Tag Archives: ethnomedicine

Medical Ethnobotany of the Albanian Alps

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Medical ethnobotany of the Albanian Alps in Kosovo

Behxhet Mustafa, Avni Hajdari, Feriz Krasniqi, Esat Hoxha, Hatixhe Ademi, Cassandra L Quave & Andrea Pieroni
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2012 Jan 28;8:6
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3285519
Tamara Gorge, Albanian Alps
Tamara Gorge, Albanian Alps (Source: Wikimedia Commons User: Sigismund von Dobschütz)

Researchers from the University of Prishtina, Kosovo Academy of Sciences and Arts, Emory University and University of Gastronomic Sciences conducted a medico-ethnobotanical survey in 36 villages on the Kosovar side of the Albanian Alps.

From the abstract:

Carduus nutans L.
Carduus nutans L. (Source: Wikimedia Commons, U.S. National Park Service, PCA Alien Plant Working Group)

“The uses of 98 plants species belonging to 39 families were recorded; the most quoted botanical families were Rosaceae, Asteraceae, and Lamiaceae. Mainly decoctions and infusions were quoted as folk medicinal preparations and the most common uses referred to gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders, as well as illnesses of the uro-genital system. Among the most uncommon medicinal taxa quoted by the informants, Carduus nutans L., Echinops bannaticus Rochel ex Schrad., and Orlaya grandiflora Hoffm. may merit phytochemical and phytopharmacological investigations.”

A comprehensive table details the medicinal plants and their uses, including modes of administration and treated diseases.

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants of the Canadian Boreal Forest

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Traditional use of medicinal plants in the boreal forest of Canada: review and perspectives

Yadav Uprety, Hugo Asselin, Archana Dhakal & Nancy Julien
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2012 Jan 30;8:7
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3316145

Boreal Forests of North America
Boreal Forests of North America (dark green) [Source: Wikimedia Commons: NASA]
Researchers from Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue “present a review of traditional uses of medicinal plants by the Aboriginal people of the entire Canadian boreal forest in order to provide comprehensive documentation, identify research gaps, and suggest perspectives for future research.”

A review of the literature published in scientific journals, books, theses and reports yielded a total of 546 medicinal plants used to treat 28 disease and disorder categories, with the highest number of species being used for gastrointestinal disorders, followed by musculoskeletal disorders.

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium (Source: Wikimedia Commons User: O. Pichard)

Among the most commonly used plants were Abies balsamea, Achillea millefolium, Acorus calamus, Aralia nudicaulis, Betula papyrifera, Cornus sericea, Heracleum maximum, Juniperus communis, Larix laricina, Menta arvensis, Nuphar lutea, Picea glauca, Picea mariana, Populus balsamifera, Populus tremuloides, Rhododendron groenlandicum , Sorbus americana and Thuja occidentalis.

Tables detail the major ailments treated and common forms of preparation.

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

On Ethnobiology and the Value of Local Knowledge Systems

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Local knowledge: who cares?

Ina Vandebroek, Victoria Reyes-García, Ulysses P de Albuquerque, Rainer Bussmann & Andrea Pieroni
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Nov 23;7:35
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3286427

Researchers from The New York Botanical Garden, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Missouri Botanical Garden and University of Gastronomic Sciences introduce a Thematic Series on Local Knowledge Systems (LKS) – defined as “knowledge, beliefs, traditions, practices, institutions, and worldviews developed and sustained by indigenous and local communities” – and the value of LKS as adaptive strategies to meet local and global challenges:

“The ethnobiological literature showcases several examples that demonstrate the importance and usefulness of LKS for community health, nutrition, education and cultural heritage, conservation and other societal challenges…. This Thematic Series of the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine contains solicited manuscripts based on new research that continues to demonstrate the potential and established value of ethnobiological knowledge and its associated plant and animal resources for local communities and society at large, especially in the areas of community health, education and conservation.”

The authors propose elevating the practice of ethnobiology beyond the merely utilitarian to encompass social-progressive ends:

“All too often, ethnobiology scholars still tend to focus mainly on utilitarian aspects of ethnobiology by publishing inventories of locally used plants, animals and minerals. While this certainly has its own merits in preserving oral local and traditional knowledge (but see also the issue of intellectual property rights …), contemporary ethnobiologists can and should go further. Since knowledge is power, the use of LKS can be a mechanism for local empowerment and equal co-partnership in community-based projects. There are no reasons why not more ethnobiologists should adopt this bottom up approach and design their research projects around local needs and challenges in close consultation with local communities. Or, to put it in the words of a cacique mayor (local chief) from an Amazon community in a conversation with the first author: ‘why is it that scientists are coming to the rainforest to study ants and plants, while we are here with nobody worrying about us?'”

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants of the Terai Forest in Western Nepal

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An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in Terai forest of western Nepal

Anant Gopal Singh, Akhilesh Kumar & Divya Darshan Tewari
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2012 May 16;8:19
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3473258
Rupandehi District, Nepal
Rupandehi District, Nepal (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:Hégésippe Cormier)

Researchers from Tribhuvan University, CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, and Maharani Lal Kunwari Post Graduate College documented indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants by the inhabitants of Terai forest in Western Nepal. Using questionnaire, personal interview and group discussion with pre-identified informants, the team identified 66 medicinal plant species used to treat various diseases and ailments grouped under 11 disease categories, with the highest number of species being used for gastrointestinal disorders, followed by dermatological disorders.

From the Background:

“We selected Terai forest of Rupandehi district and adjoining areas for ethnomedicinal investigation because this area is very rich in phytodiversity and tribal population. Besides other usages of plants the practice of oral tradition for healthcare management of human and domesticated animals using herbal medicines is still prevalent among the inhabitants of the area. They have enormous knowledge about medicinal uses of plants and this knowledge is mostly undocumented and transmitted orally from generation to generation. Recently due to unplanned developmental programs, increasing modern healthcare facilities and impact of modern civilization in this area, natural resource as well as traditional knowledge and tribal cultures are depleting rapidly at an alarming rate. Therefore, it is urgent to explore and document this unique and indigenous, traditional knowledge of the tribal community, before it diminishes with the knowledgeable persons. Further, documentation of indigenous and traditional knowledge is very important for future critical studies leading to sustainable utilization of natural resource and to face the challenges of bio-piracy and patenting indigenous and traditional knowledge by others. Besides, to the best of our knowledge no ethnobotanical work has been carried out in this area.”

The authors report, for the first time in Nepal and adjoining areas of India, new medicinal uses of Acacia catechu, Acalypha indica, Achyranthes aspera, Aegle marmelos, Aloe vera, Artemisia indica, Bauhinia variegata, Bombax ceiba, Calotropisgigantea, Carica papaya, Citrus limon, Colocasia esculenta, Coriandrum sativum, Curcuma amada, Cuscuta reflexa, Cynodon dactylon, Dalbergia sissoo, Datura metel, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, Dioscorea pentaphylla, Ficus benghalensis, Gloriosa superba, Ipomoea aquatica, Ipomoea batatas, Ipomoea carnea Jacq. ssp. fistulosa, Lagenaria siceraria, Lepidium sativum, Linum usitatissimum, Malva parviflora, Mentha spicata, Mimosa pudica, Mucuna pruriens, Phragmites vallatoria, Polygonum barbatum, Rauvolfia serpentina, Ricinus communis Shorea robusta, Solanum nigrum, Terminalia chebula and Tribulus terrestris.

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants of Kimboza Forest Reserve, Tanzania

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Ethnomedicinal study of plants used in villages around Kimboza forest reserve in Morogoro, Tanzania

Ezekiel Amri and Daniel P Kisangau
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2012 Jan 6;8:1
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3268735
Kimboza Forest Reserve, Tanzania
Kimboza Forest Reserve, Tanzania (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:Pharaoh han)

Researchers from Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology and South Eastern University College (A Constituent College of the University of Nairobi) conducted an ethnomedical study to document medicinal plants used in the treatment of ailments in villages surrounding Kimboza forest reserve, “a low land catchment forest with high number of endemic plant species”, indeed, “the richest lowland forest in East Africa.” The authors interviewed 22 traditional medicine practitioners.

From the Results:

“A total of 82 medicinal plant species belonging to 29 families were recorded during the study. The most commonly used plant families recorded were Fabaceae (29%), Euphorbiaceae (20%), Asteraceae and Moraceae (17% each) and Rubiaceae (15%) in that order… The study revealed that stomachache was the condition treated with the highest percentage of medicinal plant species (15%), followed by hernia (13%), diarrhea (12), fever and wound (11% each), and coughs (10%). Majority of medicinal plant species (65.9%) were collected from the wild compared to only 26.7% from cultivated land.”

Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Neem (Azadirachta indica) [Source: Wikimedia Commons User: J.M.Garg]
The plant species used to treat the highest percentage of diseases were Azadirachta indica A. Juss., Bridelia micrantha (Hochst) Baill, Ficus exasperate Valh., Mangifera indica L., Senna hirsuta (L.) Irwin & Barneby, Ocotea usambarensis Engl. and Vernonia hymenolopis A. Rich.

In their Conclusion, the authors note that:

“The results of the study revealed that there is rich diversity of medicinal plants used to treat various ailments in the neighbourhood of Kimboza forest reserve. Herbal practitioners and the local community in the study area should be educated on sustainable methods of harvesting medicinal plants without compromising their availability for future use. It is also imperative to train the community on the proper propagation techniques in order to encourage the domestication of valuable and threatened medicinal plants. The domestication of medicinal plants will create new opportunities for the local people such as provision of an alternative income and could help reduce the pressure on the wild population. Successful conservation strategies should be developed and priority given to sustainable harvesting of the plants.”

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Wild Edible Plants of Nepal

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Diversity of use and local knowledge of wild edible plant resources in Nepal

Yadav Uprety, Ram C Poudel, Krishna K Shrestha, Sangeeta Rajbhandary, Narandra N Tiwari, Uttam B Shrestha, Hugo Asselin
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2012 Apr 30;8:16
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3448512
Nepal
Nepal (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Shahid Parvez, Based on a file by en:User:Ssolbergj)

Researchers from the Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal, Tribhuvan University, and Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue used focus group discussions and key informant interviews to document 81 species of wild edible plants including Angiosperms (74), Pteridophytes (5), and Fungi (2).

Priority edible plant species included Aegle marmelos, Asparagus racemosus, Buchanania latifolia, Dioscorea deltoidea, Diplazium esculentum, Murraya koenigii, Phyllanthus emblica, Piper longum, Syzygium cumini and Zizyphus mauritiana.

Aegle marmelos
Aegle marmelos (Source: Wikimedia Commons User: J.M.Garg)

Besides their value as food, nearly half (47%) of the species were reported to have additional use(s). Among them, 19 species (24%) were also used as medicine.

Of particular interest, the authors found that “young people who spend most of the time in the forest as herdsmen are particularly knowledgeable of wild fruit plants.”

From the Conclusion:

“We provide empirical evidence from a relatively large area of Nepal about diversity and status of WEP [wild edible plants], as well as methodological insights about the proper knowledge holders to consult. Regarding the unique and important knowledge they have on WEP, young people should be included when recruiting participants to ethnobotanical studies or to any type of consultation about WEP. The habit of using wild edible plants is still alive and is a traditional culinary practice that demonstrates rich traditional knowledge of local people. WEP were found to be important for livelihood as well as showing great potential for crop improvement. Priority species should be promoted for income generation activities through sustainable collection and trade. Communities should engage in minimizing the threats to these valuable resources.”

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Ethnomedicinal plants of Garhwal Himalaya

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Ethnomedicinal and ecological status of plants in Garhwal Himalaya, India

Munesh Kumar, Mehraj A Sheikh and Rainer W Bussmann
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Oct 19;7:32
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3212913
Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand, India (Source: CC-by-sa PlaneMad/Wikimedia)

Researchers from HNB Garhwal University and Missouri Botanical Garden interviewed older, experienced men and women of Garhwal Himalaya in the state of Uttarakhand, India, about their use of ethnomedicinal plants and cataloged 57 species across the different climatic regions, including 14 tree species, 10 shrub species, and 33 herb species.

The plants were used to treat various ailments, including diarrhea, dysentery, bronchitis, menstrual disorders, gonorrhea, pulmonary affections, migraines and leprosy.

From the Results and Discussion:

“Ethnobotany is not new to India with over 400 different tribal and other ethnic groups. Ethnobotanical information on medicinal plants and their uses by indigenous cultures is useful not only for the conservation of traditional knowledge and biodiversity, but also to promote community health care, and might serve in drug development. The information can provide a guide for drug development, assuming that a plant that has been used by indigenous people over a long period of time may well have an allopathic application.”

Sida cordifolia
Sida cordifolia (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:J.M.Garg)

Dominant species included Acacia catechu, Quercus leucotrichophora, Adhatoda vasica, Rhus parviflora, Sida cordifolia and Vernonia anthelmintica.

With rapidly growing demand for these medicinal plants, however, most of these plant populations have been depleted. The authors recommend that attention be given to the conservation of medicinal plants in Garhwal Himalaya to ensure their long-term availability to the local inhabitants, and that more data be collected on the use of individual species of ethnomedicinal plants to provide an in-depth assessment of the plants’ availability and to design conservation strategies to protect individual species.

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Antimalarial Plants Used in Portuguese-Speaking Countries

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A review of antimalarial plants used in traditional medicine in communities in Portuguese-speaking countries: Brazil, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and Angola

Jefferson Rocha de A Silva; Aline de S Ramos; Marta Machado; Dominique F de Moura; Zoraima Neto; Marilene M Canto-Cavalheiro; Paula Figueiredo; Virgilio E do Rosário; Ana Claudia F Amaral; Dinora Lopes
Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz
2011 Aug;106 Suppl 1:142-58
PubMed PMID: 21881769
Chromolaena odorata
Chromolaena odorata (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Ashasathees)

Researchers from the Universidade Federal do Amazonas (Brazil), Farmanguinhos (Brazil), Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) and Instituto Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz (Brazil) compiled an extensive catalog of phytochemical studies of medicinal plants used to treat malaria in traditional medicine from the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Their analysis indicates that seven families (Apocynaceae, Asteraceae, Cucurbitaceae, Fabaceae, Meliaceae, Myristicaceae and Pi-peraceae) have species commonly used in these countries to treat malaria. “The Euphorbiaceae, Rubiaceae and Solanaceae families are represented by botanical species used primarily within African countries. Further, there are reports of other families of plants restricted to some countries: Angola (Annonaceae and Cochlospermaceae), Guinea-Bissau (Combretaceae and Hypencaceae) and Brazil have the most references to species belonging to the seven botanical families.”

A detailed table lists the studied species, tested parts and scientific data from vitro and in vivo research.

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Folk Medicine in Bolívar-Colombia

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Folk medicine in the northern coast of Colombia: an overview

Harold Gómez-Estrada, Fredyc Díaz-Castillo, Luís Franco-Ospina, Jairo Mercado-Camargo, Jaime Guzmán-Ledezma, José Domingo Medina & Ricardo Gaitán-Ibarra
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Sep 22;7:27
PubMed Central: PMC3224600
Bolívar-Colombia
Bolívar-Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:Shadowxfox)

Researchers from the Universidad de Cartagena undertook a three-year study of ethnopharmacology and folk-medicine use among the population of the department of Bolívar on the Atlantic Coast of Colombia.

Based on interviews with more than a thousand participants, the authors identified 39 plant species used in traditional medicine for a variety of diseases, including Crescentia cujete L. (flu), Eucalyptus globulus Labill. (flu and cough), Euphorbia tithymaloides L. (inflammation), Gliricidia_sepium_(Jacq.) Kunth (pruritic ailments), Heliotropium indicum L. (intestinal parasites), Malachra alceifolia Jacq. (inflammation), Matricaria chamomilla L. (colic) Mentha sativa L. (nervousness), Momordica charantia L. (intestinal parasites), Origanum vulgare L. (earache), Plantago major L. (inflammation) and Terminalia catappa L. (inflammation).

From the Background:

“Colombia accounts for approximately 10% of the world’s biodiversity and is home to about 50,000 species of plants, of which only 119 are included in the Colombian Vademecum of Medicinal Plants. The diverse topography of the Colombian territory and the country’s wide range of climates have favored the formation of varied habitats. Despite the country’s natural richness, the status of scientific knowledge on Colombian flora is still incipient in many aspects.”

Tables index the medicinal plants by name and illnesses treated.

While shedding light on the importance of medicinal plants in Bolívar, the study also helps set the stage for new research efforts for drugs based on local uses of medicinal plants.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Plant Use of the Oromo

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Plant use in Odo-Bulu and Demaro, Bale region, Ethiopia

Rainer W Bussmann, Paul Swartzinsky, Aserat Worede & Paul Evangelista
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
2011 Sep 24;7:28
PubMed Central: PMC3196683
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Oromia Region
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Oromia Region (Source: Wikimedia Commons User:Golbez)

Researchers from Missouri Botanical Garden, The Murulle Foundation, Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris and Colorado State University report on the plant use of the indigenous Oromo people in Southern Ethiopia.

The authors documented 46 species used for human medicine and 13 species used for veterinary purposes. The medicinal plants served to treat stomach problems and diarrhea, for wound treatment, as toothbrushsticks, as anthelmintics, for skin infections and to treat sore muscles.

From the Introduction:

“Plants have been an integral part of life in many indigenous communities, and Africa is no exception. Apart from providing building materials, fodder, weapons and other commodities, plants are especially important as traditional medicines. Many tribes and cultures in Africa have an elaborated plant knowledge-base. Most of this knowledge is still entirely transferred orally within the family unit or community. Western influences have, however, led to an accelerating decline of
this tradition. For example, Western style healthcare supplied by some governments has been expanded in the last decades, but it is still often not readily available and many regions remain completely underserved. Subsequently, most rural communities still use herbal remedies as readily and cheaply available alternatives. This knowledge is however, rapidly dwindling due to desired changes towards a more Western lifestyle, and the influence of modern tourism and other agents of globalization.”

The authors interviewed 12 respondents (all male, as “access to female informants was not possible”). A comprehensive table lists all plants encountered in the region, including uses and other notes.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.