Prospects of ethnobotanical uses of Thonningia sanguinea Vahl. (Balanophoraceae) among selected tribes in southern Nigeria
Parasitic plants are often time not recognized for their ecological and medicinal potentials but rather as weeds that oblige instant elimination. The present study is aimed at exploring the ethnobotanical potentials of Thonningia sanguinea, an understudied, holoparasitic plant in Southern Nigeria. Primary information about the plant was collected from randomly selected respondents from 18 ethnic groups (Bini, Boki, Efik, Ejagham, Esan, Etolu, Hausa, Etsako, Hausa, Igala, Igbo, Ijaw, Isoko, Kwale, Owan, Urhobo, and Yoruba) in 30 locations, through oral interview and a well-structured questionnaires. The result showed that a significant percentage of the respondents (75%) recognize T. sanguinea as an herbal remedy against aliments such as anemia, aphrodisiac, appetite restorer, asthma, child delivery, condiment, cough suppressant, diarrhea, infant illness, rheumatism, skin infection, sore throat, and stomach upset. Amongst these, its use as an appetite restorer appears to be the most prevalent. All parts of the plants are of significant importance. Nevertheless, the inflorescence bract was the most used. These sets of information indicate that T. sanguinea, although parasitic in nature, is indeed a promising plant with great potentials and therefore should be given more research attention and conservation priority.