Tag Archives: transhumance

Ethnobotany of the Lukomir Highlanders of Bosnia & Herzegovina


An ethnobotany of the Lukomir Highlanders of Bosnia & Herzegovina

Ferrier J, Saciragic L, Trakić S, Chen EC, Gendron RL, Cuerrier A, Balick MJ, Redžić S, Alikadić E, Arnason JT
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2015 Nov 25;11:81
PubMed Central PMC4658798

Village of Lukomir
Village of Lukomir (Bosnia and Herzegovina) [Source: Martin Brož, Wikimedia Commons]
Researchers at the University of Ottawa, The New York Botanical Garden, Emcarta Inc., the University of Sarajevo, the Université de Montréal, and Foundation GEA+ conducted an ethnobotanical study of the traditional knowledge and use of wild medicinal plants by the Highlanders of Lukomir, Bjelašnica (Bosnia and Herzegovina), an indigenous community of transhumant pastoralist families inhabiting a remote and highly biodiverse region of the Balkans.

Mentha longifolia
Mentha longifolia [Source: Michael Becker, Wikimedia Commons]
Based on field work involving interviews during which participants described plants, natural product remedies, and preparation methods on field trips, garden tours, while shepherding and in other settings, the team identified 58 species cited in medicinal, food, and material use reports. Ten of those species (or subspecies of which) had not previously been reported in systematic ethnobotanical surveys of medicinal plant use the region: Elymus repens, Euphorbia myrsinites, Jovibarba hirta, Lilium bosniacum, Matricaria matricarioides, Phyllitis scolopendrium, Rubus saxatilis, Silene uniflora, Silene uniflora, and Smyrnium perfoliatum. Maximum consensus of medicinal use was obtained on two species: Mentha longifolia and Salvia officinalis.

Medicinal uses included genitourinary system disorders, panacea, pain, and circulatory system disorders (high frequency) and skin/subcutaneous cellular tissue disorders, respiratory system disorders, and ill-defined symptoms (medium frequency).

From the conclusion:

“Although post war development has contributed to the erosion of the self-sustaining traditional lifestyle of the Lukomir Highlanders, our results demonstrate that they continue to have a strong traditional medicine and gathered food system. This traditional knowledge must continue to be valued and maintained in planning for a durable, self-sufficient future for the Lukomir Highlanders. In addition, special emphasis should be placed on the preservation of the vodenica mlini (hydro cereal mills) – a unique cultural technology and visitor attraction that contributes to a traditionally healthy diet and lifestyle.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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