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The use of plant for beauty care solutions dates back to antiquity and various testimonials inform us on the use of plants in beauty care treatment during the ancient period. Women of the ancient world used the grounded leaves and seeds of plants on their hair, face and over-all body, drank herbal tonics and oil obtained from herbs for different body massages. These treatments were used during that time in countries like Rome, China and Latin America. Indian Ayurveda too has been promoting the use of herbs for skin and beauty care for over 5000 years (Annonymous, 2006).
Plants can be used for beauty in original or compound form. They act against the internal impurities and external toxins of our body, and add additional nutrients to it to make it glow and shine. Plant provides natural flawless treatment to our skin, nourish it leading to its internal development.
In addition, plants play an important role in the life of all mankind including the animals. It is from the plant we derive the food we eat, oxygen for respiration, shelter, cloth and medicine which are the basic requirements for one to survive. The use of plants for traditional medicine has a wide range of accessibility. Different tradition and culture in a particular area used plants around them to cure different ailments. According to World Health Organization (WHO, 1976), traditional medicine is an integral part of the culture of people who practice it. Moreover, it reflected not only the culture but social, moral, believes and religious background of the people that were present in a given community. Many diseases are cured by the use of the plants such as skin diseases, diabetes, diarrhea, hypertension, ulcer and asthma etc. It was reported by Farnsworth & Soejarto (1991) and WHO (2002) that about 70-80% of people all over the world rely on traditional herbal medicine to meet their primary health care needs and this shows how important these medicinal plants are to the world. Therefore, medicinal plants have been used for millennia in virtually all cultures and serve both as a source of income and a source of affordable healthcare (World Bank, 1997). Hamilton (2004) documented that about 53,000 plant species are used for medicinal purposes worldwide. Also, the world market for traditional medicine in 2008 was calculated to be worth US $83 billion (WHO, 2011). Traditional and folkloric medicines bequeathed through generations are rich in domestic recipes and communal practice and the use of traditional medicines and medicinal plants has been widely observed in most developing countries (Shinwari, 2010). Hamilton (2004) estimated up to 15-39% of total income from the sale of medicinal plants for people living in developing countries.
Historically, plants do not only provide human with food but also with means of healing and this has made the use of plants as medicine, as was practiced by our ancestors, to be the major sources of medicine and plant secondary metabolites and have been attributed to most plants’ therapeutic activities. However, concerns are being raised about the loss of native knowledge and the possible extinction of medicinal plant resources due to disruptions in traditional ways of life induced by colonial forces (Borins 1995, Buenz 2005, Uprety et al., 2011). Hence proper documentation of traditional knowledge regarding plant use, along with conservation and sustainable management of key habitats could contribute to safeguarding this heritage (Bannister, 2006). Medical plants have been used in virtually all cultures as a source of medicine. The wide spread use of herbal remedies and the health care preparations, as described in ancient texts such as the Vedas and the Bible, has been traced to the occurrence of natural products with medicinal properties(Horeau and Dasilva,1999). The use of traditional medicine and medicinal plants in most developing countries as a normative basis for the maintenance of good health has been widely observed (UNESCO,1996). Furthermore, an increasing reliance on the use of medicinal plants in industrialized societies has been traced to the extraction and development of several drugs and chemotherapeutics from these plants as well as traditionally used rural herbal remedies (UNESCO, 1998). Moreover in these societies, herbal remedies have become more popular in the treatment of minor ailments, and also on account of the increasing cost of personal health maintenance. Indeed, the market and public demand has been so great that many medicinal plants today face either extinction or loss of genetic diversity. Plants are an integral component of ethnoveterinary medicine. Farmers have been using medicinal plants in maintenance and conservation of health of their livestock (Horeau and DaSilva, 1999). These are some common plants used in beauty care: eg Henna, Neem tree, Cashew, Paw-paw tree, Parkia biglobosa and Baobab.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESERCH PROBLEM
In recent years, there is an extensive cutting down, burning and deteriorating of plants and due to other effects of human activities such as roads construction, building purposes, mining activities, and many other effects that may lead to genetic erosion of plants and also finally result to the extinction of plants. These custodians are decreasing in number due to death and other unforeseen circumstances and hence there is a need to document the plants used in beauty care in different societies. A number of reports on plants have been documented around the world (Saikia et.al., 2006). This type of information could be useful to the scientific community on the conservation of these biological resources.
The role of plants in beauty care in our modern society cannot be overemphasized. It is known that most of the beneficiaries and users of those plants are from rural areas that cannot afford the purchase of the modern ones due to higher cost; but now, scientists use the extract from these medicinal plants for the production of many modern ones that are used presently. The research work is carried out to document the plants that are used in beauty care among the Fulani’s in Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto state.
1.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objective of this work is to identify and document plants that are used in beauty care among the Fulani tribe in Wamakko Local Government Area, Sokoto State. The
influence of culture and fashion as beauty perceived in modern societies is also studied.