Volume, value and floristic diversity of Gabon's medicinal plant markets

A.M. Towns, D.K. Quiroz Villarreal, L. Guinee, H. Boer, T. van Andel

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29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance - African medicinal plant markets offer insight into commercially important species, salient health concerns in the region, and possible conservation priorities. Still, little quantitative data is available on the trade in herbal medicine in Central Africa. The aim of this study was to identify the species, volume, and value of medicinal plant products sold on the major domestic markets in Gabon, Central Africa. Materials and methods - We surveyed 21 herbal market stalls across 14 of the major herbal medicine markets in Gabon, collected vouchers of medicinal plants and documented uses, vernacular names, prices, weight, vendor information and weekly sales. From these quantitative data, we extrapolated volumes and values for the entire herbal medicine market. Results - We encountered 263 medicinal plant products corresponding with at least 217 species. Thirteen species were encountered on one-third of the surveyed stalls and 18 species made up almost 50% of the total volume of products available daily, including the fruits of Tetrapleura tetraptera and seeds of Monodora myristica. Although bark comprised the majority of the floristic diversity (22%) and the highest percentage of daily stock (30%), the resin of IUCN red-listed species Aucoumea klaineana represented 20% of the estimated daily volume of the entire herbal market. Plants sold at the market were mainly used for ritual purposes (32%), followed by women¿s health (13%), and childcare (10%). The presence of migrant herbal vendors selling imported species, especially from Benin, was a prominent feature of the Gabonese markets. Conclusion - An estimated volume of 27 t of medicinal plant products worth US$ 1.5 million is sold annually on the main Gabonese markets. Aucoumea klaineana and Garcinia kola are highlighted as frequently sold species with conservation priorities. The herbal market in Gabon is slightly higher in species diversity but lower in volume and value than recently surveyed sub-Saharan African markets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1184-1193
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Volume155
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • timber forest products
  • south-africa
  • eastern-cape
  • trade
  • benin
  • opportunities
  • province

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    Towns, A. M., Quiroz Villarreal, D. K., Guinee, L., Boer, H., & van Andel, T. (2014). Volume, value and floristic diversity of Gabon's medicinal plant markets. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 155(2), 1184-1193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2014.06.052