Tag Archives: chernobyl

Wild Plants Used for Food and Healing in a Small Village in Belarus


Multi-functionality of the few: current and past uses of wild plants for food and healing in Liubań region, Belarus

Sõukand R, Hrynevich Y, Vasilyeva I, Prakofjewa J, Vnukovich Y, Paciupa J, Hlushko A, Knureva Y, Litvinava Y, Vyskvarka S, Silivonchyk H, Paulava A, Kõiva M, Kalle R
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2017 Feb 8;13(1):10
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5299745

Investigators from the Estonian Literary Museum; the Center for Belarusian Culture, Language and Literature Research; Liubań District Culture Center; and the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts conducted an ethnobotanical survey to document current and past uses of wild plants in the Liubań region of Belarus for food and medication.

Writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, the authors examine the use of wild plants for food, human medicinal, and veterinary purposes in a small territory limited to one village council.

“Liubań district is located in the southeast of the Minsk Region. The town of Liubań is the centre of the district which includes the township of Urečča and 125 rural settlements. The northern part of the district is located on the Central Biarezina plain, while the southern part is within the Prypiać Paliessie. In the central part of the district the Aresa River (a left-bank tributary of the Prypiać) flows from north to south. Most areas of the Paliessie region have been drained. About 33% of the area is covered by forests (coniferous and mixed deciduous forest, as well as birch, oak and alder that also grow there). The area is mostly agricultural and specializes in meat and milk cattle breeding, pig breeding and potato cultivation.”

Plantago major
Plantago major [Photo: WAH]
Working with local residents, the team identified 74 plant species used for human medicinal purposes, including respiratory diseases, dermatological diseases, gastrointestinal ailments, and for general health. The most commonly cited medicinal plant species included Betula spp., Rubus idaeus, Vaccinium myrtillus, Chelidonium majus, Plantago major, Hypericum spp., Potentilla erecta, Tilia cordata, Arctium tomentosum, and Quercus robur.

Some people remarked that radiation had taken away all of the good qualities of wild plants in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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