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Plants have been used as a source of medicine in Ethiopia from time immemorial to treat different ailments. This is often linked to ethnic and cultural diversity coupled with an array of unique flora and fauna that are employed as the prime-tools in the fight against numerous health problems. Even with the advent of modern medicine, this indigenous health care delivery system is the major source of care for an estimated 80% of the population. More than 95% of traditional medical preparations are of plant origin The Ethiopian flora is estimated to contain between 6500 and 7000 species of higher plants of which about 12% are endemic. The Directorate of Traditional and Modern Medicine (TMMRD) within EPHI conducting operational and basic research on the quality, efficacy and safety of traditional and modern medicine including the factors affecting the rational utilization and factors determine drug resist stance for the major health problems of the country.

Vision, Mission and Core Values


To be centres of excellence in Traditional and Modern Medicine research in Africa.


Developing validated traditional medicine products and providing evidence based information on diseases of public health importance through research on traditional medicine as well as modern medicine to promote the health of the public.


The values of the TMMRD, and the keywords relating to each value, are:

  • Communication: Transparency, Freedom to Challenge.
  • Accountability: Responsibility, Teamwork, Leadership, Participation.
  • Respect: Dignity, Honesty, Fairness, Integrity.
  • Excellence and innovation.
  • Capacity development: Reward and Recognition.
  • Efficiency: Human, Facility, and Financial Resources
  • Collaboration:Strong link with University, Industry and Traditional Healer
  • Equity
  • Relevance
  • Rule of law


Strategic Themes of the Directorate

  1. Enhance innovation and production of standardized  plant based medicine products,
  2. Generate evidence based research on traditional and modern medicine
  3. Raise awareness of the community through appropriate mechanisms

Strategic results

  1. Validated traditional medicine production packages for public use ;
  2. Evidence on safety, efficacy and quality of traditional and Modern medicine for policy and programs  implementers;
  3. Community awareness, guidelines, manuals, pharmacopoeias and data base;

Scope of the Directorate

The Traditional and Modern Medicine Research Directorate has been conduct research on TM thereby develop plant based medicinal products for human and veterinary use as well as on Modern Medicine. The major scopes of the Directorate are:

  • Document ethno-medical information of medicinal plants/practice, scientific publications and prepare pharmacopeias,  monographs and data base on traditional medicine
  • Assessing the Efficacy, Safety and Quality of traditional medicine for disease of priority public health problems of communicable and Non-communicable Diseases
  • Preparation of production package for scientifically standardized traditional medicine products
  • Conducting Clinical Trial
  • Conducting Quality versus efficacy and rational utilization of modern medicine
  • Providing Information, Education, Communication and Training to the community and the researchers.
  • Disseminate research outputs to the scientific community, policy makers and Community through technical report, publication, policy briefing, workshops and media forums.
  • Survey surveillance of modern and Traditional Medicine
  • Pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and pharmacovigillane study on Modern and Traditional medicine
  • To collaborate with drug development and production companies in the promotion and production of established effective traditional medicines.

Teams of the Directorate

1.Traditional Medicine Research Team

* Natural product case team

* Biomedical case team

* Formulation case team

2. Modern Medicine Research Team

This Directorate is expected to handle the following activities:

  • Collect, scientifically identify and authenticate medicinal plants selected for various laboratory investigation.
  • Preparation of crude extracts and other fractions for bioassays.
  • Chemical screening of plants, animals and mineral substances used in traditional medicine.
  • Bioassay guided separation of active substances of plant, mineral or animal origin used in traditional medicine.
  • Characterization and identification of biologically active substances.
  • Structure elucidation of biologically active isolated compounds.                
  • Formulation, standardization and laboratory scale production of crude medicinal and pure isolated compounds of established therapeutic activity.
  • Preclinical studies to establish therapeutic activity of traditional medicine and effective safe doses of crude and purified drugs of traditional medicine origin. 
  • To disseminate research findings to scientists, traditional healers and the general public, through publications, seminars and workshops.
  • To collaborate with drug development and production companies in the promotion and production of established effective traditional medicines.
  • Drug development and standardization of herbal medicines.
  • Conducting Clinical Trial in collaboration with other concerned institutions
  • Plays a role with concerned authorities in the conservation and protection of medicinal and other useful plants that serve as traditional medicines and other medical antiques from extinctions.
  • Collaboration with the traditional healers, academics and Industries for documentation and large scale production to benefit the community
  • Sponsoring post graduate students in the area of traditional and Modern Medicine research and Development

 Deliverables of the Directorate

  1. Evidence to scientific community through publication, mass media or workshops
    1. Ethno-botanical information
    2.  Safety, efficacy, and phytochemical
  2. Production packages of herbal medicines.
  3. Education –communication to the community on the safety, efficacy and rational utilization of traditional and modern medicine
  4. Conserved medicinal plants.
  5. Pharmacopoea and Medicinal Data base ~ through documented ethno-medical use and scientific reports.
  6. Herbarium and botanical garden.
  7. Data about the therapeutic efficacy, quality and other aspects of pharmaceuticals.
  8. Data on health seeking behavior of the community for traditional healers and Modern medicine professional services

 Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms

  1. Strategic planning for Five years based
  2. Periodically research review meetings to discuss the implementation of planned activities.
  3. Annual activity plan output base evaluation
  4. Individual BSC performance reviews.
  5. Building strong Drug research army
  6. Review of projects periodically and at the end of project life in terms of timelines, outcome, impact, sustainability and effectiveness