In material-resource poor countries like Mali, traditional practices incorporate the use of plants for medicinal purposes. Ethnobotanical research has documented traditional uses of plants, while concomitant studies by natural product chemists, ethnobotanists, and microbiologists have verified the efficacy of using traditional medicinal plants that have proven antimicrobial activity. These plants may also be used to protect agricultural crops pre-harvest and post-harvest from insect herbivory. In Mali, subsistence farmers, regional scientists, and extension specialists rely on local plants for many medicinal needs and are amenable to using traditional plant materials for insect pest management. The goal of this research was to develop Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies using Malian traditional medicine as a discovery lead. The discovery premise was based on identifying plants through a matrix approach utilizing agricultural scientists, traditional practitioners, and subsistence farmers. We hypothesized that plants used in traditional medicine with antimicrobial activity lead to potential insect pest management agents. To test our hypothesis, we developed a four-step process for selecting Malian plant species. Seven criteria were selected to create a systematic matrix to identify the most promising plant materials for practical, affordable, ecologically-sound insect management by Malian farmers. In the first step of the process, we developed a list of 294 medicinal Malian plant species which were evaluated using the matrix. Sixty-seven plant species met our main criteria. After the environmental soundness of these species was evaluated using four minor criteria, 50 species emerged from this pre-chemical, pre-bioassay process for further consideration in IPM programs in Mali.