Popular traditional herbal medicines from the Jóolas of essyl in the rural community of enampor (Ziguinchor, Sénégal): An ethnographic survey

William Diatta, Modou Lo, Alioune Dior Fall, Souleymane Bassene, Serge Sagna, Kady Badji, Emmanuel Bassene

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Joola people from Essyl inhabit an area located about twenty kilometers southwest of Ziguinchor, the capital city of the southern region of Senegal. The Joola constitute an ethnic group which despite the heavy external cultural influences, have managed to preserve their traditions. Their medical practices which are primarily based on the use of plants are very much dependent on traditional religious beliefs. An ethnographic survey was conducted among these Joola people in order to document their traditional medicinal practices and the wealth of their medical recipes. In the conduct of this study, a series of investigations were carried out with the traditional healers and people with a strong knowledge base of herbal medicine. The results show that in Essyl, medical treatment is often carried out by specialists from different fields that include traditional and modern medicine: traditional healers, obstetricians, physiotherapists, orthopedists, surgeons and herbal medicine men. These medical practitioners and experts work with a wide range of plants available in their natural environment. We collected their responses and organized their recommendations which focused on identifying the specific plants used in their healing tradition and how each of the plants are used. These results permit us to then examine the scientific knowledge that supports, justifies or explains the traditional uses of these plants for particular health conditions and illness as well as identifies those gaps in scientific understanding that remains to be explored. Furthermore, the results show a disturbing concern in that the present way the plants are collected, prepared and extracted, there likely will be loss in the natural populations of medicinal plants. This threat in this local biodiversity needs to be addressed. © 2009 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationACS Symposium Series|ACS Symp. Ser.
Subtitle of host publicationNew discoveries and challenges in chemistry and quality
Place of PublicationWashington D.C.
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2009


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