Factors influencing the use of medicinal plants on the improvement of livestock health in Kitui district;a case of Mutitu and Mwitika Divisions
Mathooko, Joseph K
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Traditional medicine practice in Kenya like in many African countries is widespread and deep rooted. It is respected by local communities because of its proven effectiveness over many generations. Before the arrival of Western medicine, African communities were well served by famous medicine men whose ability to cure many ailments using plant materials was well known. In Kenya, traditional practice was banned in the early 1920s and continues well into the second decade of independence But was relaxed in the 80s. Today, the traditional medical sub-sector in Kenya constitutes an important economic activity, ensuring a means of livelihood for many including herbal collectors, vendors, and the TMPs themselves. It also makes a significant contribution to the national primary healthcare service for both human and veterinary purposes. However, the sub sector impacts negatively on national plant biodiversity resources because its operations are not based on any consideration of sustainability. There exist livestock raisers and healers who, with time, have developed traditional ways of classifying, diagnosing, preventing, and treating common animal diseases. These healers are referred to as Traditional livestock health providers. In many cases and in remote areas they complement the work of conventional livestock health providers. The study relied on quantitative data obtained from the administered questionnaires administered to 150 Livestock owners,12 Traditional livestock health providers and 17 Conventional livestock health providers which was analyzed using analytical and descriptive methods using tables and percentages. The results showed that there are 37 medicinal plants in Mutitu and Mwitika divisions of Kitui and that 90% of Livestock owners usually use herbal veterinary medicine to treat their livestock. It was found that 42 common livestock diseases can be treated using medicinal plants found in Mwitika and Mutitu divisions. The results also found that there are 13 poisonous plants in the study area that affect animal health and are commonly ingested during drought and dry seasons.