Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. 2020, 68, 741-753
Published online 2020-08-30

Ethnobotanical Survey of Plants Used as Amulets Among the Banen Ethnic Group in Ndiki Sub-Division (Centre Region of Cameroon)

Madeleine Johnson1,2, Evariste Fongnzossie3

1Laboratoire TransCell Lab, Faculté de médecine Xavier Bichat, Rue Henri Huchard, PO Box 416 – 75870, France
2University of Hamburg, Biocentre Klein Flottbek & Botanical Garden - BEE- Ohnhorstrasse 18, D-22609 Hamburg, Germany
3University of Douala, Advanced Teacher's Training School for Technical Education, PO BOX 1872, Douala, Cameroon

Received March 8, 2019
Accepted July 14, 2020

An ethnobotanical survey was carried in Ndiki sub-division of the Central Region of Cameroon to collect information on the use of plants in the manufacture of amulets among the Banen ethnic group. Focus group discussions and interviews were carried out from 2004 to 2010 and from 2013 to 2015 with a total of 50 respondents (34 men and 16 female) to gather information about local names of plants used, type of management (wild/cultivated), availability (common, sporadic, rare), existing threats, part(s) used, preparation methods, effects of amulets, associated taboos/beliefs, etc. A total of 11 plant species were recorded as used as amulet. They include Aframomum melegueta (Zingiberaceae), Cissus aralioides (Rubiaceae), Costus afer (Zingiberaceae), Euphorbia kamerunica (Euphorbiaceae), Imperata cylindrica (Poaceae), Kigelia Africana (Bignoniaceae), Morinda morindoides (Bak) Milne-Redh (Rubiaceae), Ornithogalum sp. (Amaryllidaceae), Pentaclethra macrophylla (Mimosaceae), Platycerium angolense (Polypodiaceae), Trachyphrynium braunianum (Maranthaceae). The amulets are used to protect people and their property, inflict sentiments of respect and fear. In case of violation, the perpetrator faces diverse punishments including suddenly seeing a big snake, hearing of a deafening scream in their ears, various evil and skin diseases. He can be healed upon confession of his wrongdoing to the owner of the amulet. This study shows that the traditional knowledge on amulets is an important part of the living habits and culture of Banen people who still have a strong belief in their efficacy.


45 live references