Document Type : Original paper
Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Background and objectives: Anecdotal evidence shows that plant remedies used by rural folks to repel snakes and those used during snake envenomation are sometimes effective and offer an appreciable survival rate among victims of snake bites. This study focused on documenting plants that repel snakes from homesteads and those administered as interventions during snake bites among indigenes of Ejisu-Juabeng District, Ghana. Method: Personal interviews with indigenes was carried out. Information about the plants including scientific names, families, local names, growth habit, the used part, method of preparation and administration were recorded. Herbarium vouchers were used to identifying the plants at species level. The frequency of citation (FC) and relative frequency of citation index (RFC) for each species was determined. Results: Twenty-three medicinal plants were documented; 17 plants belonging to 15 genera from 13 families were reported to be used as antidote for snakebite poisoning while ten species belonging to nine genera from nine families were reported as snake repellents. Plants belonging to the family Apocynaceae were the most predominant (12.5%). The anti-venin plants mostly mentioned were herbs (48%) and trees (39%). Leaves (58.8%) and roots (29.4%) were frequently used in antivenin formulations and were mostly applied topically (78.5%) as poultices or orally (21.4%) as infusions/decoctions. For snake repelling plants the strong odour from plants was mostly responsible for the repellent effect. The most commonly named plants were Nicotiana tobacum (Relative frequency of citation=0.26), Allium sativum (RFC=0.14), Rauwolfia serpentine (RFC=0.18) and Allium cepa (RFC=0.18). Conclusion: This study has revealed the importance of herbal medicine used in the prevention and treatment of snakebites among indigenes of Ejisu-Juabeng District.