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Ethnopharmacological survey of the indigenous Lamiaceae from Lebanon
- El Beyrouthy, M., Dhifi, W., Arnold-Apostolides, N.
- Acta horticulturae 2013 no.997 pp. 257-275
- elderly, Satureja, ethnobotany, medicinal plants, Rosmarinus, Melissa (Lamiaceae), topography, drugs, indigenous knowledge, interviews, flora, cities, medicinal properties, Origanum, climate, rural communities, medicine, Lavandula, common names, evolution, chronic diseases, midwives, Mentha, Salvia, surveys, villages, indigenous species, essential oil crops, Lebanon
- Lebanon, with 2607 species has a rich and diverse flora which exceeds those of other countries of similar territory in number of genera, species and ecological types. This is due to the moderate climate and the dissimilar topography of the land of the country, favoring the growth of numerous endemic species, wild or cultivated. A large number of taxa are autochthonous and many others were introduced into the region during the evolution of the botanic platform. Many of these plants have been used since ancient times for healing and curing ailments, even chronic diseases. At that time, chemical medicines were not known yet; nature was the largest and practically the only source of medicine. The aim of this present contribution is to carry out an ethnopharmacological survey of medicinal herbs and traditional drugs particularly of the Lamiaceae family used by the local people or marketed by the herbalists. The Lamiaceae family is very important and particularly represented in Lebanon by 136 species belonging to 29 genera. The Lebanese rural community uses some of them for medicinal purposes. The most quoted genera in Lebanon are: Lavandula, Melissa, Mentha, Origanum, Rosmarinus, Salvia, Satureja and Thymus. In the present investigation, ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological researches of the traditional uses of Lamiaceae to cure several ailments were carried out in Lebanon. The data of our survey in the field were collected from 223 different cities and villages in the twenty-six districts “aqdya or qadaa” of the six governorates “mohaafazah” of Lebanon. The traditional knowledge on the medicinal uses of plants has been recorded directly on the basis of a detailed structured survey by several interviews with herbalists “Attarin or dabbous”, folk healers, older experienced and knowledgeable people and midwives “daye”. In all, 20 herbalists and 490 old people were interviewed. In this survey, 37 species of Lamiaceae of which two are endemic to Lebanon, currently used as medicinal or aromatic plants were collected and identified. Their Latin and vernacular names, folk medicinal uses and therapeutic properties, used parts of the plant, preparations and ways of administration are described.