Identification of Medicinal Roots Collected & Traded in Morocco

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Botanical identification of medicinal roots collected and traded in Morocco and comparison to the existing literature

Ouarghidi A, Martin GJ, Powell B, Esser G, Abbad A
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2013 Aug 15;9(1):59
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3846589

Abderrahim Ouarghidi of the University of Cadi Ayyad and Global Diversity Foundation, along with co-authors from Centre for International Forestry Research and the University of British Columbia, collected data in collaboration with herbalists in an effort to help standardize nomenclature of species of medicinal roots collected in southern Morocco and traded in Marrakech.

The paper presents a brief literature review highlighting the need for additional primary botanical identification of medicinal plants in Morocco followed by the botanical identity and ethnomedicinal uses of species harvested for their roots.

Rubia peregrina
Rubia peregrina [Source: Wikimedia Commons, Aroche]
The team identified the vernacular names for 67 medicinal roots with a variety of uses, including Foua (Rubia peregrina L), used for hepatitis, liver problems, tonic, weight gain; Serghina (Tasserghint) (Petrorhagia illyrica, Corrigiola telephiifolia), used for weight gain, appetizer, incense, headache, migraine; and L’guseb (Phragmites communis Trin), used for hair problems.

The authors urge further investigation targeting botanical identification of medicinal plants collected and used across Morocco:

“[A] lack of voucher specimens of medicinal plants, particularly medicinal roots, means many studies have been dependent on the available literature which, we have shown, is not as complete as is needed. There is an urgent need for accurate botanical identification of wild medicinal plants. We identified the existence of cases where multiple species are categorized under the same vernacular name and we provide site-specific data on botanical identity of traditional medicinal plants. Differences in knowledge (e.g. between ethnic groups), habitat, and geographic distribution can alter the local nomenclature used for naming medicinal plants. This suggests a need for further exhaustive investigation targeting botanical identification (with voucher specimens) of medicinal plants collected and used across multiple regions of Morocco. Furthermore, special attention should be given to endangered and over harvested species to ensure their sustainable use.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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