Thursday, July 21, 2005

ICTs to conserve medicinal plants in Ghana

George Owusu-Afriyie describes how BG-BASE, a database program designed to manage information on botanical collections, is helping to conserve medicinal plants in Ghana.

In Ghana, traditional healthcare practices rely almost entirely on herbal medicines. Even in urban areas where modern synthetic drugs are readily available, many people continue to use traditional herbal remedies as these are less expensive. However, the high demand for medicinal plants, which are collected from the wild, is gradually exhausting some local species populations.

Increasingly, herbalists are turning to botanic gardens with requests to harvest medicinal plants from their collections or to obtain information about threatened species. In Ghana, in response to the growing demand for medicinal plants in the 1990s, one of the country's most important botanic gardens, the Aburi Botanic Garden (ABG), decided to look into the possibility of setting up a medicinal plant project.



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