Diversity of plants used for oral hygiene in Benin
Yédomonhan Hounnankpon, Dangboe Nestor and Houénon Hurgues
The use of plant brush is the oral hygiene measure most practiced by different set of people throughout the world since antiquity. The objective of this work is to establish a more or less exhaustive list of plants used for oral hygiene in Benin. The study was conducted through ethno botanical surveys on 1,697 respondents, from 26 districts and 27 ethnic groups. A total of 163 species in 132 genera and 47 families have been identified as plants used for oral hygiene in Benin. Most of them are trees (47.24%) and shrubs (39.26%), and Azadirachta indica (27.05%), Prosopis africana (15.62%), Pseudocedrela kotschyi (14.91%) and Zanthoxylumzanthoxyloides (8.90%). The number of species mentioned per respondent varies from 1 to 12. The best categories contributing to the diversity of these plants are adults who hold 89% of the flora for oral use, illiterate (89%), farmers (89%), Christians (75%) and animists (73%) then the fon (39%) and bariba (28%). The plant organs used are the stem (97.08%) and the root (28.56%). We use four criteria to select them: the taste (37.41% of which 23.51% for bitter taste and 13.50% for bland taste), tenderness (30.47%), therapeutic properties (5, 66%) and organ availability (3.24%).