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Portland State University

Publication Date

Fall 2021

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


The questions that this study aimed to answer were: how are indigenous plants used for medicine, and spiritual practices by the indigenous Bagungu communities? What effect has colonization and globalization had on the knowledge of plants held by indigenous Bagungu communities? And how is the knowledge the Bagungu people hold of traditional plant use preserved through the generations? The methods used to answer these questions were key informant interviews with five herbalists and seven clan custodians from the Bagungu community, and questionnaires administered to 31 Bagungu community members between the ages of 27 and 83. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis and descriptive analysis. The findings were that all respondents had knowledge of medicinal plants and used them personally and that some clans have sacred plants that are used from shrines and rituals. It was also found that globalization has had a significant effect on the Bagungu culture. There appears to be a concerted effort to preserve the knowledge of medicinal plants, but not the traditional religious beliefs and practices. Based on these findings, the recommendations are that more of an effort should be placed on teaching and conserving Bagungu culture, and more research should be done in documenting the medicinal plant knowledge of the Bagungu.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Biodiversity | Human Ecology | Indigenous Studies | Place and Environment | Plant Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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