Plant use among the Suri people of southern Ethiopia: a system of knowledge in danger?

TitlePlant use among the Suri people of southern Ethiopia: a system of knowledge in danger?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsG.J. Abbink
Secondary TitleAfrikanistische Arbeitspapiere : Schriftenreihe des Kölner Instituts für Afrikanistik
Pagination199 - 206
Date Published2002///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsEthiopia, folk medicine, medicinal plants, southern ethiopia, Sudan, Suri

This article summarizes some findings of research on plant names and plant use of the Suri people (more widely known by outsiders as "Surma"), a relatively isolated group of agro-pastoralists in the border area of Southwest Ethiopia and Sudan. The research was carried out as part of a long-term anthropological study on the Suri in the years 1992-1999. The most prevalent health problems of the Suri are intestinal and stomach diseases, parasites, malaria, infections and burns. For several of these afflictions the Suri have indigenous medicine and surgery. However, they are now beginning to demand modern medicine (tablets, ointments, injections) when they see that it is available. The traditional ethno-medicinal knowledge is uncritically replaced. This is not to say that all Suri traditional knowledge was healthy and effective. But the transition to "modern medicine" is made without a proper testing and investigation of the workings and the potential of the Suri plants and medical practices in use until now. Bibliogr., notes

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