Medicinal Plants Used by Kurdish Tribes in Ilam Province, Iran

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Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by Kurd tribe in Dehloran and Abdanan Districts, Ilam Province, Iran

Ghasemi Pirbalouti A, Momeni M, Bahmani M
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med
2012 Dec 31;10(2):368-85
PubMed Central: PMC3746586
Ilam Province, Iran
Ilam Province, Iran (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Milad.olad)

Researchers from Islamic Azad University and Urmia University of Medical Sciences conducted a folk botanical survey in the Dehloran and Abdanan districts of Ilam Province, in western Iran.

The team documented 122 plants used therapeutically by the traditionally nomadic Kurdish tribes for a variety of ailments, including the following:

Centaurea iberica
Centaurea iberica (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Eitan f)

Atriplex leucoclada and Echinops viscidulus (as an emollient for cough and sore throat); Avena wiestii (gastric pain and rheumatism); Centaurea iberica, Centaurea ovina, Centaurea intricate and Picnomon acarna (gastric pain); Cerasus microcarpa subsp. microcarpa (sedative, anti-calculus and anti-fever); Cirsium congestum and Crocus haussknechtii (antiseptic for gastric); Colchicum kotschyi (rheumatism); Consolida orientalis (laxative and antiparasitic), Ephedra ciliata (antibacterial and antifever); Euphorbia macroclada (warts); Lonicera nummulariifolia (antifever, antidiarrheal and sedative); Nepeta persica (carminative and antiurticarial); Noaea mucronata and Onobrychis elymaitica (anticalculus and kidney problems); Opoponex hispidus (antiseptic); Prangos ferulacea (laxative); Periploca aphylla (antiinflammatory); Prosopis farcta (blood thinner and antidiabetic); Salvia palaestina (women’s infertility and infections); Satureja khuzistanica (indigestion, headache, women’s infections and diuretic); Scrophularia deserti and Scrophularia striata (wound and burn healing); Stipa capensis (nerve system problems and gastric discords); Tamarix ramosissima (dermal discords, wound healing and sputum); Thymbra spicata (cough, antibacterial and carminative); Ulmus glabra (heart discords and fertility discords); Verbascum alepense (antifever, dermal discords and wound healing); Vitex pseudo-negundo (increased milk); Nicotiana tabacum (anti-leech and anti-dermatophytosis).

The researchers worked closely with the local population for more than two years, collecting information from 81 persons (60% men and 40% women) in 20 villages: “The northern part of the province is mostly inhabited by Kurdish tribes who speak with two dialects: Kalhuri and Feyli. The majority are Feyli Kurds, such as Kurdish tribes of Khezel, Arkaw√Ęzi, Beyrey (Ali Sherwan), Malekshahi and Shuhan. Lurs live in the southern and eastern parts of the province; for example: Abdanan, Dareh Shahr, Dehloran and Mehran. Most are Shi’a Muslims. The Kurds are traditionally nomadic people. The people’s main source of living in this region is farming, agriculture, sheepherding and husbandry.”

The authors comment that conservation policies and interest about ethnobotanical knowledge among young people in the region may help balance effects of modernization on indigenous medical practices:

“Our study contributed confirmed the ethnobotanical knowledge of Abdanan and Dehloran districts, filling a long overlooked gap. It once more remarked the relationship existing between plant diversity and the degree of ethnobotanical knowledge recorded. The former has been retained thanks to a long history of nature preservation in the study area. It is worth highlighting that we found some young people who still retain ethnobotanical knowledge or at least express interest towards traditional uses, so that they performed well as key informants. This clearly derives from the cultural and professional opportunities offered by living in a famous protected area where nature is still an important issue for local communities. However, even under these circumstances many uses have disappeared and some forgotten by otherwise experienced informants. We believe that cultural diversity should be seen in a broader sense as part of biodiversity of a region, especially where disentangling human influence and nature is virtually impossible. Traditional knowledge should therefore feature more often in the agendas of nature reserves besides biological richness as a value to preserve for the future. In general, the people of the study area still have a strong belief in the efficiency and success of medicinal plants. The results of our study reveal that some of the plant species do play an important role in the primary healthcare system of this tribal community.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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