Ethiopians have deep-rooted traditions of using plants to treat ailments affecting humans and domesticated animals. Approximately 80% of the population continues to rely on traditional medicine, including for the prevention and treatment of viral diseases. Many antiviral plants are available to and widely used by communities in areas where access to conventional healthcare systems is limited. In some cases, pharmacological studies also confirm the potent antiviral properties of Ethiopian plants. Building on traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and testing their antiviral properties may help to expand options to address the global pandemic of COVID-19 including its recently isolated virulent variants and prepare for similar outbreaks in the future. Here, we provide an ethnobotanical and pharmacological inventory of Ethiopian medicinal plants that might contribute to the prevention and treatment of viral diseases. We identified 387 species, about 6% of Ethiopia's known flora, for which records of use by local communities and traditional herbalists have been documented for the treatment of viral diseases. We provide a framework for further investigation and development of this vital resource much anticipated to help combat emergent viral diseases along with existing ones in Ethiopia and elsewhere. © 2023 The Authors. Phytotherapy Research published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
antiviral plants, Ethiopia, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, traditional herbal medicine
Fekadu, Mekbib; Lulekal, Ermias; Tesfaye, Solomon; Ruelle, Morgan; Asfaw, Nigist; Awas, Tesfaye; Balemie, Kebu; Asres, Kaleab; Guenther, Sebastian; Asfaw, Zemede; and Demissew, Sebsebe, "The potential of Ethiopian medicinal plants to treat emergent viral diseases" (2023). Sustainability and Social Justice. 560.
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Fekadu, Mekbib, et al. "The potential of Ethiopian medicinal plants to treat emergent viral diseases." Phytotherapy Research (2023).