Medicinal plants and their traditional uses in Kabylia (Algeria): an ethnobotanical survey
This study aims to assess ethnobotanical knowledge in Kabylia, focusing on the use of traditional medicinal plants, at eight rural municipalities in the department of Tizi Ouzou. This region has remained relatively isolated and agro-industrial development is not led to a significant decline in traditional practices, including the use of plants in traditional medicine. Ethnobotanical information was gathered using a questionnaire among herbalists, traditional healers and local populations in the study area. Overall, 98 vascular plants were identified and recorded, a large majority of them live in a wild habitats (forests and wetlands, especially), with the exception of 6 crops. They belong to 48 families, the most represented are the Lamiaceae (13 species) and Asteraceae (12 species). The many diseases listed in the survey are grouped into 10 major disease groups. The most pathologies treated are those of the digestive system (40 plants), skin diseases (29), circulatory system (24) and respiratory system (21). In contrast, the visual system, too precious, is treated with a single plant (Ocimum basilicum L.). The toxicity of some herbs used with caution is well known (e.g. Nerium oleander L.). Medicinal plants are often multipurpose plants (food, flavor, feed, veterinary, crafts, etc.). Moreover, 31 of these wild plants yet still have an interest in food for rural populations. Finally, a large majority of medicinal plants used in Kabylia are also known for their therapeutic properties in the Mediterranean basin. For example, 73.5% of the plants of this study are cited by the project Rubia.
References: Gonzalez-Tejero MR et al. (2008)J Ethnopharmacol 116: 341–357.