Sunday, 22 November 2015

The local knowledge of medicinal plants trader and diversity of medicinal plants in the Kabanjahe traditional market, North Sumatra, Indonesia

Volume 175, 4 December 2015, Pages 432–443


Ethnopharmacological relevance

Market is the main place for transactions of medicinal plants and traditional ingredients by local community in the Karo regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia. This is the first study to document the local knowledge of traders on and the diversity of the medicinal plants. The investigation was carried out in the Kabanjahe traditional market, in the Karo regency. The research goal was to reveal the local knowledge, diversity and utilization of medicinal plants, which have been traded in the Kabanjahe traditional market, as a basis for conservation efforts.

Materials and methods

The study was conducted through ethnobotanical approach using market surveys. All traders of medicinal plants were surveyed applying in-depth interviews and participative observations. Data were analyzed qualitatively using descriptive statistics. The diversity of medicinal plants was expressed in term of the Shannon–Wiener diversity index (H'), whereas the similarity among traders was indicated by Jaccard index (Ji).


Traders of medicinal plants stored the simplicia of medicinal plants in chest of drawers, plastic baskets, plastic bags, and in the air by suspending them from the the stall ceilings. We recorded 344 species, 217 genera and 90 families of medicinal plants. Those that were sold mostly belong to Zingeberaceae (20 species), Poaceae (19 species), and Asclepiadaceae (17 species), and the species received high consumers demand, mostly belong to Zingiberaceae, Rutaceae, and Asclepidiaceae. Asclepidiaceae was used to treat diseases like cancer and heart problems. The Shannon–Wiener diversity index of medicinal plants at the Kabanjahe traditional market was high (H'= 5.637). The high Jaccard similarity index (Ji>0.56) suggested that the traders were trading similar species of medicinal plants.


Kabanjahe traditional market is the center for the sale of of medicinal plants as traditional ingredients. Several species are well known for their pharmacological properties but others, [such as: Dischidia imbricata (Blume) Steud., Dischidia nummularia R.Br., Hoya macrophylla Blume, and Hoya coriacea Blume] have been used for cancer treatment by local communities, but pharmacologically unknown, hence they are promising candidates for further investigation.

Graphical abstract



  • Medicinal plants;
  • Kabanjahe;
  • North Sumatra

Corresponding author.