J Ethnopharmacol. 1984 Jun; 11(1): 33-47.
Traditional pharmaceutical practice in Gondar region, northwestern Ethiopia.
The knowledge and skills of Ethiopian traditional healers in Gondar region on the pharmaceutical aspects of their practice were assessed using a questionnaire. Of the 86 healers interviewed, only 83 gave responses good enough to be considered in the analysis of results. It was shown that the healers obtained their drugs mainly from natural substances and these in descending order of frequency were plants, animals and minerals. The healers prepared the drugs in various dosage forms including liquids, ointments, powders and pills. They also prescribed drugs in a "non-formulated" form. They usually incorporated additives and more than one drug in a single dosage form. Drugs were administered using eight routes, the main ones being, topical, oral and respiratory. Most of the healers claimed to determine doses and to know about side-effects of drugs. When side-effects became severe, "antidotes" were claimed to be used. The healers imposed restriction when certain types of drugs were taken by patients. Most of them stored the drugs that should not be dispensed immediately after collection or preparation. Drugs were usually stored in containers such as bottles, papers, pieces of cloth, leaves and horns, and were kept anywhere at home. The results are discussed mainly in relation to modern pharmaceutical and medical practices and their importance to health care services among the people in Gondar region is also stated.