Livestock represents an important sector for the livelihood of sub-Saharan African countries’ inhabitants. In these countries, farmers raise livestock to meet household food demands and as additional sources of incomes, but its production is hampered by rampant animal diseases. The impact of animal diseases is particularly severe for poor communities that, although relying heavily on livestock, have limited access to modern veterinary services and therefore rely on indigenous medicines for the treatment of livestock ailments. Methods:
The current review focuses on the ethnoveterinary health management practices found amongst livestock producers in sub-Saharan Africa. Documents were sourced from Google databases. Results:
A total of 56 documents were reviewed, most of which were published recently (after 2000). The documents revealed the wide use of ethnoveterinary medicines among livestock producers in sub-Saharan African countries because of their cost and accessibility, threats to ethnomedicinal plant species through improper harvesting methods, overexploitation, the existence of inappropriate ethnoveterinary practices, and methods of conserving ethnomedicinal species. Conclusions:
Given the persistent threats posed to ethnoveterinary medicine and/or practices in developing countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the findings of this review highlight the importance of integrating and promoting the use of ethnoveterinary medicine that is likely to be lost if it is not given enough importance. It is also important to obtain an overview of recent publications on ethnoveterinary medicines to identify the gaps and scope required to be filled by future studies. It is envisaged that the review will stimulate further ethnoveterinary research among livestock disease management practices, which could lead to new pharmaceuticals in the region.
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