Original Research

An African knowledge of ethnosystematics and its application totraditional medicine, with particular reference to the medicinal use of the fungus Engleromyces goetzei

J. O. Kokwaro
Bothalia | Vol 14, No 2 | a1168 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v14i2.1168 | © 1983 J. O. Kokwaro | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 October 1983 | Published: 17 December 1983

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J. O. Kokwaro, Department of Botany, University of Nairobi, Kenya

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Botany and medicine have been closely related fields of knowledge throughout the history of man's development. Consequently a folk knowledge of botanical classification (ethnosystematics) is often rooted in traditional medicine.

Four factors have contributed to ethnosystematics being particularly well developed in Africa. They are: the continuing importance of traditional medicine; the importance of the spoken word in handing down traditional botanical and medical knowledge; the richness and diversity of the African flora; and the many different languages and dialects used by the African people.

Some of the plants used in African traditional medicine are being investigated as sources of antibiotics and other useful substances. An example is the investigation of the fungus  Engleromyces goetzei P. Hennings, whose medical use is described for the first time.


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