknowledging that plant parts were forbidden to be extracted during field exercises. Total medicinal plants documented amounted to 101 species belonging to 48 families and 97 genera. Species amount per individual family with their respective local name,and parts used are mentioned in Table 3.

Botanical name Family Wonegizi name (Vernacular name) Parts used/Usage
Acacia kamerunensisGand. Fabaceae tarnagie Leaves: chew; cures leprosy; cancer
Adeniarumicifolia Engl. & Harms, Passifloraceae terrboyalui Leaves: boil, keep extract in mouth 3-5 minutes, cures toothache; drunk to cure swollen neck
Aframomumatewae Lock &J.B.Hall. Zingiberaceae ponitorfoi Leaves: collect 4 shoots, smoke cake plus tea spoon full of melegueta pepper seeds; pound,  put in cone of leaves, pour water, put droplets in nose to heal epilepsy
Zingiberaceae taakeezagie Fruit, Seeds: chew 4 seeds 3X daily, cures sore-throat; headache; fresh-cold; spice
AgelaeaparadoxaGilg, Connaraceae gaasava-yansai Leaves: cure for snake bite
Ageratum conyzoides(L.) L., Asteraceae beleezaawee Leaves: crush, apply on skin disease; snake bite; leprosy
Albiziaadianthifolia (Schum.) W.Wight Fabaceae kpakpaboigie Bark: boil, decoction  drunk to cure cough
Albiziazygia (DC.) J.F.Macbr. Fabaceae gbanangie Leaves: chew, cures heartache; for ear infection, add Combretumcuspidatum young leaves, roast and squeeze to put droplets in affected ear
Alchorneacordifolia(Schumach. &Thonn.) Müll.Arg.,   Euphorbiaceae zokai Leaves: boil, serve decoction to cure chest pain; cough;
Pith: chew pith for cough
AmphimaspterocarpoidesHarms, Fabaceae kozee Bark: roast bark, steam foot fungus ; cancer
Ananascomosus(L.) Merr. Bromeliaceae kevegie Fruit: boil when green, serve decoction to cure yellow jaundice; typhus
Anchomanesdifformis (Blume) Engl, , Araceae gorvialukpoi Rhizome: roast to steam foot fungus
AnthonothamacrophyllaP.Beauv. Fabaceae bebee Leaves: chew young leaves against amoebic dysentery; diarrhea
Artocarpusaltilis(Parkinson ex F.A.Zorn) Fosberg Moraceae weeteyangului Roots: boil, serve to cure hypertension
Leaves: boil, serve decoction to cure diabetes; typhus
Aspiliaafricana(Pers.) C.D.Adams Asteraceae wukugie Leaves: crush, place on baby head, joins skull bones; extract put in children ear to heal ear problems
AspleniumnidusL. Drynariaceae yanfulargie; sevelagie Leaves: collect 4 each from different plant or 3 for man and woman respectively; boil; keep extract cool for bath to remedy infection
Asystasiagangetica (L.) T.Anderson, Acanthaceae pelewobai Leaves: cook fresh leaves with palm-oil to be eaten by woman who just gave birth to recover from profuse bleeding; heal internal sore
Fruit: patch, add palm-oil, eat to stop chest pain
Axonopuscompressus(Sw.) P.Beauv. Poaceae teteforfoi Plant: wash, roast to massage  fractured leg; arm
Bertieraspicata(C.F.Gaertn.) K.Schum. Rubiaceae kpuvuluma-woligie; zeagbengan Leaves: boil, drink extract to remedy constipation
Blighiawelwitschii(Hiern) Radlk, Sapindaceae poai Leaves: crush in bucket of water, bath with decoction to cure epilepsy
BrideliagrandisPierre ex Hutch. Euphorbiaceae kuwui Bark: boil, serve decoction to cure ulcer
Seeds: add 1 teaspoon melegueta pepper dust to a liter of water, serve decoction  4 times daily to cure typhus
BrillantaisiaowariensisP.Beauv. Acanthaceae koalameelefai Leaves: chew young leaves, remedy to poison
Fabaceae kpebelee Bark: boil, wash feet 3-4 times daily to treat fungus; drink decoction twice as worm treatment.
Caladium bicolor (Alton) Vent.
Araceae gaybadeh-lefai; gaybadeh-boutegie Rhizome: pound with Musangacecrpioidesbark to treat skin cancer
Callichiliasubsessilis(Benth.) Stapf,        Apocynaceae gillehwolo-worloryeze-yengie Root: add water or palm-wine,  serve extract as remedy to constipation; gonorrhea
Canariumschweinfurtii Engl. Burseraceae savawului Bark: pound, apply to cure leprosy;  ringworm
Canna indicaL Cannaceae gor-lor-leleh Shoot: crush,  add water;  sieve to serve half glass of extractive to remedy fever; boil, serve to cure jaundice
Capsicum frutescensL. Solanaceae kezegie Fruits: crush, apply on affected rheumatism area
Meliaceae kovei Bark: chew inner bark, place on fresh wound, stops bleeding; bacteria repellant
CarpolobialuteaG.Don, Polygalaceae sakewulugie; dervervalakpakugie Root: roast, chew to cure heartache; chest pain
Cercestisafzelii Schott Araceae berbergie Stem: tie hip of  woman in labor-pain, prolongs  delivery for hospital service
Leaves: chew young leaves to treat cough
CissusproductaAfzel., Vitaceae saliwuloba- lefai Stem: cut stem into pieces and add lime fruit to boil, give extract as remedy to poison.
ClerodendrumformicarumGürke Verbenaceae arwolai Leaves: crush,  add water, drop extract in patient’s mouth to cure liver infection
CombretumcuspidatumPlanch. exBenth., Combretaceae kpoloyaingie-sai Leaves: boil, serve decoction to cure thrush; diarrhea
CostusaferKer Gawl., Costaceae torfoi Inflorescence: pound, add water,  drop on eye to cure cataract;
Stem: chew stem, boil, drink decoction to cure malaria, yellow jaundice; pound inflorescence mixed with melegueta pepper to cure piles; for gonorrhea and all internal infections treatment, add  Costus spec. stem to Dracaena praetermissa roots, 7 rep  fruits of Capsiumfrutenscens, Adeniarumicifolia stem, Zingiberofficinalerhizome and pour wine to drink extract
CraterispermumcaudatumHutch. Rubiaceae gbengan; yemeedoi Bark: pound to dust for sore or cut treatment
Leaves: boil, serve decoction against yellow jaundice
Cyathulaprostrata(L.) Blume, Amaranthaceae darlagie, derlagie Leaves: boil leaves, serve extracts to cure fever,  yellow jaundice, heartache, thrush and to initiate normal menstrual cycle
DalbergiasaxatilisHook.f.           Fabaceae kpelegogo-boi Leaves: crushed leaves to apply on boil for pus removal
Dendrobium sp., Orchidaceae gulubalama-boblogie Leaves: crush, apply extractive on boil for fast relief
Desmodiumadscendens (Sw.) DC., Fabaceae dorbor-leyangie Leaves: crush, add water, serve extract to cure cough, asthma; boil, serve extract to remedy dysentery and ulcer;  dry plant, boil as tea for children having cough
Dichrostachyscinerea(L.) Wight &Arn., Fabaceae dadai Bark: tie the fibrous bark in climber rope as snake repellent
Arecaceae torkpoi; dorwului; tuwuwului Cabbage: grand,  apply on fresh sore as anti-bacteria
Eleusineindica (L.) Gaertn. Poaceae teteforfor-zenai; dovogui; etelorlevegui Plant: boil, drink decoction against yellow jaundice; typhus
Englerinagabonensis(Engl.) Balle, Loranthaceae teneegui Leaves: boil, wash head against severe headache
Entadagigas(L.) Fawc. &Rendle, Fabaceae tuwuvegui Sap: sore eye medicine
Entandrophragmacylindricum(Sprague) Sprague Meliaceae kpetelegui Bark: chew inner bark, add palm-wine for sexual stimulant
Entandrophragma utile (Dawe& Sprague) Sprague Meliaceae kpetelee-kpoigie Bark: chew inner bark, add palm-wine for sexual stimulant; potential
Eremomastaxspeciosa(Hochst.) Cufod.  Acanthaceae borlor-bordai Leaves: eat to stop poison
Moraceae nyanlai-wolegie; koliwoligie Leaves: crush, add water, serve decoction to remedy worm, ring-worm and skin cancer
FicussurForssk., Moraceae nyanlai-boigie Leaves: crush, add water, serve decoction to remedy worm; add Milicia spp. to cure chronic skin disease
Fleroyastipulosa (DC.) Y.F.Deng, Rubiaceae porwor-wului Bark: pour water,  palm-wine, serve decoction to cure ulcer
Funtumiaafricana (Benth,) Stapf, Apocynaceae borlorworleh-zyneh’ Bark: soaked in water,  extract drunk to cure  diarrhea
Latex: drunk to stop prolonged menstrual cycle
Garcinia kola Heckel, Guttiferae doloyangui Bark: extracts from bark cures pressure
Fruit: aphrodisiac, cures pressure
Root: cure for yellow jaundice
GeophilaafzeliiHiern Rubiaceae koawee Plant: wash,  fry with red-oil, serve 3Xs  every 4hrs to cure heartache, eat fresh after washing; add palm-wine, treat jaundice, chronic gonorrhea;  serve as appetizer;
GongronemalatifoliumBenth. Apocynaceae yeneyai-yensai Sap: drunk by baby-ma, to instill healthy breast-milk
HarunganamadagascariensisLam. ex Poir.
Guttiferae kpodogui Leaves: crush to cure ring worm; eat against dysentery
Bark: scrape, soak in water, serve decoction to cure yellow jaundice
Sap: applied to cure ringworm
Heisteriaparvifolia Sm. Olacaceae kpada-wee Flower: eat to relief headache; cough and cold
Ipomoea involucrataP. Beauv. Convovulaceae zowei-kpolor-yansai Leaves: chew to cure cough; steam against rheumatism;
Root: add Aframomumroot plus water,  palm wine, extract drunk to instill good menstrual cycle
Landolphiadulcis (Sabine ex G.Don) Pichon, Apocynaceae kinnegui Leaves: boil with Pterocarpus spec. bark, serve decoction to cure dysentery; STI;
Macarangaheterophylla(Müll. Arg.) Müll.Arg. Euphorbiaceae zea-lakolegui; wonsamee-gbaloi Leaves: tie 3 bundles, boil, serve extract to the pregnant to relief pain from hot liquid that disturbs fetus
MacarangahurifoliaBeille, Euphorbiaceae darkolegui Leaves: boil, serve extract to initiate sperm fertility; chew young Macaranga and Microdesmis against cough
Maesobotryabarteri (Baill.) Hutch. Euphorbiaceae doloyangui Bark: pound with clay, produce chalk to treat high-fever, malaria, chest pain; free lungs by eating fruits
ManniophytonfulvumMull.Arg. Euphorbiaceae foinworgui Laves: eat to cure dysentery; ulcer
Mareyamicrantha(Benth.) Mull.Arg. Euphorbiaceae wanawanagui Leaves: cure snake bite; cook, add salt to kill worms in stomach
Massulariaaccuminata(G.Don) Bullock ex Hoyle, Rubiaceae dorbor-lee Bark: pound with melegueta pepper, rub to cure jaundice
Leaves: boil, extract drunk for malaria cure; tea
MicrodesmiskeayanaJ.Lėonard Pandaceae nikee Leaves: eat to cure dysentery
Miliciaregia (A.Chev.) C.C.Berg, Moraceae semagui; kodawului Bark: pound,  mix with Ageratum,  white clay rub externally to treat leprosy, severe skin disease; chew cambium as aphrodisiac
Mimosa pudicaL. Fabaceae zenatavazui/ Plant: boil, serve to cure thrush
MomordicacissoidesPlanch. exBenth. Cucurbitaceae golowopokpoloi/
Leaves: crush, add water, drunk to treat tongue trouble; treat severe headache
MonodoratenuifoliaBenth. Annonaceae vornehgului Bark: chew inner bark, put wine, drunk as aphrodisiac; add Trichiliabark, pealed Costusstem and Aframomumroot, boil with palm-wine, drunk for normal menstrual cycle
Morindamorindoides(Baker) Milne-Redh. Rubiaceae suolehmia; kojolobo Leaves: boil, serve extract to cure worms; jaundice; body pain; malaria and fever
Musa x paradisiacaL.,
Musaceae yemeegai Leaves: slash shoot, add water, cures cholera
Musangacecropioides R.Br. ex Tedlie, Cecropiaceae tozugui; gozugui Bark: Chew as cough cure; heartache
MussaendaelegansSchumach. &Thonn. Rubiaceae terzyneh-la-boi-gui Leaves: add Sclera spec. crush, serve decoction to stop vomiting
MussaendaerythrophyllaSchumach. &Thonn. Rubiaceae terzyneh-labelle-boi-gui Leaves: add Sclera spec.  crush, serve decoction to stop vomiting 
MyrianthuslibericusRendle Cecropiaceae gbaloii Leaves:  boil, serve decoction to induce blood
Newbouldialaevis (P.Beauv.) Seem. Bignoniaceae torloi; yootefai’ Leaves: crush, apply extract on piles; chew leaves to cure dysentery; slice, fry with palm-oil, eaten by barren for pregnancy
Newtoniaaubrevillei (Pellegr.) Keay, Fabaceae keleigului Bark: chew as aphrodisiac
Octoknema borealis Hutch. &Dalziel Olacaceae korlorquillegui Bark: add water, served extract against constipation
Palisotahirsuta (Thunb.) K.Schum. Commelinaceae phonigie; foenigui Stem: extract cures gonorrhea; ear ailments and all that affect the head
PentaclethramacrophyllaBenth. Fabaceae kovelei Bark: extract served to cure trash; skin cancer
Petersianthusmacrocarpus (P.Beauv.) Liben, Lecythidaceae teveagui Bark: boil, serve decoction against worms; ulcer; thrush
Phyllanthusmuellerianus (Kuntze) Exell Phyllanthaceae woniwolo-zaingui Leaves: crush, add water to treat fire burnt
PortulacaoleraceaL., Portulaccaceae borborlor-quee plant: roasted to massage baby to remedy ribs pain
PterocarpussantalinoidesDC.      Fabaceae kpatoi Bark: extract cures dysentery; ulcer; worms
Pycnanthusangolensis(Welw.) Warb. Myristicaceae kporsoi Bark: boil, serve decoction to cure dysentery; ulcer;  worms
RauvolfiavomitoriaAfzel. Apocynaceae kalazulugui Leaves: crush fresh, squeeze to treat snake-bite; Bark: dry, pound with clay, rub to cure leprosy
Ricinodendronheudelotti (Baill.) Heckel, Euphorbiaceae kpoloi Bark: add to bark of Distemonanthusbenthaminus,  boil to steam skin cancer
RutideadepuisiiDe Wild. Rubiaceae kolu-lefai; lorweifazai’ Leaves: crush fresh leaves, apply to abate bleeding
ScleriaboiviniiSteud. Cyperaceae garvai Sap: drop sap to cure sore-eye
Sherbourniacalycina (G.Don) Hua. Rubiaceae kenegbowuloi Fruit: boil, strain, drink 1 glass of decoction every 3hrs against yellow jaundice; keep in mouth  5-8 minutes after every 3hrs to cure toothache; gum swollen
SmeathmanniapubescensSol. ex R.Br. Passifloraceae zolowo-darkai Leaves: boil, serve extract to remedy thrush
SterculiatragacanthaLindl. Malvaceae kovagui Leaves: boil dry leaves, steam patient with rheumatism
TerminaliaivorensisA.Chev. Combretaceae bazee Leaves: boil, keep extract in mouth for 5-10 minutes to cure tooth bacteria
TetraceraaffinisHutch. Dilleniaceae dopawongui Sap: cut stem, drop sap on eye, cures sore-eye
Leaves: crush Aframomium  shoot and Tetraceraleaves, drop extract on cataract affected eye as cure
Tetrorchidiumdidymostemum(Baill.)Pax&K.Hoffm. Euphorbiaceae selewoligui; sevewoligui Leaves: boil, serve extract to stop constipation
Tiliacoraleonensis (G.F.Scott-Eliott) Diels Menispermaceae kpein-yansai Stem: slash, add water or palm-wine, drunk to cure yellow jaundice; kidney problems
Tremaorientalis(L.) Blume Ulmaceae wonboi Bark: chew inner bark to cure hopping cough; TB and chest pain
Trichiliamonadelpha(Thonn.) J.J. de Wilde Meliaceae zaawoi; zakpanigui Bark: scrip, boil with Xylopiaaethiopicabark, serve decoction to induce fertility in woman 
Vismiaguineensis(L.) Choisy Guttiferae kpodo-senai Leaves: boil, serve extracts to cure thrush
Bark: thrush medicine
Zanthoxylumgilletii(De Wild.) P.G.Waterman Rutaceae voai Bark: chew to cure cough; TB
Leaves: boil with bark, keep warm extract in mouth for 3-8 minutes to cure toothache; swollen gum

Table 3: Ethnomedicinal plants of Wonegizi.

The family Fabaceae had the highest count (14 species),equivalent to 13.86% of plants recorded. Two reasons responsible for Fabaceae topping could be that the family is large,and are common in various vegetation types visited. This commonality allowed easy access as areas visited were informants’ chosen sites. Fabaceae was followed by Euphorbiaceae and Rubiaceae each at 9 species (8.91%). Apocynaceae family was the third with 5 species (4.95%),closely followed by Meliaceae and Moraceae each at 4 species (3.96%).

Out of 101 species surveyed in various habits,trees (50) stood at 49.5%. This indication further raised conservation concerns as the remaining fragmented forests continue to be destroyed due to competing interests in forest resource use. Concomitantly,forest resource usages were shifting cultivation,logging,mining,gathering,hunting and these furthered by natural occurrences. Herbs and lianas/climbers were the second most mentioned. There were 19 cases of each. Shrubs,Grass and Epiphytes were among the least mentioned,with six,four and three respectively (Table 4). Wonegizi people high depend on Trees for medicine (Table 4). The mentioned are mega representative of the bulk to be surveyed. In effect,there is a greater need to form common ground between various interests in forest resource use,taking in to account the result of this exercise conducted in one month. Trees are the most important source of good health in Wonegizi.

Category Tree Shrub Liana/Climber Herb Grass Epiphyte Grand Total
Total 50 6 19 19 4 3 101

Table 4: Habit of medicinal plants recorded.

Bio-medical terms for diseases with symptoms treated by tmps in wonegizi

There were 11 categories of sicknesses with attended descriptions in the Ziama Lorma that roam Wonegizi. The most common and devastating was malaria,followed by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),and tuberculosis (Table 5).

Category Of Sicknesses Bio-Medical Names Local Term (ZiamaLorma)
Fevers Ordinary fever
Malaria (***)
Urinal-genital problems Sexual debility
Menstrual disorders
Frequent urination
STD (**)
towozaa-zebeh; buzaa-zebeh
kalayan-kpoigie; kalayankolegieelewolehzu
Geh-so-ga-pa’ zeebeh
Respiratory Diseases Common cold
Chest pain
TB (*)
zee-ma-bolo kor-zorgie
Oral and dental disorders Toothache
Mouth sore
Skeletal-muscular pain and swelling Body ache
Head ache
Ear, Nose, Throat problems Earache
Throat sore
Nose bleeding
Cardio-vascular disorders Cardiac
Blood pressure
Mental disorders Mental tonic
Dermatological disorders Wounds
Skin rushes
Ring worm
Gastro-intestinal disorders Diarrhea
Stomach ache
Intestinal worms
Others Diabetes
Eye problems

Table 5: Disease indicators suggested by Wonegizi TMPs and corresponding bio-medical terms.

Plant part(s) used as medicine

Plant parts utilized showed that leaves were the most applied,and mostly prepared at fresh though. This was followed by Bark,Root,Fruit,Sap,and Stem respectively (Table 6). Although all parts of the plants were used in fresh form,it was also reported that all,depending on the sickness,were used in dried forms either pounded to obtain desire results .

Part Plant Flower Fruit Stem Rhizome Root Bark Leaves Sap Seed Others
132 counts
5 1 6 6 3 7 36 57 6 2 3

Table 6: Different parts of plant used.


TMPs of Wonegizi still remain the most easily accessed and consulted in providing health services to their communities. Survey result showed that the people are heavily dependent on indigenous medicinal plants for their survival. This is critical,due to the numerous competing interests for natural resource use; flora being among the highest through logging and shifting cultivation as further fragmentation medium. Few elders knowledgeable in medicinal plant use are willing to teach the youths who are not willing due to modern exposure. Hence,conservation concerns for the wealthy knowledge and attended plant resources.


The authors are thankful to Wonegizi community for their vast indigenous knowledge on medicinal plants they provided for the makeup of this manuscript. We also thank Mr. Francis Kpadeh and Kokuloku Sali for their help during field work in Wonegizi.

Nothing would have been realized on data collection without the timely intervention and financial support from ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) Biodiversity Conservation Programme. The authors are,therefore thankful especially to Wing-yunn Crawley who coordinates the Programme.

Finally,we wish to thank Forestry Department Chairman,Professor John T Woods,University of Liberia,for his tireless effort in consolidating our study at the University of the Philippines,Los Banos.


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