First Ethnobotanical Study of Arjan-Parishan Protected Area, Fars Province, Iran

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Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used in Arjan – Parishan protected area in Fars Province of Iran

Dolatkhahi M, Dolatkhahi A, Nejad JB
Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014 Nov;4(6):402-12
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4224954

Fars Province of Iran
Fars Province of Iran [Source: k-k, Wikimedia Commons]
Mehdi Dolatkhahi of Payam Noor University, Ali Dolatkhahi of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, and Javad Bagher Nejad of Kazeroon Jahad Keshavarzi documented important useful medicinal plants and their medicinal characteristics for treatment of human ailments in the Arjan-Parishan protected area in Fars province of Iran (the original homeland of the ancient Persians) .

Using direct interviews with 80 local participants, particularly those who were more familiar with the herbs and their medicinal properties, the team documented 85 traditional medicinal plant species, including scientific name, local name, parts used, and ways of application and ailments. This is the first publication of the ethnobotany of this region.

From the introduction:

“Our surrounding nature is the habitat of many unknown medicinal plants that indigenous people use ‎ for treating their ailments. Iran, by having varied climate and geographical regions and also different types of ‎mountains, plains, deserts, hills, river and lakes, and wetlands is considered to be a center for accessing valuable and ‎scare medical species. The native knowledge of medicinal plants has been put in danger of ‎being lost by assimilating these tribes and loss of traditional community life. Therefore, it ‎seems necessary to perform ethnobotanical studies in Iran to record all the knowledge of folk medicine practiced ‎among native people. Arjan – Parishan protected area with two very beautiful wetlands ‎Parishan and Arjan is situated 60 km west of Shiraz in Fars province. This geographic region is one of the ‎most important human migration roads in Iran, showing a great plant biodiversity, so traditional usage of ‎medicinal plant is a familiar therapeutic way for native people. In recent years, traditional use of plants for medical ‎purposes has drawn the attention of researchers in our country as well. However, there are no published records on ‎ethnobotanical knowledge of medicinal plants in the area.‎”

The Arjan – Parishan protected region lies in ‎southwest Iran and includes the Arjan and Parishan wetlands. The vast ‎majority of the residents of this region are ethnic Persians and agriculture is the dominant economic activity.‎

The authors describe the biodiversity of the region:

“This area is important for plant biodiversity due to the presence of some ‎important habitats such as international wetland of Parishan and “oak forest” that are dominated by Quercus ‎brantii L. Approximately, 60 % of this area is surrounded by Zagros Mountain. International Wetland of Parishan ‎is located 12 km to the southeast of Kazeroon. The climate of this area is arid and cold desert with the average ‎elevation 820 mabove sea level. Arjan wetland with altitude of 2015 m above sea level is situated 60 km ‎west of Shiraz in Fars province. This area has semi-arid to semi-humid climate. Due to variation in altitude, ‎topography, and bio-climate within this area, the diversity of medicinal plants and indigenous medical knowledge ‎are rich. Therefore, this biodiversity can be important in aspects of ethnobotanical and pharmaceutical potentials. ‎At present, the Arjan – Parishan area is considered as protected area by IUCN classification.”

Adiantum capillus-veneris
Adiantum capillus-veneris [Source: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database, Wikimedia Commons]
Frequently used and well-known medicinal plants in the region include Adiantum capillus-veneris, ‎Oliveria decumbens, Achillea tenuifolia, Anthemis altissima, Anthemis austro-iranica, Cynara scolymus, Berberis ‎vulgaris, Nasturtium officinale, Capparis spinosa,‎‏ ‏Citrullus colocynthis, Quercus brantii, Melissa officinalis, ‎Ocimum basilicum, Teucrium polium,‎‏ ‏Malva parviflora, Ficus carica, Olea europaea, Alhagi camelorum, ‎Plantago major, and Portulaca oleracea.

The team notes that traditional medical practice using local medicinal plants has been providing “excellent outcome in treating different types of ailment such as intestinal-digestive disorders, followed by bone and ‎joint pain, kidney and urogenital diseases, blood sugar and lipid, common cold, expectorant and fever, appetizing, ‎heart-blood circulatory system disorders, respiratory disorders, antiseptic, skin and hair, menstruate, insect bite, as well as as a ‎sedative.”

The authors recommend further studies to ‎identify the active ingredients of medicinal plants used in the area:

“It ‎is important to emphasize that intestinal-digestive system is the first target for traditional medicine in the area. ‎Therefore, the information documented on the medicinal plants of the Arjan – Parishan protected area may serve ‎as baseline data for future pharmacological and phytochemical studies and consequently discover new drugs.‎”‎

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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