Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 7-18.  2008.

 

 

 

Conservation of Botanicals Used for Dental and Oral Healthcare in Ekiti State, Nigeria

 

Kayode, Joshua and Omotoyinbo, Michael Ayorinde

 

Department of Plant Science, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.

E-mail: josmodkay@yahoo.com

 

Issued 16 January  2008

 

ABSTRACT

               A combination of social surveys and direct field observations was used to identify and determine the abundance status of chewing stick botanicals in the tree zones of Ekiti State, Nigeria. Voucher specimens of the botanicals identified by the respondents were collected, identified and relevant information on them were documented. The relative abundance of the identified species was determined based on their accessibility when required. Thus species were classified into two groups, abundant species and scarce species. A total of 49 species belonging to 26 families were identified as being used for dental and oral health care in the study area and the various similarity measurements revealed that similar plant species were used in the three zones of the study area. Most of these species were indigenous species, the introduced species constituted 18% of the total number of the species used. Only 31% of the botanicals were cultivated in the study area and these species were cultivated mainly for other uses apart from the production of chewing sticks. The relative abundance test revealed that 34 of the species could be described as being abundant while 15 species (31 %) of the species were scarce. The major sources of these scarce species were the forests which were located far from the household areas. Chewing sticks acceptability tests conducted among the urban dwellers in the study area revealed that the use of chewing sticks cut across gender, age, educational and economic strata. However, the use of chewing sticks among the urban dwellers was governed by species availability rather than preference. Strategies that would enhance the conservation of the chewing sticks botanicals were proposed.

Keywords: Conservation, botanicals, dental and oral healthcare, Ekiti State, Nigeria.

 

 

 INTRODUCTION

               Chewing sticks constitute an important non-wood forest product (NWFP) in Ekiti State, Nigeria where tooth cleaning with botanicals had formed part of the cultural norms. Thus despite the recent civilization, Isawumi (1978a) asserted that in Nigeria, teeth are first cleaned with chewing sticks prior to the use of modern tooth paste and brush.

   Like all other NWFPs, the importance of chewing sticks, particularly to the relative low cases of dental caries and maintenance of strong teeth, are often unrecognized and/or pronounced. Some of the botanicals used as chewing sticks are now known to have a restricted occurrence in the study area where a disturbing trend of deficits of forest resources is now widely acclaimed.

               At present, a gross dearth of literature on chewing sticks botanicals abounds in Nigeria. The existing few, such as El-Said et al. (1971), Enwowu (1974), Rotimi et al (1988), Akande & Hayashi (1998), Ugoji et al (2000), as well as Adekunle & Odukoya (2006), were concentrated on the antimicrobial properties of some of the botanicals while Isawumi (1978a, b, c and 1979) focused mainly on the anatomical description of some of these species. Unfortunately, all these studies had failed to consider the abundance status of the chewing stick botanicals with a view to determine the species that requires conservation and prescribe sustainable strategies for such. Thus, the study being reported here aimed to achieve these objectives.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

 

               A combination of social surveys and direct field observations (after Lipp 1989, Kayode 2002, 2005) was used in this study, which was conducted between June 2006 and May 2007. Ekiti State (Figs. 1 and 2) was divided into three zones based on the existing political delineation (after Kayode 2004). The zones are Ekiti Central (EC), Ekiti North (EN) and Ekiti South (ES). In each zone, five rural communities that are still relatively far from urban influence were selected. The communities were, 1. Epe 2. Ipole-Iloro 3. Ido-Ile 4. Aba-Igbogun 5. Araromi-Obu 6. Eda 7. Iro-Oke 8. Aba-Oyo 9. Ogbese 10. Omi-Ogun 11. Igede 12. Itapaji 13. Ipere 14. Ifinsin and 15. Ewu. In each community, twenty respondents were randomly selected and interviewed. The interviews were conducted with a fairly open framework that allowed for focused, conversational and two-way communication (after Moinar 1989).

               Also in each community, group interviews were conducted in order to determine group consensus on the chewing sticks botanicals. Four groups, each of which consisted of five individuals were interviewed in each community. Key informants made up of health, community development and forestry officials in each zone as well as dental officials of the Ekiti State Ministry of Health were also interviewed to provide secondary information on the use of chewing sticks in the study area.

               Voucher specimens of the botanicals identified as sources of chewing sticks by the respondents were collected identified and relevant information on them were documented. The specimen were later treated and deposited at the herbarium of the Department of Plant Science, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekit, Nigeria.

         The relative abundance of the identified species was determined based on the time of their being assessable when required. Thus species were classified into two groups:

 

(a)    Abundant Species: those that could be fetched within 6 hours of need, and

(b)   Scarce Species: those that could only be fetched after 6 hours of need.

 

         Similarity measures between the sampling zones were determined as:

 

(a)         Index of Similarity (IS), according to Kayode (1999):

IS = 2C X 100/ (A+B),

(b)        Jaccard Index (S), according to Gurevitch et al (2002):

S = C/ (A+B+C),

 (c) Sorensen-Dice Index (SSD), according to  Gurevitch et al (2002):

            SSD = 2C/ (A+B+2C),

(d)        Ochioi Index (SO), according to Gurevitch et al (2002),  SO =

                                  

(e)         Asymmetrical Similarity (SAS), according to Gurevitch et al (2002):

      SAS = B/ (B + 2C).

Where A is the number of species in first site only, B is the number of species in second site only, and C is the number of species in both sites.

Chewing sticks acceptability tests were carried out among the urban dwellers in the study area. Five urban towns were selected in each zone and 10 urban dwellers were randomly selected from each town. The respondents were interviewed with the aid of semi-structured matrix. The data obtained from this test was subjected to statistical analysis using the x2 test.

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

 

         A total of 49 species belonging to 26 families were identified as being used for dental and oral health care in the study area (Table 1), and the various similarity measurements (Table 2) revealed that similar plant species were being used in the three zones of the study area. Most of these species were indigenous species. The introduced species among them are A. occidentale, A. indica, A. Juss, C. aurantifolia, D. erecta, H. rosa-sinensis, M. indica, P. guajava, and T. cacao. The introduced species constituted 18% of the total number of the species used. Only 15 out of the 49 species, representing 31% of the botanicals were cultivated in the study area (Table 3) and these species were cultivated mainly for other uses apart from the production of chewing sticks. Thus the provision of chewing sticks was considered as being secondary and/or tertiary products from the species. The cultivated species were mostly valued for their fruits, medicine, erosion control, hedgerow and shade (Table 3). 

               Results from the relative abundance test revealed that 34 of the species could be described as being abundant while 15 species, which constituted 31 % of the species were scarce (Table 4). The major sources of these scarce species were the forests which were located far from the household areas. Table 5 shows the socioeconomic classification of urban respondents. All the respondents were familiar with the use of chewing sticks while 95% of the respondents confirmed having used chewing sticks before the study. Thus the use of chewing sticks cut across gender, age, educational and economic strata. The study however revealed that urban dwellers use of chewing stick species was governed by species availability, usually purchased from retailers, rather than preference.  

               The relatively high proportion of indigenous chewing stick species confirmed the previous assertions of Kayode et al., (1997) and Kayode (2004) that in the utilization of botanicals, preference of dwellers in the study area had always been skewed towards the indigenous species rather than the exotics. This preference had been attributed to the long time familiarity with the indigenous species and their ethnobotanical utilization among the rural populace (Kayode and Kadeba 2001). Most of the indigenous species were developed from wildlings. Apart from the apparent lack of willingness to invest in tree planting due to increasing occurrence of land fragmentations and the time taken for trees to mature, there is a general lack of silvicultural knowledge of the indigenous species. Most of the indigenous species are high light demanders hence they are poorly represented in the sapling stage of the existing secondary forests of the study area. Most of them reproduce poorly and lacked the ability to withstand environmental calamities such as burning.

               All the 15 species found to be scarce in this study (Table 4) could be said to be endangered. Most of them have stems, roots and/or leaves that are used ethno medicinally. Moreover, their collection methods have been predatory and annihilative. Such methods of collection as previously observed by Homman (1994) entailed the destruction of source(s) at such a rate that regeneration has been slower than the rate of extraction. Some of the parts collected are often discarded later. The barks of roots and stems served as important sources of chewing sticks (Table 1) in most of the identified botanicals. Debarking of stems and roots had been identified as one of the highest destructive extractive technique commonly observed in Nigeria (Fasola and Egunyomi 2002). Studies by Cuningham (1988), John (1988) and Peters (1996) had revealed that debarking often kills plant species. Although most of the chewing sticks species were perennials, most, as observed by Shinwari and Khan (2000) required prolonged period of growth with considerable number of years required to reach flowering and fruiting stage, thus minimizing their regenerating possibilities. The relative regrowth capabilities of the indigenous trees and shrubs in the study area were not studied. Thus, predation and annihilation usually results in increasing scarcity of species.

   Field observation during the study revealed that there is an increasing conversion of valuable natural environment to monoculture plantation of exotic timber and agriculture in the study area, thus there is the likelihood of the continued erosion of botanical diversity and the common traditional values of the ‘minor forest products’ such as chewing sticks. Most of the identified species were essentially rich in natural products, most of which were relatively free of side effects, thus they may become the base for the development of medicine, a natural blueprint for the development of new drugs.

   In conclusion, an urgent conservation strategy should be evolved to preserve these species for the use of the present and future generations. Such strategy should encourage the domestication of botanicals identified, improve their methods of harvesting and processing, research further on the  biology of the spices with the aim of providing clue to their ecology, enlighten the populace about the dangers in the loss of biological diversity, and accommodate the indigenous farmers in both planning and execution of the strategy. Also, in-situ and ex-situ conservation methods should be embarked upon. These, according to Shinwari and Khan (2000) should involve the protection of plant species in their natural habitats followed by ex-situ devices by growing important species and subsequently re-introducing them into their natural environment.

 

REFERENCES

 

Adekunle, A. A. and Odukoya, K.A. (2006) Antifungal Activities of Ethanol and Aqueous Crude Extracts of Four Nigerian Chewing Sticks. EthnoBotanical Leaflets http://www.siu/-ebl/leaflets

 

Akande, J.A.and Hayashi, Y. (1998) Potency of extract contents from selected tropical chewing sticks against Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus auricularis. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 14: 235-238.

 

Cunningham, A. B. (1988) Collection of wild plant food in Tembe Thonga Society: A guide to Iron age gathering activities? Annals of the Natal Musuem 29(2): 433-446.

 

EL-Said, F., Fadulu, S. O., Kuye. J. O. and Sofowora, E. A. (1971) Native cures in Nigeria Part II: The antimicrobial properties of the buffer extract of chewing sticks. Lioydia 34: 172 – 174.

 

Enwowu, C.O. (1974) Socio-economic factors in the dental caries prevalence and frequency. Nigerian Carries Research 8:155-177.

 

Fasola, T. R. and Egunyomi,  A. (2002) Bark extractivism and uses of some medicinal plants. Nigerian Journal of Botany 15: 26-30.

 

Gurevitch, J., Scheiner, S. M. and Fox, G. A. (2002) The ecology of plants. Sinauer Associates Inc. Publishers, Massachusetts, USA., p. 15.

 

Homman, A. K. O. (1994) Plant extrativism in the Amazon: Limitations and possibilities. Pp. 34-57. In M. Ctusener -God and  I. Sachs (Eds.). Extractivism on Regional Development, MAB Digest 18, UNESCO, Paris.

 

Isawumi, M. A. (1978a) Nigerian chewing sticks. Nigerian Field 43 (2): 50-58.

 

Isawumi, M. A. (1978b) Nigerian chewing sticks. Nigerian Field 43(3): 111-121.

 

Isawumi, M. A. (1978c) Nigerian chewing sticks. Nigerian Field 43(4): 161-170.

 

Isawumi, M. A. (1979) Nigerian chewing sticks. Nigerian Field 44: 21-28.

 

Johns, A. D. (1988) Effects of ‘selective’ timber extraction on rainforest structure and composition and some consequencies for frugivores and folivores. Biotropica 20: 31-37.

 

Kayode, J., Ibitoye, O. A. and Olufayo, O. (1997) Private participation in taungya agroforestry in Ondo -Ekiti Region: Problems and prospects. International Journal of Urban and Regional Affairs 1(1): 54-57.

 

Kayode, J. (1999) Phytosociological investigation of compositae weeds in abandoned farmland in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Compositae Newsletter 34: 62-68.

 

Kayode, J. and Kadeba, O. ( 2001) Indigenous fuelwood tree species in rural areas of Ekiti                        State, Nigeria. African Scientist 2(4): 111-116.

 

Kayode, J. (2002) Conservation and ethnobotanical exploration of compositae in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Compositae Newsletter 37: 79 – 83.

 

Kayode, J. (2004) Conservation Perception of Endangered Tree Species by Rural Dwellers of Ekiti State, Nigeria. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 19(4): 1-9.

 

Kayode, J. (2005) Ethno botanical survey and conservation of medicinal compositae species in Benin Kingdom, Nigeria. Compositae Newsletter 42: 48-54. 

 

Kayode, J. (2006) Conservation of indigenous medicinal botanicals in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE-B  7 (9): 713-718.

 

Lipp, F. J. (1989) Methods of Ethno-pharmacological field work. Journal of Ethno-pharmacology 25: 139-150.

 

Molnar, A. (1989) Community Forestry: A rapid appraisal. FAO. Rome, p. 60.

 

Peters, C. M. (1996) Observations on the sustainable exploitation of non-timber tropical forest    products: An ecologist’s perspective. Pp. 19-41. In M. Ruiz-Perez and J. E. M. Arnold (Eds.), Current issues in non -timber forest products research, CIFOR-ODA, Rogor Camp Workshop.

 

Rotimi, V.O., Laughon, B.E., Bartlett, J.G. and Mosadomi, H.A. (1988). Activities of Nigerian chewing sticks extracts against bacteriodes -gingivalis and bacteriodes-melaninogenicus. Antimicrobiological Agents and Chemotherapy 32(4): 598-600.

 

Shinwari, M. I. and Khan, M. A. (2000) Folk use of medicinal herbs of Magalla Hills National Park, Islamabad. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 69:  45-56.  

 

Ugoji, E, Egwari, L. O. and Obisesan, B. (2000) Antibacterial activities of aqueous extracts of ten African chewing sticks on oral pathogens. Nig. Journal of Internal medicine 3(1): s7-11.

 

 

Table 1. List of chewing sticks botanicals in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

S/N  Local                       Botanical                     Family                      Part

         Name                     Name                                                            Used

1.   Adodo yelo     Duranta  eracta                     Verbenaceae         stem

2.   Afefe              Trema  orientalis                  Ulmaceae               stem

3  Agunmaniye    Gliricidia  sepium                 Fabaceae                stem

4   Ahuun             Alstonia    boonei                Apocynaceae           stem

5  Ajekobale         Croton  zambesicus            Euphorbiaceae         stem

6 Akomu              Pycnanthus angolensis      Myristicaceae           stem

7  Aliofera             Aloe vera                            Asphodelaceae        stem

8  Arusa                Bridelia  micrantha             Euphorbiaceae         stem

9  Arumu               Cynometra vogelii              Caesalpiniaceae       stem

10. Arunje             Harungana madagascariensis  Clusiaceae         stem                                                                           

11 Ata                         Capsicum  annuum              Solanaceae        stem

12  Atampara         Phaulopsis  imbricata           Acanthaceae         stem                                                                             

13 Atori                  Glyhaea  brevis                    Tiliaceae               stem

14 Ayin                        Anogeissus  leiocarpus       Combretaceae   stem

15. Dongoyaro       Azadirachta indica                 Meliaceae            stem

16. Efirin                Ocimum  gratissimum          Asteraceae             stem

17 Egun eja            Diospyros monbuttensis        Ebenabaceae        stem

18  Eesin               Alchornea cordifolia               Euphorbiaceae    stem

19 Ewuro               Vernonia  amygdalina           Asteraceae           stem/roots

20. Ogege            Jatropha multifida                   Euphorbiaceae     stem               

21. Guafa              Psidium  guajava                   Malvaceae           stem

22.Hibisicosi         Hibiscus rosa-sinensis            Malvaceae           stem

23. Ifon                   Olax   subscorpoidea            Olacaceae            stem

24. Isin eye              Blighia  sapida                    Sapindaceae         stem

25. Iseketu               Sida acuta                          Malvaceae             stem

26  Ito                       Milletia   thonningii              Fabaceae            stem

27. Iya / pepe           Alchornea   laxiflora            Euphorbiaceae    stem

28. Iyeree                Zanthoxylum  xanthoxyoides  Rutaceae          stem/root

29. Kaju                   Anacardium occidentale         Anacardiaceae  stem

30. Kasia                 Senna siamea                         Fabaceae             stem

31. Koko                  Theobroma cacao                  Sterculiaceae      root

32. Lapalapa funfun Jatropha  curcas                    Euphorbiaceae   stem

33 .Lapalapa pupa    Jatropha gossypiifolia            Euphorbiaceae  stem

34. Mangoro               Mangifera  indica                 Anacardiaceae  stem

35. Ogan                    Combrentum racemosum     Combretaceae    stem

36. Ogbase                 Sarcocephalus latifolius       Rubiaceae          stem

37. Okuta                     Garcina  mannii                   Clusiaceae        stem

38. Orogbo                   Garcinia kola                       Clusiaceae        stem

39. Orombo lemonu     Citrus aurantifolia                Rutaceae          stem

40. Orokoro                  Mallotus oppositifolius        Euphorbiaceae  stem

41. Otomporo               Sida corymbosa                  Sterculiaceae      stem

42. Otupe                     Carpolobia  lutea                Polygalaceae      stem

43.  Pako-Ijebu           Masscularia acuminate        Rubiaceae           stem

44. Piaa                    Persea  gratissima             Lauraceae              stem

45. Udi                          Termilia schimperiana        Combretaceae  stem

46 Uoo                       Buchholyiia  coriacea           Capparaceae     stem

47. Ule                       Calliandra  portoricensis         Fabaceae        stem

48. Ura                       Bridelia     ferruginea           Euphorbiaceae   stem

49. Ure                       Clerodendrum  buchholzii     Verbenaceae     stem

      

 

 

 

Table 2. Similarity measures on the occurrence of tree flora in the three zones of the study area.

  Zones

   ES(%)

      SJ

      SSD

      SO

      SAS

EN-EC

      87

    3.03    

    0.47    

   2.08 

    3.33

EN-ES

    100

    3.33

    0.50

   2.45 

    3.33

EC-ES

      87

    3.03

    0.47  

   2.08 

    3.33

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig: 1: Map of Nigeria showing Ekiti State of Nigeria.

KEY:  X: Ekiti Central , Y: Ekiti South, Z: Ekiti North.

Fig. 2: Map of Ekiti State Showing the study sites used.


Table 3. List of cultivated chewing sticks botanicals in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

Species                      Major products obtainable from cultivation

A. occidentale             Fruits and medicine

A. indica                      Medicine and wind control

A. vera                        Medicine

C. annuum                  Fruits

C. aurantifolia              Fruits

G. sepium                    Yam Stakes, fuel wood, fodder, wind control

H. rosa-sinensis           Ornamental

J. curcas                      Boundary and erosion control

J. gossypifolia              Boundary and erosion control

J. multifida                    Boundary and erosion control

M. indica                      Fruits and medicine

P. gratissima                Fruits

S. siamea                     Wind control and shade

T. cacao                       Fruits

V. amygdalina              Leafy vegetable and medicine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 4. List of scarce chewing sticks species in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

Species               Other major folk products obtainable from the species

A. boonei             Timber, Medicine form its leaves, stem and roots

A. leiocarpus        Timber, Medicine from its stems and seeds

B. ferruginea        Medicine from its roots, stems and leaves

C. buchnoizii        Medicine form its leaves and roots

C. zambesicus     Medicine form its stem, roots and leaves

G. kola                 Edible fruits. Medicine from its stem, roots and leaves

G. mannii             Medicine from its stem and roots

H. madagascariensis  Medicine from its stem and roots

M. acuminata        Medicine from its stem and roots

M. thonngii           Medicine from its stem and roots

O. subscorpoidea  Medicine from its stem, roots and leaves

P. imbricata           Medicine from its stem

P. angolensis         Timber, Medicine from its stem, roots and leaves

T. orientalis           Medicine from its stem and leaves

Z. xanthoxyoides   Medicine from its stem and roots 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 5. Socio-economic classification of respondents’ urban dwellers in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

Feature                    Description

                       % of Respondents

EN         ES        EC      AVERAGE TOTAL

SEX

Male

35          30          32                  32.%

Female

65          70          68                  68%

AGE

Less than 10years

2              1             2                   2%

Between 1-50 years

30          28           33                 31%

Above 50 years

68          71           66                 68%

LITERACY STATUS

Literate

 

60          36           38                 38%

Illiterate

60          64           62                63%

ECONOMIC STATUS

Small

42          40           41                41%

Medium

30          33           30                 31%

Large  

28          27           29                28%