Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Case Report
Case Series
Media and News
Notice of Retraction
Original Article
Review Article
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Case Report
Case Series
Media and News
Notice of Retraction
Original Article
Review Article
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Case Report
Case Series
Media and News
Notice of Retraction
Original Article
Review Article
View/Download PDF

Translate this page into:

Original Article

Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used by the indigenous people of Ilorin, North Central, Nigeria

Department of Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, Nigeria

*Corresponding author: Lateef Ariyo Adeniran, Department of Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, Nigeria.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, transform, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

How to cite this article: Adeniran LA, Akindele O. Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used by the indigenous people of Ilorin, North Central, Nigeria. Med India. doi: 10.25259/MEDINDIA_26_2023



The medicinal plant continues to play a key role in primary health-care delivery in Nigeria. It is important to preserve the indigenous knowledge of the use of these plants in the treatment of different ailments. In this study, a total of 46 informants were interviewed using a structured questionnaire administered within six randomly selected locations in Ilorin, Kwara State, North Central, Nigeria.

Materials and Methods:

Demographic data, information on the medicinal plants, medicinal parts, method of preparation, administration, and uses were obtained.


Fifty-five species belonging to 53 genera in 40 families were identified to be useful in the treatment of various ailments such as gonorrhea, yellow fever, measles, convulsion, fracture, skin diseases, piles, typhoid, and diabetes. The most frequently used families are Solanaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Meliaceae, Rubiaceae, and Malvaceae. Herbal remedies were either prepared from dry or freshly collected plants, while the traditional solvents of choice included water, pure honey, alcohol, and aqueous extract from fermented maize. The most common method of preparation is decoction, followed by infusion; others include powder, pastry, and ointment. The leaves are the most common plant part used for herbal preparation.


Residents in the study areas found traditional medicine potent and cheaper compared to orthodox medicine. Conscientious efforts should be made to conserve medicinal plant genetic components for future use, and they should be exploited for the production of new drugs.


Ethnobotanical survey
Medicinal plants
Health care


A medicinal plant is any plant which one or more of its organs contains substances that can be used for therapeutic purposes, or which are precursors for the synthesis of useful drugs.[1] Medicinal plants contain phytochemicals which are biologically active, naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants, which provide health benefits for humans.[2] They protect plants from disease and damage and contribute to the plant’s color, aroma, and flavor. Furthermore, they protect plant cells from environmental hazards such as pollution, stress, drought, ultra-violent exposure, and pathogenic attack.[3] Phytochemicals may be secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, terpenes, flavonoids, saponins, phenolic, and glycosides.[4]

Secondary plant metabolites have biological properties such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, modulation of detoxification enzymes, and stimulation of the immune system, decrease of platelet aggregation and modulation of hormone metabolism and anticancer property.

The use of medicinal plants as remedies is common and widespread in Nigeria. Olajide et al.[5] reported that Nigerian vegetations are naturally endowed with arrays of floristic composition of different plant forms including trees, shrubs, herbs, and other non-wood forest resources. Within the natural forest abound several valuable non-timber resources of edible and highly nutritious plants whose fruits, twigs, barks, roots, gum, latex, or dyes are of medicinal value, these diversities available in tropical rainforest represent renewable resources for food and medicine if well managed.[6,7] Several workers have conducted ethnobotanical surveys among various tribes of the African continent and the different part of the world in search of plants with antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.[8]

Ethnobotanical surveys are important to understand the social-cultural and economic factors influencing ideas and actions concerning health and illness and to get information on the type of diseases and health problems prevalent among the people of a particular locality. Such studies, as suggested by Buwa-Komoren et al.,[9] may help to provide the basic health-care services needed to improve health challenges of the rural population.

Modern pharmacology looks for one active ingredient and seeks to isolate it to the exclusion of all the others; most of the research that is done on plants continues to focus on identifying and isolating active ingredients, rather than studying the medicinal properties of whole plants.[10] Herbalists, however, consider that the power of a plant lies in the interaction of all its ingredients. Plants used as medicines offer synergistic interactions between ingredients, both known and unknown.[11]

Furthermore, many medicinal plants are gradually becoming endangered due to over-exploitation by people in the environment. Thus, there is a need to conserve these plants, and document their role and decrease the erosion of medicinal plant use by different societies. This study seeks to study and identify various medicinal plant uses in Ilorin, Kwara state for proper documentation.


Study design

This is a cross-sectional prospective study.

Study area

The study was conducted among the villagers, traditional healers, and herbalists in six locations (Iporin, Oke-Oyi, GaaAsibi, Ilota, Ogidi, and Adewole) within Ilorin, the Capital city of Kwara State. Kwara is a state in Western Nigeria. Kwara is located within the North Central geopolitical zone, commonly referred to as the Middle Belt. It is located on latitude 8° 25 N and 9° 20 and longitude 6° 39.

The primary ethnic group is Yoruba, with significant Nupe, Bariba, Hausa, and Fulani tribes. The total land and water masses of the State stands at 3,677,865.03 Ha and it is unevenly distributed among the 16 Local government areas. As of 2006, the population of Kwara state was 2.37 million (NPC, 2006). Kwara State, Nigeria is generally classified as savannah ecotone lying at the transition belt of the derived savannah and forest zones.[12] The vegetation characteristic of the state is depicted with 47.78% forest with 35.04% of savanna coverage. Kwara State lie within a region described as tropical climate and is characterized by double rainfall maxima and has tropical wet and dry climate.[13] Both seasons last for about 6 months. Kwara State is a summer rainfall area, with an annual rainfall range of 1000–1500 mm. The rainy season begins at about the end of March and lasts until early September, while the dry season begins in early October and ends in early March. The temperature is uniformly high and ranges between 25°C and 30°C in the wet season throughout the season except in July–August when the clouding of the sky prevents direct insolation (heatstroke) while in the dry season, it ranges between 33°C and 34°C.

Sample size

A total of 60 questionnaires were administered in six locations that were randomly selected in Ilorin, namely, Iporin, Oke-Oyi, Gaa-Asibi, Ilota, Ogidi, and Adewole. Ten questionnaires were administered in each village.

Data collection tools

Questionnaires were administered to collect data. This study was conducted over a period of five months. The people were visited in their various settlements. Since most of them can neither read nor write, each of the questionnaires was filled by asking them the questions therein and appropriate answers were ticked, while some were written in Yoruba language and interpreted.

Precautions were taken to thoroughly explain the aims of the study and we got maximum cooperation from them. A translator was always made available during the administration of the questionnaires.

Statistical analysis

The data collected were collated and analyzed using descriptive statistics, such as percentages and frequency, using Microsoft Excel 2010 version of the software.


Demography of informants

In this survey, 46 informants made up of 10 (21.7%) traditional healers, 27 (58.7%) herbalist, and 9 (19.6%) elders were interviewed using a structured questionnaire administered within six randomly selected locations in Ilorin, Kwara. The data generated from this survey gave an insight into the age, sex, educational background, working experience, religion, and tribe of the informants. Fourteen informants (30.4%) were of the age bracket 40–49 and a majority of informants were male, as shown in Table 1. Furthermore, Table 1 shows that 69.5% of the respondents claimed to have in-depth knowledge of ethnomedicine, 4% had average knowledge, and 10 (21.7%) did not have knowledge of ethnomedicine practice [Table 1]. Thirtytwo (32/46) (69.5%) informants claimed to have more than 10 years of experience in ethnomedicine, 4/46 informants (4.6%) had 5–10 years of experience, whereas 10/46 informants (21.7%) have no experience [Table 1]. In addition, 42 informants (91.2%) claimed to have gotten knowledge ancestrally, while 3/46 (6.5%) informants got their knowledge purely by formal training. Forty-six informants 46/46 (100%) reported that the plants they needed for their practice were always available [Table 1].

Table 1: The demographic characteristics of respondents.
Criteria Characteristics Frequency Percentage
Age 70–79 6 13
60–69 4 8.7
50–59 12 26
40–49 14 30.4
30–39 5 10.4
20–29 4 8.7
10–19 1 2.1
Education background Primary 20 43.5
Secondary 4 8.7
Tertiary 2 4.4
No education 20 43.5
Gender Male 29 63
Female 17 37
Years of experience >10 32 69.6
5–9 10 21.7
1–4 4 8.7
Source of ethnomedicine Knowledge Ancestral 42 91.3
Training 3 6.5
Training and ancestral 1 2.2
Frequency of treatment Regularly 46 100
Tribe Yoruba 45 97.8
Fulani 1 2.2
Profession Traditional healer 10 21.7
Herbalist 27 58.7
Elders 9 19.6
Religion Christianity 20 43.5
Islam 26 56.5

97% of the respondents were Yoruba, while 2.2% were Fulani with no educational background.

Medicinal plants and their uses

Medicinal plants used in the management of different diseases in Ilorin, as documented by this study are 55 different plant species belonging to 53 genera and 40 families. The most frequently identified families include Solanaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Meliaceae, Rubiaceae, and Malvaceae, as shown in Table 2 and Figures 3 and 4. Furthermore, the local name, the methods of preparation, the part used in making herbal remedies, and the different diseases that the informants claimed to have been treated are shown in Table 2.

The map of Nigeria showing Kwara State as the red colored inset.
Figure 1:
The map of Nigeria showing Kwara State as the red colored inset.
Medicinal plants parts used by the informants.
Figure 2:
Medicinal plants parts used by the informants.
The genera of the identified medicinal plants.
Figure 3:
The genera of the identified medicinal plants.
The families of the medicinal plant and their frequency.
Figure 4:
The families of the medicinal plant and their frequency.
Table 2: List of medicinal plants used in the treatment of diseases.
S. No. Family Botanical name Common name Local name Y=Yoruba, H=Hausa Plant part Method of preparation Use
1. Solanaceae Physalis angulata L. Cut leaf ground cherry Ewe kuropo (wuwo) Leaves The leaves are squeezed freshly with water taken orally, twice a day. Chronic pile
2. Boraginaceae Heliotropium indicum. L. English combs comb, Indian heliotrope. Ogbe akuko Leaves The leaves are used to prepare decoctions and it is taken orally twice a day. Easy delivery, stomach Pain and part of baby herbs when he/she is about to walk.
3. Araceae Caladium bicolor. Var. Heart of Jesus, elephant ear Eje Jesu Leaves Leaves are pound with soap for bathing Skin diseases
4. Caesalpiniaceae Senna occidentalis (L.) Negro coffee Ewe Rere Leaves Leaves are boiled to prepare decoction. Chronic pile, stomach pain, it can be added to baby herb
5. Cucurbitaceae Momordica charantia (L.) Bitter guard Ejinrin Leaves The leave are squeezed with water, the extract is taken orally Diarrhea
6. Solanaceae Solanum lycopersicum L. Tomato Tomati Leaves and fruits Leaves are squeezed with water for drinking. Fruit is used to prepare soup. Stomach pain, freshen the skin.
7. Poaceae Cymbopogon citratus DC. Lemon grass Ewe tea Leaves The leaves are boiled singly or with other leaves to be taken orally. Malaria fever
8. Euphorbiaceae Jatropha curcas L. physic nut Ewe lapalapa (iyalode) fun fun Sap Get the sap from the tree in a teaspoon and drink or use wet the cotton bud with the sap to scrub the tongue. Cough
9. Nyctaginaceae Boehaavia diffusa L.nom. cons Hogweed Ewe etinponla Leaves The leaves are boiled to prepare decoction for baby to drink. 1 teaspoon daily. It can be combined with other leaves. Flush baby system (Rebo faces).
10. Crassulaceae Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) pers. Africa never die/leaf of life Ewe abamoda Leaves Leaves are boiled in combination with Vernonia amygdalina and Ocimum gratissimum to be taken orally. Human immuno deficiency virus
11. Euphorbiaceae Jatropha gossypifolia L. Bellyache bush lapalapa (pupa) Fruits The fruits are burnt with Aframomum melegueta (alligator pepper) and pour into palm kernel oil applied topically. Navel disease
12. Euphorbiaceae Jatropha multifida Linn. Coral bush Ewe ogege Sap The sap with tom-tom, bitter kola and white alum grand them together and poured into palm oil taken orally. Cough
13. Bignoniaceae Kigelia africana (lam.) Sausage tree Ewe pandoro Leaves The leaves are robbed on the palm, extract is applied topically into the eye Clear dirt in the eye
14. Solanaceae Nicotiana tabacum L. Tobacco Ewe taba Leaves Tobacco leaves with Allium cepa and Parquetina nigrescens leave are boiled together to prepare decoction, it is taken orally and for bathing. Ebola
15. Apocynaceae Parquetina nigrescens (Afezl) African Parquetina Ewe ogbo Leaves The leaves are squeezed with little water and milk is added to be taken orally. Blood supply
16. Asteraceae Ageratum conyzoides L. Goat weed, Chickweed Ewe imi esu Leaves The fresh leaves are being squeezed with water and it is taken orally.
Leaves with salt and little water are squeezed and taking orally in the morning and evening.
Chronic pile Diabetes
17. Talinaceae Talinum triangulare (jacq.) Water leaf Ewe gure Leaves Fresh leaves are squeezed with water after then little honey is added and the mixture is taken orally. Ulcer
18. Lamiaceae Ocimum gratissimum L. Mint Ewe efinrin nla Leaves The leaves are used to prepare assorted pepper soup, also the fresh leaves can be squeezed, and it can be applied directly on skin Prevent blood parasite and skin disease
19. Fabaceae Abrus precatorius L. Rosary pea Ewe omisinmisin Leaves Fresh leaves are squeezed and then mixed with honey, and it is taken orally. Cough
20. Asteraceae Vernonia amygdalina Delile. Bitter leaf Ewe ewuro Leaves Fresh leaves are squeezed, add to palm wine, and it is applied topically on the body.
2.The fresh
leaves are squeezed with water and taken orally
2.Stomach pain
3.Skin disease
21. Fabaceae Senna alata (L.) Roxb Ringworm plant Ajarere, Asuwon oyinbo Leaves In a male, cut the leave into pieces and allow to dry, ground it with potash, take the powdery form with pap. In female, dry bark of bitter kola is added.
2.Plant leaves and alligator are burnt, and it is added into palm oil. Applied on the topically.
1. Gonorrhea
2. Convulsion
22. Meliaceae Azadirachta indica Neem tree Dogoyaro Leaves, barks, and roots The leaves are boiled with water to make decoction, twice daily. Fever
23. Amaryllidaceae Crinum jagus St. Christopher’s Lilly Ogede odo Leave The leaves are boiled and taken 3 times daily. Convulsion
24. Menispermaceae Chasmanthera dependens Hoechst. Chasma thera Ewe ato Leave The fresh leaves are pounded and mixed with shell butter applied topically to the affected area. Fracture
25. Phyllanthaceae Bridelia ferruginea Benth Epo ira Bark The bark of the tree is boiled to prepare decoction. Anemia and treat hemoparasite.
26. Anacardiaceae Spondia mombin Hog plum Ewe iyeye Leave Decoction Fever, baby navel diseases.
27. Combretaceae Anogeissus schimperi Axle wood, giant fern Epo ayin Bark The bark is dried with that Allium ascalonicum Aframomum melegueta grinded together with little salt to form powdery and it is taken with water. Skin diseases
28. Rutaceae Citrus lemon Lime Ewe orombo Leave The fresh leave of citrus lemon can be boiled together with coconut fiber, aqueous fermented maize water is combined to prepare decoction to be taken twice daily. Typhoid fever
29. Irvingiaceae Irvingia gabonensis Wild mango Epo opon Bark The dry bark soaked in water, takes one teaspoon daily. Cure weigh loss in baby
30. Meliaceae Pseudocedrela kotschy Dry zone cedar Epo emigbegiri Bark The dry bark is boiled with water to prepare decoction. Adult, full stainless cup. Children, half a cup. Pile
31. Rubiaceae Morinda lucida Benth Brimstone tree Ewe Oruwo Leave The fresh leaves in combination with Chasmanthera dependens and Lawsomia inermis are boiled to prepare decoction. Typhoid Fever and chronic pile
32. Malvaceae Abelmoschus esculentus Okra Ila/ilasa Leave and fruit The leaves of Abelmoschus are grinded together with Morinda lucida leaves to make soup. Infertility and improve iron deficiency.
33. Araceae Xanthosoma sagittifolium Tannia Koko Seed The crop serves as food, also contain iron Weak bone
34. Meliaceae Azadirachta indica Neem tree Dogoyaro/cassia Leaves root. The bark and the leaves of Azadirachta can be boiled with water to prepare decoction. Root soaked in gin. Malaria, chewing stick
35. Malvaceae Theobroma cacao Cocoa Koko Leave The leaves are boiled for a few minutes with water. It is taken orally. Anaemia
36. Myrtaceae Psidium guajava L. Guava Gova Leave The leaves are boiled with water to make decoction Fever, diabetes and losing weight
37. Rubiaceae Nauclea latifolia African peach Ogbesi Leaves barks and root The leaves and bark with the root can be boiled with water, the decoction is taken orally. Hemoparasite effect and yellow fever
38. Combretaceae Teminalis glabrescens wandering jew Igi idi Root The roots are added with the root of Nauclea latifolia and Hymenocardia acida and it is soaked in a container with water. Fever
39. Rutaceae Citrus lemon Lime Osan wewe Fruits The fruit juice is extracted, and the bark is dried and grinded with potash, charcoal and black soap with the juice to make “aporo”. 1 teaspoon a day. Apply to wound topically. Cough. Constipation. Wound such as snake or scorpion bite.
40. Asteraceae Chromolaena odorata Siam weed, and baby bush. Akintola (Awolowo) Leaves The fresh leaves are tweezed and applied on wound. Stop bleeding.
41. Zingiberaceae Aframomum melegueta Alligator pepper Ata re Seeds The seeds are grinded together with Tabaco leaves, Aframomum melegueta. Pour into a container with gin. Drink small cup once daily Laryngitis and tooth ache.
42. Musaceae Musa nana Banana Ogede wewe bark and fruit The fresh bark is boiled with water to prepare decoction. One full cup is taken in the morning and evening. Diabetes.
43. Arecaceae Elaeis guineesis Palm kernel tree Igi ope Bark The bark of Elaeis guineesis together with bark of Ceiba pentandra to prepare decoction. Human immunodeficiency virus diseases.
44. Caricaceae Carica papaya Pawpaw Ibepe Bark The bark of Carica papaya in combination with bark of Mangifera indica and Azadirachta indica are boiled together with water and then taken morning and night. Yellow fever typhoid. Diabetes
45. Cucurbitaceae Citrullus colocynthis Bitter apple, bitter cucumber Egusi bara Fruit The seed is kept in the bottle with potash and then soaked inside water for 2 days and it is taking 1 cup every day. Gonorrhea
46. Arecaceae Elaeis guineesis Palm kernel Ekuro Nut Oil is gotten from the kernel and is being applied on the person head Head aches
47. Apocynaceae Calotropis procera Giant milk weed Ewe bomubomu Leave The leave of Calotropis procera and that of tobacco are cut into pieces and it is soaked inside container containing alcohol. Asthma
48. Meliaceae Khaya grandifoliola African mahogany Epo oganwo Bark The bark of the tree is peeled and boiled together with Mangifera indica, Azadirachta indica both leaves and root to prepare decoction which is taken orally for 5 days. Morning and night. Typhoid fever
49. Myrtaceae Psidium quajava Guava Guofa Leaves The leave is boiled together with unripe Carica papaya. 1 full cup once daily Reduce fat
50. Musaceae Musa paradisiaca Plantain- banana fruit Ogede oyinbo Root The root is grinded and added to black soap. Add topically. Cure hemoparasite.
51. Lythraceae Lawsomia inermis Heena leaves Laali Root The root is peeled and washed; it is pounded with black soap 1.Rob
3.Skin disease
52. Moraceae Ficus exasperata Fig tree Opoto Bark The bark is wash and boiled together with citrus lemon and unripe ananas comosus to prepare decoction Reduced blood in the system
53. Phyllanthaceae Hymenocardia acida French digbe Ewe orupa Leave The leaves are dried, and it serve as food Malaria and hypertension
54. Combretaceae Anogeissus leiocarpa African birch, Bambara Igi ayin Bark The dry bark is boiled with small potash. Hemoparasite
55. Annonaceae Enantia chlorantha African yellow wood Dokita Igbo Leave The dry leaves are grinded into powdery form soaked with 7 up in a container. Small glass cup to be taken every day Typhoid in children.
56. Anacardiaceae Mangifera indica Mango Mongoro Bark The fresh bark is peeled and dried. It is grinded to powdery form, soak. The supernatant is removed, sediment is collected and mixed with milk. Typhoid fever
57. Rubiaceae Borreria verticillata Girdle pod Ewe irawo ile Leave The leaves are squeezed and applied on the affected area. Skin disease like eczema.
58. Malvaceae Gossypium arboretum Cotton leaf Ewe owu Leaves The leaves are squeezed with lime, and it is taken orally in small quantity Fever
59. Malvaceae Corchorus olitorius Jute plant Ewe abiwere (ewedu) Whole plant The whole plant is squeezed with water, given to a pregnant woman to drink. Easy delivery
60. Fabaceae Senna alata (L.) Roxb Ringworm plant Ewe Ajarere Leaves The leaves with black pepper burnt together. Add palm oil and it is taken orally with small teaspoon. Reduce baby body temperature
61. Chenopodiaceae Chenopodium ambrosioides Mexican tea Ewe casin Leaves Decoction Head problem (Oka ori omode)
62. Cucurbitaceae Telfairia occidentalis Pumpkin Ewe ugu Leaves The leaves are squeezed and then milk is added to the mixture, and it is taken orally. Blood supply
63. Liliaceae Allium ascalonicum Shalt spring Alubosa elewe Leave The leave is grinded with and applied topically Romantism


In this survey, medicinal plants used in Ilorin, Kwara State were identified. The majority of informants (63%) were male, while 37% were female. This was because most of the males were herbalists. In their tradition, males inherit the properties of their parents, and thus, the acquired knowledge of medicinal plants is passed like an inheritance from fathers and grandfathers along their lineage. Furthermore, there is a belief among the people that women can destroy the potency of some herbal remedies. However, a few informants learned the profession. These categories may be of any sex.

The result showed that informants aged between 10 and 19 years are just (1%) and most of the practitioners are between 40 and 49 years; this may be due to the fact that knowledge is passed mainly from the old parents to their offspring. This traditional method of knowledge transfer is a slow process whereby it is only when the parents are old before they start teaching their children. This result is different from the work of Ayodele[14] who carried out ethnobotanical survey in Ogun State, Nigeria, which is a more cosmopolitan city with high level of literacy. He recorded (30.4%) of the informants between the ages of (1–20). The age 40–49 recorded as the highest number of informants is at a productive age and this shows that people are interested in the knowledge of medicinal plants as a profession and a source of livelihood.

Data from the formal educational attainment showed that 20 (43.5%) respondents are without formal educational, 20 (43.5%) acquired primary school certificate, only 4 (8.7%), and 2 (4.4%) acquired secondary and tertiary education. This may be because ethnomedicine practices in this area are restricted to mainly acquiring knowledge through the ancestral method; it is only the uneducated folks that may be available for such knowledge transfer. This level of education of the informants may be a major disadvantage to adapting newer innovations in the studied areas.

This ancestral mode of knowledge transfer is also reflected in years of experience; only 32 (69.5%) have more experience in medicinal plant knowledge above 10 years, while 10 (21.7%) have experience within 5 years and 4 (8.7%) are <1 year of experience.

A majority of the informants, 45 (97.8%), were members of the Yoruba tribe, which dominates these five locations, while 1 (2.2%) were Fulani.

The leaf is the most common plant part used (69.5%), followed by bark (17.5%), fruit (4.8%), root (4.8%), seed (3.2%), sap (3.2%), whole plant (1.6%), and nut (1.6%). This is because the plant leaves are a store of many phytochemicals which may be biologically active as seen in Table 3 and Figure 2. Furthermore, the leaves form an important ingredient in the traditional treatment of various diseases, as it features as a component in many herbal preparations. Other researchers agree with these findings.[14,15]

Table 3: Showing medicinal part frequency.
Medicinal part Frequency Percentage (%)
Leaves 40 63.5
Bark 11 17.5
Root 3 4.8
Fruit 3 4.8
Seed 2 3.2
Sap 2 3.2
Whole plant 1 1.6
Nut 1 1.6

It is important to note that some of the plant species were used to treat more than one ailment; for example, Senna occidentalis is effective against piles and stomach pain, Ocimum gratissimum may be effective against hemoparasite and skin diseases, while Vernonia amygdalina is effective against measles, stomach pain, and skin diseases. Furthermore, Bridelia ferruginea was recorded to be used in the treatment of typhoid fever and chronic pile as seen in Table 2.

Decoction and infusion are the most common methods of preparation, similar to the work of Ogundajo et al.[16] Our findings revealed that the practitioners may prescribe a plant or combination of plants in the treatment of diseases. Examples include the use of Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam) pers with V. amygdalina and O. gratissimum (Mint) to prepare decoction for the treatment of human immune deficiency virus. Furthermore, Psidium guajava leaves were boiled together with Carica papaya which was used to make decoction for treatment of obesity. The fruits of Jatropha gossypifolia L. can be burnt together with alligator pepper and poured into palm kernel oil to be applied topically for the treatment of navel diseases. The bark of C. papaya in combination with the bark of Mangifera indica and Azadirachta indica is boiled to make decoction for the treatment of diabetes, typhoid, and yellow fever. These combinations of different plants need more research validation. There is a need for research on the pharmacological and toxicological importance of the combined effect of these medicinal plants.

In treating ailments such as fever, wound, malaria, gonorrhea, asthma, diabetes, measles, and many other diseases, this survey shows that people in these six locations in Ilorin which are Iporin, Oke-Oyi, Gaa-Asibi, Ilota, Ogidi, and Adewole rely on plants that are boiled, ground into a powdery form, burnt, soak in alcohol or water, palm wine, and ground with black soap. They also take these drugs topically; furthermore, taking them with pap, make pastry of the plant materials, and taking as soup, especially those that serve as food for man, such as vegetables. Traditional solvents used include shear butter, honey, palm wine and fermented maize water with sugar, palm kernel oil, and salt.

Some of the plants listed here have been accorded similar use by other people around the world. V. amygdalina is used in Uganda[17] and Rwanda[18] for treatment of malaria and diabetes. In Tanzania, A. indica is employed as repellent in combating Anopheles mosquitoes causing malaria.[19] Various research carried out on Telfairia occidentalis supported its use as blood tonic.[20] In addition, the flowers are used as cosmetic in Iran to improve complexion and medicinally for chest pain.[21] The oily seeds are also believed to have lactating properties and as such are in demand by women with young babies.[21] Moreover, the plant has also been reported for its antioxidative and free radical scavenging properties.[16] Both J. gossypifolia and Jatropha curcas are recognized in India and Tropical America as having purgative activities.[22]


Medicinal plants still play an important role in the management of ailments. This study has revealed important information on medicinal plants used by the people for therapeutic purposes in Kwara state in North Central Nigeria. It also demonstrates the key role that medicinal plants play in the primary health care of these people. Fifty-five plant species belonging to 40 families were used to treat a wide range of ailments, including reproductive system disease, musculoskeletal disorder, skin infection, gastrointestinal disturbances, ulcers, headaches, and infant diseases. This study also showed that the people of Kwara State have advanced knowledge of ethnomedicinal plant practices and rely on them for the treatment of their health conditions.

Authors contributions

The project work was conceptualized and supervised by LAA and the survey work and data analysis were carried out by OA.

Ethical approval

The Institutional Review Board approval is not required as this is a cross-sectional study.

Declaration of patient consent

Patient’s consent was not required as there are no patients in this study.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Use of artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted technology for manuscript preparation

The authors confirm that there was no use of artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted technology for assisting in the writing or editing of the manuscript and no images were manipulated using AI.

Financial support and sponsorship



  1. , , . The role and place of medicinal plants in the strategies for disease prevention. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2013;10:210-29.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  2. , , , . Abiotic stress responses in plants. Nat Rev Genet. 2022;23:104-19.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  3. , , , , , . Medicinal plants, phytochemicals, and their impacts on the maturation of the gastrointestinal tract. Front Physiol. 2021;12:684464.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  4. , , . Phytochemical evaluation, antimicrobial activity, and determination of bioactive components from leaves of Aegle marmelos. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:497606.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  5. . Steps toward sustainable natural forest management for non-timber forest products in Nigeria. Proceedings of the 29th annual conference of the forestry association of Nigeria. In: Cross River State. .
    [Google Scholar]
  6. , . Disappearing forests. A review of the challenges for conservation of genetic resources and environmental management. J For Res Man. 2004;1 and 2:1-11.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. . A more efficient estate: Natural forest or plantation In: , , eds. Tropical forestry: Third world priorities versus Western Concern. . p. :43-58.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. , , , . Medicinal plants used in ethnoveterinary practices in the Federal Capital Territory, North-Central Nigeria. J Med Plants Res. 2020;14:377-88.
    [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  9. , , , . An ethnobotanical and ethnomedicinal survey of traditionally used medicinal plants in Seymour, South Africa: An attempt toward digitization and preservation of ethnic knowledge. Pharmacogn Mag. 2019;15:115-23.
    [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  10. . Modern medicine: Towards prevention, cure, well-being and longevity. Mens Sana Monogr. 2010;8:17-29.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  11. , . Herbal medicine in Nigeria: Holistic overview. Nigerian J Sci Environ. 2013;12:13-21.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. , . A comprehensive review of water quality monitoring and assessment in Nigeria. Chemosphere. 2020;260:127569.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  13. , . Ethnobotanical survey of some medicinal plants used in traditional health care in Abeokuta areas of Ogun State, Nigeria. Afr J Pharm Pharmacol. 2012;6:1352-62.
    [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  14. . The medicinally important leafy vegetables of South-Western Nigeria. . Available from: [Last accessed on 2022 Sep 15]
    [Google Scholar]
  15. . Indigenous uses of plants leave to treat malaria fever at Omo Forest Reserve (OFR), Ogun State, Nigeria. Ethiop J Environ Stud Man. 2008;1:31-5.
    [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  16. , , . Medicinal properties of Ocotea bullata stembark extracts: Phytochemical constituents, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, cytotoxicity, and inhibition of carbohydrate-metabolizing enzymes. J Integr Med. 2018;16:132-40.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  17. , , , . Ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plant species used by communities around Mabira Central Forest Reserve, Uganda. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2016;12:52.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  18. , , , , , . Ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, and phytochemistry of medicinal plants used for-treating human diarrheal cases in Rwanda: A review. Antibiotics (Basel, Switzerland). 2021;10:1231.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  19. , , , . Azadirachta indica (Sapindales: Meliaceae) neem oil as a repellent against Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes. J Insect Sci. 2019;19:12.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  20. , , . Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of Telfairia occidentalis hydroethanolic leaf extract (Cucurbitaceae) J Med Food. 2015;18:1157-63.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  21. , , , , , , et al. Iranian medicinal plants: From ethnomedicine to actual studies. Medicina (Kaunas). 2020;56:97.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  22. , , , , , , et al. Chemical composition and biological properties of two Jatropha species: Different parts and different extraction methods. Antioxidant. 2021;10:792.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Show Sections