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Uses of ganoderma and other mushrooms as medicine in Oshana and Ohangwena regions of Northern Namibia

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Basidiomycetes fungi, including Ganoderma lucidum, have a variety of uses such as providing nutrition and medical remedies. The mushroom G. lucidum has been used for a long time to cure liver problems, heart condition, asthma, cancer, high blood pressure and arthritis. Recently, it has been associated with boosting immune systems in HIV infected persons. It is for these reasons that the mushroom has attracted a lot of attention leading to proposals of cultivating to increase supply to the Southern African market. This study was initiated with the objective of determining the uses of Ganoderma species and other mushrooms by local communities in Oshana and Ohangwena Regions of northern Namibia. A survey was conducted in the 10% households of each of the two northern regions of Namibia. A questionnaire for face-to-face interviews was designed and applied to the two Regions. The information survey has revealed that Ganoderma species have a variety of other traditional uses including veterinary applications, while other five species of mushrooms are used as nerve calming tonics and as treatment of skin infections. The study found out that those interviewed in Ohangwena Region use more mushrooms for medicinal purposes than those interviewed in Oshana Region.

Article Citation:
Kadhila-Muandingi PN and Chimwamurombe PM.
Uses of Ganoderma and other Mushrooms as Medicine in Oshana and Ohangwena regions of Northern Namibia.
Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 146-151.

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http://www.jagri.info/documents/AG0027.pdf

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Uses of ganoderma and other mushrooms as medicine in Oshana and Ohangwena regions of Northern Namibia

  1. 1. Uses of Ganoderma and other Mushrooms as Medicine in Oshana and Ohangwena regions of Northern Namibia Keywords: Ganoderma lucidum, Medicinal uses, Ohangwena, Oshana. ABSTRACT: Basidiomycetes fungi, including Ganoderma lucidum, have a variety of uses such as providing nutrition and medical remedies. The mushroom G. lucidum has been used for a long time to cure liver problems, heart condition, asthma, cancer, high blood pressure and arthritis. Recently, it has been associated with boosting immune systems in HIV infected persons. It is for these reasons that the mushroom has attracted a lot of attention leading to proposals of cultivating to increase supply to the Southern African market. This study was initiated with the objective of determining the uses of Ganoderma species and other mushrooms by local communities in Oshana and Ohangwena Regions of northern Namibia. A survey was conducted in the 10% households of each of the two northern regions of Namibia. A questionnaire for face-to-face interviews was designed and applied to the two Regions. The information survey has revealed that Ganoderma species have a variety of other traditional uses including veterinary applications, while other five species of mushrooms are used as nerve calming tonics and as treatment of skin infections. The study found out that those interviewed in Ohangwena Region use more mushrooms for medicinal purposes than those interviewed in Oshana Region. 146-151 | JRA | 2012 | Vol 1 | No 2 This article is governed by the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/2.0), which gives permission for unrestricted use, non-commercial, distribution and reproduction in all medium, provided the original work is properly cited. www.jagri.info Journal of Research in Agriculture An International Scientific Research Journal Authors: Kadhila-Muandingi PN 1 and Chimwamurombe PM1 . Institution: 1. Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Namibia. Corresponding author: Kadhila-Muandingi PN. Email: nmuandingi@unam.na Web Address: http://www.jagri.info documents/AG0027.pdf. Dates: Received: 31 Jul 2012 Accepted: 28 Aug 2012 Published: 01 Nov 2012 Article Citation: Kadhila-Muandingi PN and Chimwamurombe PM. Uses of Ganoderma and other Mushrooms as Medicine in Oshana and Ohangwena regions of Northern Namibia. Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 146-151 Original Research Journal of Research in Agriculture JournalofResearchinAgriculture An International Scientific Research Journal
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Mushrooms have long been valued as tasty, nutritious food by different societies throughout the world. In the developing world, including Africa, mushrooms are used as food and medicine in many societies. Mushrooms offer tremendous applications as they can be used as food and medicines besides their key ecological roles. They represent as one of the world’s greatest untapped resources of nutrition and palatable food of the future. Mushrooms as functional foods are used as nutrient supplements to enhance immunity in the form of tablets, (Wani et al., 2010). In addition, some mushrooms promote good health and vitality and have been tried with some success in the therapy of cancer, viral diseases, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, impaired blood platelet aggregation and hypertension, (Ambali et al., 2008). In Africa, however, the medicinal and nutritional importance of mushrooms has not been adequately studied and documented, (Munyanziza and Oldeman, 1996). In the developed world, mushrooms now occupy a central position in natural products research such as medicine and food. For instance, there is now an increasing evidence that mushrooms have a wide range of medicinally important compounds that have anticancer and antiviral activity; offering great hope for the development of new drugs for ailments like HIV/AIDS, Avian influenza and the many cancers that afflict humanity today (Chang and Miles, 2004). Indigenous peoples around the world have sought knowledge of physical reality throughout the ages. Their understanding of the physical universe is codified in their indigenous knowledge systems. A major component of these systems is ethnobotanical knowledge, which refers to a cumulative body of traditional knowledge about the interaction between human societies and the plant kingdom, and, more specifically, how indigenous people perceive, manage, and utilize the plants around them (Suminguit, 2005). Ethnobotanical knowledge can serve as an effective development tool to improve the living conditions of indigenous communities without degrading the environment. It can be used to increase and enhance livelihood options, revitalize agriculture, increase food security, improve health and promote a sense of cultural pride within the community. In Namibia, the utilization of wild mushrooms as food is very common, wild edible fungi provide two main benefits to the people, as a source of food and income. It is very common to see people, particularly young women selling mushrooms by the roadside just after the start of the rainy season. Termitomyces schimperi, Terfezia pfeilii (Kalahari Desert truffles) are some of the most hunted wild mushrooms in rural areas of Namibia (Mshigeni and Chang, 2000). The awareness on wild edible mushrooms and their importance to people is generally poor and many of the collections done are for personal use (Mshigeni and Chang, 2000). Ganoderma (Basidiomycota: Ganodermatales) is a genus of wood-inhabiting fungus on monocots, dicots, and gymnosperms. Some species are saprophytic, but several are pathogens that cause decay in roots, butts, and trunks of living trees. Ganoderma species contain protein-bound polysaccharides known to have medicinal properties (Dupler, 2001). In the last 20 years, 147 Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 146-151 Muandingi and Chimwamurombe,2012 Figure1. Map of Namibia showing the study area (Oshana and Ohangwena regions). 500 0 500 1000 N EW S Study areaNamibia Km Oshana Ohangwena Study area
  3. 3. Ganoderma has been tested in human clinical studies and is thought to be beneficial for a wide variety of disorders, including neurasthenia, insomnia, rhinitis, and duodenal ulcers (Ying, 1987). MATERIALS AND METHODS All the two regions are situated in the northern part of Namibia. They share the borders, but the vegetation types, soil types and the annual rainfall differ (Mendelsohn et al., 2000). Ohangwena region has an area of about 10,582 km2 and a population of 227,728; while Oshana region is about 5,290 km2 and a population of 161,977 (Central Bureau of Statistic and National Planning Commission of Namibia, 2003). The people living in Oshana and Ohangwena region speak the same dialect which is Oshiwambo. A questionnaire was used to get information on indigenous knowledge on the uses of Ganoderma mushrooms. This questionnaire was administered face-to-face to community members from 10% of households in the selected villages. This means, if there are 100 households in the village, only 10 of these households were interviewed. The face-to face method was used because of illiteracy and communication gap within the targeted communities, the questions needed to be explained clearly to the respondents. In each interview, direct questions were used and, on several occasions, fresh or dry Ganoderma mushrooms were shown as stimuli. At the household level only elders were asked, this is done to make sure that the information collected will be trustworthy. The interviews were done in Oshiwambo, the language which is spoken in both Ohangwena and Oshana regions. The questionnaire was meant to get information on the uses of Ganoderma species only, but any other information on the use of other mushrooms was also recorded. RESULTS The above figure shows that male respondents were more than females and this demonstrates that men know more about the medicinal use of mushrooms than their female counterparts. According to the people interviewed in this study, more than six mushroom species are used for medicinal purposes in Oshana and Ohangwena regions as shown in the figure above. Ganoderma is at the third position and the Amanita species which are poisonous mushrooms, used on arrows when hunting. In total, 51 questionnaires were completed during the study, 26 in Oshana and 25 in Ohangwena. The interviews were done in the villages whose field’s samples for Ganoderma species were collected. In both the regions, interviews were also done in some villages which were not sampled but accessible. All the people Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 146-151 148 Muandingi and Chimwamurombe, 2012 Figure 2. Positive response according to gender on the use of mushrooms for medicinal purposes from both the regions. Respondent(%) Male Female Figure 3. Positive responses on the use of mushrooms for medicinal purposes as per region. Respondent(%) Oshana Ohangwena
  4. 4. interviewed in both the regions know mushrooms especially the most edibles ones, but knew less about the medicinal value of the mushrooms. In Oshana, only the people who relocated from Ohangwena to Oshana knew the medicinal value of mushrooms, including the Ganoderma species, while in Ohangwena most people interviewed during the study knew the medicinal value of more than one mushroom. Among all the people interviewed in Oshana, only 34% use mushrooms for medicinal purposes compared to 62% in Ohangwena region. In most of the households, only men were willing to respond, as a result most of the answers were given by men. The questionnaire also revealed some of the mushrooms which were not known or considered to be of medicinal value by the researcher as shown on figure 3. DISCUSSION Indigenous knowledge of medicinal mushroom use is linked to local culture and history. It should therefore be regarded as a body of knowledge that has continually developed without the outside interference of formal science (Opige et al., 2006). The main component of this study was to determine the use of Ganoderma species as a medicinal mushroom in Ohangwena and Oshana regions of Northern Namibia. No studies have been conducted to measure the cultural significance of fungi in Namibia. For this reason this study was carried out to learn more on the traditional mushroom knowledge of the people living in Ohangwena and Oshana regions. Mushroom knowledge in both the regions was extensive. This study was designed to document the traditional knowledge on the use of Ganoderma mushrooms but it also generated more information on the uses of other mushroom species. The study obtained detailed information about several aspects of traditional mushroom knowledge as can be seen on table-1. According to the information obtained from the questionnaire, it can be said that Ganoderma mushrooms have been playing a role in the daily lives of the local communities for a very long time, because it is reported 149 Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 146-151 Muandingi and Chimwamurombe, 2012 Local name Scientific name Edibility Substrate Medicinal properties Purpose Owowa/Oova Termitomyces schimperi Yes Termite mound Yes Wounds in children’s heads (used in a cream form mixed with oil) Uuhilili/ Okahauhwilili Termitomyces sagittiformis Yes Humus in cultivated or open field Yes Wounds in children’s heads (used in a cream form mixed with oil) Omatumbula Terfezia pfeilii Yes Not known, but grow underground in the soil Yes Eye treatment (rushed and mixed with water) Oshaamuya/ Oshihamuya Termitomyces reticulatus Yes Surrounding termite moulds No Food Kakalahambo Panaeolus papilionaceus Yes Manure/cow dung No Food Omapakululu Ganoderma species No Tree stumps and poles of houses and fences (dead wood) Yes Stress (used in powder form) Okapaka Hexagonia tenuis No Poles and stumps of different trees Yes Shock and trauma or stress (used in liquid form) Omagege Amanita species No Mostly found everywhere (field and poles) Not known On arrows used for hunting Table 1. Types of mushrooms found in Oshana and Ohangwena region and their uses
  5. 5. to have been used in relieving stress when sniffed as ash mixed with tobacco, calming of nerves when put in water, used as a drink and healing of cold and flu symptoms when its smoke is inhaled and applied to infected skin to treat the wounds on children’s heads. The latter has also been confirmed in another study in Cameroon where they mix the crushed Ganoderma lucidum with oil to be used as ointment to treat skin infections (Yongabi et al., 2004). This mushroom is also said to have history in treating animal diseases, especially cattle when suffering from lung diseases and goats when having skin rush. It is said that the cattle herders crush the fruiting bodies of these mushrooms, add water and mix well before giving the animals to drink. The animals are said to stop coughing after taking the mixture for some days of which the caretaker could not specify as to how many. Unfortunately, no previous studies were done to confirm this information. Opige et al., 2006 reported that most of the mushrooms for medicinal use in Uganda are identified localy with their association to particular tree species were they grow from, this was not the case in this study here in Namibia, the local people here refere to them according to how they look like “omapakululu” something looking like the elephant ear. They also reported that it is normally found growing on either the roots or tree stumps which is the same case in the two regions. They stated that the patients are treated by inhaling the smoke or steam in a boiled mixture of water and the mushrooms are used to treat measeles and body pain, our finding was the same in Ohangwena region where people inhale smoke for the relief of flu and body aches. Traditional knowledge from Oshana and Ohangwena regions show that until today, in different places of the country, the indigenous people in these regions use other mushrooms also both for food and for medicinal purposes. It is not known how important mushrooms use as medicine is, as it appears to be important and known by the people included in this study from Ohangwena region, and not known how important to those included in this study from Oshana region (figure 3). Although Ganoderma mushrooms did not make it to the top of the six listed mushrooms used for medicinal purposes in the two regions as expected (figure 4), this study confirmed that it is used for medicinal purposes in Namibia as reported by previous authors in other countries (Munyanziza and Oldeman 1996, Mshigeni and Chang, 2000; Stamets and Wu Yao, 1999). These findings prove that there is a need for more research to be done on all indigenous mushrooms in order to document all essential information about mushrooms found in Namibia, something not done to date. CONCLUSION The documentation of medicinal mushrooms and the social as well as cultural practices associated with their use as medicine practice is a necessity. It is from such fundamental information where applied research can be carried out to develop the cultivation and improve on the use of both the medicinal and edible mushrooms in Namibia. This study revealed that Ganoderma species are used for medicinal purposes in Oshana and Ohangwena regions. These mushrooms are not only used Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 146-151 150 Muandingi and Chimwamurombe, 2012 Figure 4. Types of mushrooms used for medicinal purposes. (n=51) Usage(%) Types of mushrooms used for medicinal purpose
  6. 6. in treating human ailments, but also used in treating animals, for example in cattle, goats and chickens. To unleash the potential of their ethnobotanical knowledge as a tool for development with some sense of ownership and self-identity, there is a need to enhance the communities’ skills educating them about mushrooms to create employment opportunities in their communities. They need both short-term and long-term skills enhancement. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The authors acknowledged the ZERI Project for funding the research, without the assistance from this office, it could have been impossible to get the Ganoderma mushrooms. The authors also wish to thank the Government of the Republic of Namibia, specifically the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, for giving permission to access the fields for the collection of the mushrooms. And thanks to everyone for the support during the duration of this work. REFERENCES Ambali SF, Mamman M, Adaudi AO, Esievo KAN, Ibrahim NDG and Abubakar MS. 2008. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 11(3):398-403. Central bureau of statistic and national planning commission of Namibia. 2003. 2001 Population and housing census: National report basic analysis with highlights. Windhoek 12-15. Chang ST and Miles PG. 2004. Mushrooms cultivation, nutritional value, medicinal effect and environmental impact. CRC Press, Hong Kong. Dupler D. 2001. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Gale Group, Farmington Hills, MI, U.S.A. Mendelsohn J, Jarvis A, Roberts C and Robertson T. 2000. Atlas of Namibia: A portrait of the land and its people. David Philip Publishers, Cape Town. Mshigeni KE and Chang ST. 2000. A guide to successful mushroom farming: an agenda for developing Africa differently. University of Namibia, Windhoek. Munyanziza E and Oldeman RAA. 1996. Miombo trees: Ecological strategies, silviculture and management. Ambio., 25:454-458. Suminguit VJ. 2005. Rights: An enabling tool for development with identity1: Indigenous knowledge systems and intellectual property. Paper submitted for the workshop on traditional knowledge, the United Nations and indigenous peoples. Ying J. 1987. Icones of medicinal fungi from China. Translated by X. Yuehan. Beijing: Science Press. Yongabi K, Agho M and Martinez CD. 2004. Ethnomycological studies on wild mushrooms in Cameroon, Central Africa. Micologia Aplicada International, 16(2):34-36. Opige M, Kateyo E and Olila D. 2006. Indigenous knowledge and indigenous usage of edible and medicinal mushrooms among the Teso people of Eastern Uganda. Journal of Food Technology, 4(4):325-330. Stamets P and Wu Yao CD. 1999. Mycomedicinals an informational booklet on medicinal mushrooms. MycoMedia® Publications. Wani AB, Bodha RH and Wani AH. 2010. Nutritional and medicinal importance of mushrooms. University of Kashmir, India. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 4(24):2598-2604. 151 Journal of Research in Agriculture (2012) 1(2): 146-151 Muandingi and Chimwamurombe, 2012 Submit your articles online at www.jagri.info Advantages Easy online submission Complete Peer review Affordable Charges Quick processing Extensive indexing You retain your copyright submit@jagri.info www.jagri.info/Sumit.php.

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