Botanica Ethiopia

Giant Lobelia, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Giant Lobelia, Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Botanica Ethiopia: A Living Pharmacy

A joint project (J655N) with Global Development Group, an Australian NGO that carries out humanitarian projects and provides long term solutions to poverty. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to find out how to donate to support the sustainability of this endeavour.

This project was established in 2011 following my research into traditional herbal medicine in Ethiopia.

In my work towards a Masters degree in Clinical Science (Comp.Med.) 
I  researched Ethiopian traditional herbal practices, focussing on the rural town of Fiche. I  discovered that Ethiopia, like many cultures around the world, has a rich and fascinating history of traditional medicine. And, again as with many cultures, the knowledge of these practices and use of herbs is being lost due to (until recently) lack of documentation and lack of support.  This is in some measure being addressed by declarations made by the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and the Ethiopian Government itself that Traditional Medicine practices must be supported because:

  • Traditional Medicine forms the primary health care for the majority of rural communities
  • 80% of the population of Ethiopia uses traditional medicine
  • Biodiversity is being threatened, and increasing the knowledge of the herbs is a way of protecting species

The “Home Herbal Garden” concept is one that is proving incredibly successful in these aims, worldwide. A good example of this is the Indian Home Herbal Garden scheme; and now there are something like 190,000 such gardens in Indian communities producing indigenous herbs and providing an income in these communities, particularly for women.

A medicinal herb garden may benefit a community in several ways:

  • It will provide a source of safe and effective medicinal herbs for use as medicinal herb tea infusions, decoctions and topical skin applications to help address common ailments, as a first response to a family’s primary health care needs.
  •  It will help to support sustainable practices of growing medicinal plant species which may be under threat of extinction due to deforestation and loss of plant habitat
  • It will help to maintain and promote knowledge of medicinal herbs.  Such knowledge may also be under threat of extinction due to the lack of written documentation
It will help to support a community which may be disadvantaged and contribute to poverty alleviation and livelihood strategies

  • It will provide the potential for income building via sale of herbs and herb products at local markets

An important philosophy behind the project follows that of similar projects around the world, that of “endogenous development”.  This pays respect to indigenous knowledge, and application of that knowledge, and also full participation by local communities.

In completing my research, I worked with Dr. Hans Wohlmuth at Southern Cross University, and Dr. Zemede Asfaw of Addis Ababa University who has been generous with his knowledge and experience of the ethnobotany of Ethiopia, and with Dr. Tesfaye Awas of the the Ethiopian Institute of  Biodiversity who conducted an ethnobotanical survey of the area.

The Botanica Ethiopia medicinal herb garden project is doing well. The resourceful and active group in Fiche, Ethiopia, with the support of Botanica Ethiopia, formed the “Etse-Fewus (Healing Herbs) Association”.  Following the research, the group developed their own household herbal gardens and in recognition of their efforts, were awarded a block of community land by local council.  This land is now planted with the local medicinal herbs identified as used by the community and particularly those at risk of loss to the community by land degradation in surrounding areas.  They have now entered Stage II of the project which means scaling up to beekeeping and engaging with market for products.

Beehives are now on site and the Association is negotiating with local council who have indicated they will donate more land.

Botanica Ethiopia organised business skills training from local training organisation WISE (Women in Self Employment), who are experienced in providing training for members who may not be able to read or write. The 5 day training was a huge success and members are now working on writing a business plan for their activities


Blackmores Ltd.( start-up funds and further funds were donated by AACASA (the Australian African Children’s Aid Support Association (  The Blackmore Foundation further supported Stage II of the project.

Project Partner 
Botanica Ethiopia is proud to be a partner for project ‘J655N Botanica Ethiopia – A Living Pharmacy’ with Global Development Group (ABN 57 102 400 993), an Australian DFAT approved Non Government Organisaoin (NGO) carrying out humanitarian projects with approved partners and providing aid to relieve poverty. DFAT approved Non Government Organisation [NGO] carrying out humanitarian projects with approved partners and providing aid to relieve poverty. Global Development Group provides a governance role and assists in the areas of planning, monitoring, evaluating and auditing to ensure that project J655N Botanica Ethiopia – A Living Pharmacy is carried out to Australian requirements. Tax deductible receipts for donations to this approved aid and development project will be issued by Global Development Group for Project J655N Botanica Ethiopia – A Living Pharmacy. For more information about Global Development Group, visit


Australian donations ($2 and over) for eligible development activities are tax deductible.
J655N Botanica Ethiopia: A Living Pharmacy is an approved aid and development project of Global Development Group, an Australian NGO that carries out humanitarian projects and provides long term solutions to poverty. 
Bank account details for donations: Please be sure to quote Project Number J655N Ethopia Botanica: A Living Pharmacy. To inform of your donation and obtain your receipt please email informing of your deposit with project number (J655N) and donor’s details


Tax deductible donations can be made to Global Development Group in the follwing ways.  Please quote J655N Botanica Ethiopia: A Living Pharmacy in all cases. 

Direct deposit/internet banking into:

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Global Development Group

BSB 064118

Account Number:  10200094

Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners)

By telephone or through the GDG website


Payable to Global Development Group, through mail to Postal Address at:
56 Goorari Street, Eight Mile Plains, Qld 4113 Australia


Please use the following link:

You will need to create an account with Stewardship UK (with Global Development Group Australia as your recipient) and put the project name (J655N Botanica Ethiopia: A Living Pharmacy) in the Reference Section as you complete your donation. (Tip:  remember to note your username, password and PIN)
Please donate through the GDG USA website  or phone (423) 338-2277 or cell (863) 670-2142.

You may enter in the USD amount and receipts will be issued by the Global Development GDG office.  Please also send an email to, including the Project name (J655N Botanica Ethiopia:” a Living Pharmacy), and include your name, address and amount for receipt purposes.

Thymus schimperi 2            Aloe pulcherrima 3

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