Medicinal plants for women's en children's health in urban and rural areas of Gabon
Vliet, E. van
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The majority of the Gabonese population depends on medicinal plants as their primary health care. Due to urbanization and forest degradation, however, wild medicinal plant resources may become depleted especially around urban areas, where the population density is high. Important medicinal plant species may be more difficult to obtain for urban women. Therefore, we checked whether urban women use more cultivated medicinal plants for women’s reproductive health and childcare, than rural women. We made an inventory of the medicinal plants by means of 44 individual questionnaires. We collected 194 different species and determined their threat level and endemic status. The plants’ vegetation type was determined during harvesting trips and by using literature. No difference was found in the amount of wild and cultivated plants used in urban and rural areas. This result supports that urban women also have easy access to wild medicinal plants. The most frequently cited species in this study did not match the list of vulnerable species. The majority of the medicinal species was growing in disturbed vegetation and are therefore less sensitive to local extinction. A low population density, small domestic trade in herbal medicine and short market chains also contribute to our conclusion that medicinal plants will be available for upcoming generations.