Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants – Yoruba Names

As I know many of you are interested in finding out the yoruba names for different medicinal plants, I’ve done a research and found a few names for you, and also the use of the plants.

yoruba names napoleonaea imperialis

Yoruba Names for Medicinal Plants

Baphia, camwood, Sanderswood (Baphia nitida) – igiosun, irosun, awewi, owiwi, arase, ajolawo irosu – roots, leaves and stem for inflamation and skin infections. leaves analgesic, antiinflammatory, astringent, antidiarrheal, for waist pain, sprains, skin diseases, dislocation. Leaf sap applied as eye drops against jaundice. Leaf infusion drunk to cure enteritis and gastrointestinal problems. Leaves and bark – hemostatic, antiinflammatory, used for healing sores and wounds. A decoction of the bark drunk against epilepsy. ceremonial, magic, ritual, ritual dances, religious ceremonies, ceremonial masks, body paint, magic powers: in some regions the tree is considered sacred, to protect against evil spirits and to atract benevolent ones.

Benin camwood (Baphia pubescens) – awewi, awebi – ground root bark taken against asthma. Leaves decoction taken against jaundice and diabetes. Bark and leaves to treat constipation.

Bastard fig, false fig, urnfig (trilepisium madagascariense) – apongbe, koko eram, gangaran, ikobe, saworo; ukputu (edo); igobe (Itsekiri); otukhurhu (Urhobo); binu (Jjwa); oze (Igbo); katep nkim (Boki) – Bark for arthritis, rheumatism, stomach troubles, venereal diseases. Roots are used for cutaneous, subcutaneous parasitic infections. Bark, leaf, leaf sap for dysentery and diarhrhea, latex for eye treatments. Roots infusion mixed with porridge made out od finger miller flour – the porridge is drunk as a remedy for impotence. Medicine for cows. Magic.

Napoleonaea imperialis – irosun-igbo, boiboi, boribori, bongibongi – fruits and leaves – tonic, analgesic.

American calabash, calabash nutmeg, Jamaica nutmeg (Monodora myristica) – lakosin, abalakose, ariwo, ilakosin igbo – fruits and leaves carminative, antiparasitic, anthelmitic. Seeds used as a treatment for headaches, considered effective applied to sores, including those from Guinea worm. Powdered seeds used for removing lice. The essential oils showed antibacterial, stimulant, antimicrobial, anthelmintic and antifungal activity. Active against mites. Root chewed to relieve toothaches.

African nutmeg (Monodora tenuifolia) – ilakose, abo lakose, ilakosin, lakose, lakosin – Antibacterial, anthelmintic and antifungal, astringent, used for the treatment of toothache, dysentery. After roasting and grinding, the seeds are rubbed on the skin for skin diseases. Magic, rituals.

Strombosia grandifolia – itako pupa

African yellow wood (Enantia chlorantha) – yaru – Stem bark and roots astringent, febrifuge, antibacterial, for fevers, sleeping sickness, malaria, dysentery. Decoctions used in the traditional treatment of some forms of ulcers. Antimalarial activity of boiled water extracts.

Enantia polycarpa – osopupa – Antitrypanosomal and antiplasmodial activity. Antibacterial activity of the bark, the bark extract applied locally to ulcers and leprous spots, a decoction used for washing wounds, also believed to be antiseptic.

Xylopia parviflora – sesedo – Stem bark febrifuge, antinociceptive, for colds, skin diseases, infections. Bark and leaves as fish poison.

Xylopia Villosa – palufon dudu

Cussonia arborea – sigo, sigorolu
Cussonia bancoensis – oworoworo – Bark showed antinoceptive and antiinflamatory activities.

Bristly starbur, star burr, starbur, upright starbur (Acanthospermum hispidum) – Yoruba name: dagunro, dagunro gogoro – Potentially allergenic. Spiny fruits very troublesome. Leaf juice antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiplasmodial, purgative, used against malaria, fevers, bronchitis, leprosu, hemoorrhoids, stomachache, rheumatism, snakebite, sore throat, as a nose-drop to remedy headache. Decoction drunk for venereal diseases, yellow fever. Leaf paste for skin diseases and infections. veterinary medicine, leaves tonic.

Pink mahogany, tola wood (Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum) – losi erin, losineric – Stem exudate antiviral, for bronchitis

Chinese cotton, cotton, Indian tree cotton, silk cotton tree (Gossypium arboreum) – akese, awise – Used in Ayurveda, Unani and Sidha. Leaves and roots emmenagogue, astringent, for dysentery, dressing for sores, bruises and swellings. Infusion of crushed leaves antimicrobial, for diarrhea. Root infusion blood purifier, for anemia. Rroor bark abortifacient, used for amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea. Seed powder for stomachache, seed paste applied for headache. Ritual, ceremonial, symbol of long life.

Gossypium barbadense – Peru cotton, sea island cotton – agbede, owu, kerewuu

Gossypium herbaceum – cotton, cultivated cootton – owu elepa

Lagenaria siceraria – Bottle gourd, calabash, calabash cucumber – ado igba, agbe, ato, egusi igba, igbanlahun, ijurogba, itakunigba, pansa – Udes in Ayurveda. Poison. Fruits purgative, emetic, bitter, antipyretic, cooling, diuretic, for edema, rheumatism, jaundice, meteorism. Raw fruit or fruit juice helpful in controlling diabetes and pimples. A syrup from green fruit used as a pectoral. Pulp is applied to the soles in burning of the feet. Unripe fruits boiled in water emetic. Seeds for headaches, dropsy and toothaches, also anthelmitic. Dry powdered seeds as a snuff in goiter. Seed oil applied in headache. Leaves for snakebites. Leaves decoctio mixed with sugar and given in jaundice. Fruit pulp and leaves purgative. Roots used in the treatment of dropsy. Causes abortion.

Esia tree, stinkwood tree (Petersianthus macrocarpus) – akasun

Olax subscorpioidea – awefin, ifon – Bioactivity against brine shrimp/sea monkeys,Artemia salina. crushed leaves in cold water, the water applied to child’s body when sick and with fever. Bark or fresh leaves – snake repellent.

African apple, African apricot, African mammee apple, bastard mahogany (Mammea africana) – ologbomodu – Resin applied to burns and scabies. Fruits, leaves and bark for fever, skin infections, diarrhea, bronchitis. Bark decoctions anthelmintic, antibacterial, cytotoxic, vasodilator, stomahic, febrifuge, taken to treat gonorrhea, ovarian troubles, coughs, anemia, and to ease childbirth. Applied to treat wounds, sores, ulceers, scabies, skin disease, itch, uterine and vaginal inflammations.

Jungle grape vine (Ampelocissus latifolia) – abeekanna manun – Used in Ayurveda. Powdered plant paste applied on swollen parts of the body. Fresh leavs tied on head to cure headache. Root decoction antibacterial, given for pneumonia, snake bites, sores, menstrual troubles, diarrhea, dysentery, inflammation, skin disease, bone fracture. Root paste applied on old wounds. crushed roots mixed with jaggery given to cure menstrual bleeding. fresh roots and leaves made into a paste applied over parts affected by Guinea worms. Tuberous roots sliced and dried, astringent and refrigerant. Veterinary medicine, crushed roots given to cattle for the treatment o blood dysentery; roots and bark given orraly for early cure of fractured bone. Contact therapy, pieces of stem tied with a sacred thread as a necklace to cure typhoid.

Common okra, edible hibiscus, gobbo, gombo, gumbo, lady’s finger, okra, okro (Abelmoschus esculentus) – erula, ila, ilasa, ilasado, illa, iroko, irula – Used in Ayurveda and Unani. Dried stalks used for the guinea worm. Root etract aphrodisiac and sex tonic, sedative, given for stomatitis, spermatorrhea, sterility, impotence, dystocia. Root powder taken orraly to check discharge of sperm with urine and to increase sexual potentiality, Roots, infusion or dection, for cough and syphilis. Fresh washed leaves in cataplasm for infected wounds, leaves emollient, sudorific or antiscorbutic and to trear dysuria. leaves and ripe fruits for cough. Leaves, flowers and unripe fruits for insect sting. Fruit laxative; cooked fruit given for abortion.

Cistanthera papaverifera – alele, oro, oronla, otutu – roots anthelmintic, astringent, antiseptic, for skin disease.

African satinwood, Nigerian satinwood, quinine tree, yellow satinwood (Distemonanthus benthamianus) – ayan, igi aje

African pear, native pear (Dacryodes edulis) – elemi (Yoruba)

Entada africana – agurob, igba oyibo, ogurobe – Antimicrobial, tonic. bark used to treat cough, bronchitis, persistent coughs, intercostal pain, diarrhea.

Crateva adansonii – egun orun, tamo labia, tani yaa

Albizia, musase, West African albizia (Albizia ferruginea) – ayinre, ayinre bonnabonna, ayinre semise olose, ipe erin, iperin
Red nongo (Albizia grandibracteata) – ayinre, ayin isingede, ayinre ogo

Vernonia conferta – sapo

Ashy coloured ironweed, blue fleabane, inflammation bush, vernonia (Vernonia cinerea) – yoruba names – jedi jedi, bojure, oorungo – Plant juice to cure malaria, fever, wounds. A decoction used in malaria, insomnia and diarrhea. Plant infusion drunk as a cough remedy…

Trichilia emetica – yoruba names – ako rere, awuya, owatete, rere, rereigbo, ako ere olomi – Roots astringent, aphrodisiac. leaf antibacterial, antifungal, a decoction taken to trear heart complaints. Pounded leaves for gonorrhea and lumbago.

Ordeal tree, sand crown berry (Crossopteryx febrifuga)
– aro, ayeye – Root decoction febrifuge, used for cardiac pain, venereal disease. Bark – febrifuge and a cough medicine. Leaves – febrifuge, astringent, cholagogue, used for female sterility, venereal diseases, kwashiorkor, dysentery, diarrhea, colic, dysmenorrhea, malaria, intestinal worms, wounds, ophthalmia.

Bergamot orange, bigarade, bitterorange, marmalade orange, Seville orange, sour orange (Citrus aurantium) – yoruba names: gan-in, jaganyin, jagbure, oro oyibo, orombo didun, orombo efin, osan mumu, osan nla, orombo lakuegbe

Common lime, Egyptian lime, Indian lime, key lime, Mexican lime, sour lime, sweetie (Citrus aurantifolia) – yoruba names: ewe ilemu, ewe oronbo, gan-in wewe, ilemu, orombo wewe, osan gingin, osan wewe – cardiotonic, laxative, antihelmintic, tonic, aphrodisiac, febrifuge, for dizziness, headache, diarrhea, dysentery, emetic, sore throat, the treatment of irregular menstrual flow. For coughs, sip lime juice.

Corynanthe pachyceras – ako-wenren-wenren, ako idagbon, ako nwerewere, ako wenrenwenren – Roots and leaves aphrodisiac, for malaria, fevers. Bark aphrodisiac, anestethic, leishmanicidal, febrifuge, antispasmodial and citotoxic, for cough, leprosy, impotence. cewed bark for cough.

Salt and oil tree (Cleistopholis patens) – apako, oke, pipaga, ogwu odenigbo, ootu, para

Alligator apple (Annona glabra) – afe

Boat duria, prickly custard apple, soursoup (Annona muricata) – yoruba names – eko omode, eko oyinbo

Quinine tree – awa, alagba

Cat claw mimosa (Mimosa pigra) – oniwa agogo, paidimo, patonmo – Young leaves eaten for diarrhea. Aerial parts decoction to treat trush in babies, and also to allay bed wetting in children

Mimoasa pudica – action plant, humble plant, live-and-die, sensitive plant, sensitive weed, shame plant, shy plant, sweet heart grass, touch me not – yoruba names – paidimo, pamamo aluro, patonmo.

Akuamma seeds (Picralima nitida) – agege

Ampelocissus africana – eteku

Ampelocissus bombycina – eko pupa

Lindackeria dentata – iyagbo, ajiwoogun – fruits and roots for stomachache.

Flamboyant tree, flame of the forest, peacock flower, poinciana (Delonix regia) – sekeseke, ogun bereke, panseke

Amphimas pterocarpoides – ogiya, kogbagbe, kugbagbem kusigbagbe

Afgan melon, bastard melon, bitter apple, camel lemon, colocynth, edible tsamma, egusi melon, kaffir melon (Citrullus lanatus) – Yoruba name: bara, egunsi, egusi, ogiri, sofin.

Bitter apple, bitter cucumber, colocynth, Indian bitter apple, vine of Sodom (Citrullus colocynthis) – bara akuku

African golden walnut, African walnut (loroa trichilioides) – akoko eluju, akoko igbo, ewe olalu pepe, sida

Orange milk tree (Harungana madagascariensis) – amuje, amujenla, elepo

Scotsman’s rattle (Amblygonocarpus andongensis) – aridan papa, anidan

Brimstone tree (Morinda lucida) – apawoparun, iwo, oruwo funfun, owuru

Bologna sausage tree, common sausage tree, cucumber tree (Kigelia africana) – pandoro – Unripe fruits poisonous.

Scented mahogany (Entandrophragma utile) – ijebu, igedu

Source – CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants – Umberto Quattrocchi

Vitelaria paradoxa – emi-emi, emi-gidi

Grey hairy chaste tree (Vitex canescens) – oori-rta
Vitex doniana – oori-nla
Vitex rivularis – boron, ori, ububan

Natal mahogany, cape mahogany, maffura tallow, mafoureira tallow (Trichilia emetica) – papa, papa odan, karuntan, asapa
Trichilia megalantha – itabira
Trichilia monadelpha – rere, ako rere, owatete, awuya, rereigbo

Uapaca esculenta – asisa, gagara

Sugar plum, red cedar (Uapaca guineesis) – ajegbe, ujobe, yeye, yere, emido, abo emido

Stachytarpheta angustiflora – ogan akuko, ogangan, igbole

Brazilian tea – Stachytarpheta cayennensis – iru eko, pasaloke

Blue snakeweed, common snakeweed, jamaica vervain, jamaica false-valerian, devil’s coach whip – Stachytarpheta jamaicensis – opapa, opapara, panipani, akitipa, iru alangba, iru amore, aagba, agogo igun

Broom plant (Sida acuta) – yoruba names: agidimagbayin, ose potu, sanrin

Flannel weed, heartleaf sida, white burr, country mallow – Sida cordifolia – ekuru oko

Anise pepper – ata dudu

Arab wheat, corn of Mecca, Indian corn, sweet corn, (Zea mays) – yoruba names: agbado, igbado, erinigbado, eginrin agbado, erinka, elepee, ijeere, oka, yangan

Banana, edible banana – Musa paradisiaca – yoruba names: ogede obagba, ogedeapanta, ogede dudu, ogede weere

Velvet bean – yoruba names: ejokun, yerebe, eesin, esinsin, esise, ewe ina, irepe, werepe


47 thoughts on “Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants – Yoruba Names”


    What is the botanical name for “EWE OLOMI SURU” and also the English name too?

  2. thanks for your posts. please can you tell me the yoruba names of the following herbs:
    tribulus terrestis
    horny goat weed
    muira puama
    thanks a lot

  3. pls what are the english or botanical names of the following plants; ewe panumo, ewe atopoyeje, ewe eleti.

  4. Olufowokan Abolanle Morounkeji

    Your Message*Good evening, pls, what are the Yoruba Name for Red Raspberry, Barberry, Cascara Sagrada, Cayenne, lobelia, Turkish Rhubarb Fennel and goidenseal

  5. Hi,
    Can you tell me the Yoruba names of these herbs:-
    1. Hydrangea
    2. Blood Root
    3. Hysop

  6. Great post Jorjette, thanks. Plase could you help me out with the Boki and English names for the edible wild vegetable called ‘obanga’ in Yakurr language?
    Thanks again.

  7. Wow…Thank you for the research and all the information…what are Squill Root in Yoruba language?

    1. What is the Yoruba name of thevetia peruviana in Yoruba language pls. Milk tree in English.

  8. I salute you.
    Thanks for erecting your website for sharing Yoruba names on medicinal plants. I hope my message meets you well.
    I was searching for Yoruba names for Eucalyptus leaves, when I came upon your website.
    Can you, please, help me with the Yoruba name for EUCALYPTUS LEAVES?

    Thank you once more,
    Bes regards.

  9. thanks for your posts. please can you tell me the yoruba names of the following herbs:
    tribulus terrestis
    horny goat weed
    muira puama
    thanks a lot

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