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An ethnomedicinal survey of a Tashelhit-speaking community in the High Atlas, Morocco

Teixidor Toneu, I., Martin, G. J., Ouhammou, A., Puri, R. K. and Hawkins, J. A. ORCID: (2016) An ethnomedicinal survey of a Tashelhit-speaking community in the High Atlas, Morocco. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 188. pp. 96-110. ISSN 0378-8741

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.05.009


Traditional knowledge about medicinal plants from a poorly studied region, the High Atlas in Morocco, is reported here for the first time; this permits consideration of efficacy and safety of current practices whilst highlighting species previously not known to have traditional medicinal use. Our study aims to document local medicinal plant knowledge among Tashelhit speaking communities through ethnobotanical survey, identifying preferred species and new medicinal plant citations and illuminating the relationship between emic and etic ailment classifications. Ethnobotanical data were collected using standard methods and with prior informed consent obtained before all interactions, data were characterized using descriptive indices and medicinal plants and healing strategies relevant to local livelihoods were identified. 151 vernacular names corresponding to 159 botanical species were found to be used to treat 36 folk ailments grouped in 14 biomedical use categories. Thirty-five (22%) are new medicinal plant records in Morocco, and 26 described as used for the first time anywhere. Fidelity levels (FL) revealed low specificity in plant use, particularly for the most commonly reported plants. Most plants are used in mixtures. Plant use is driven by local concepts of disease, including “hot” and “cold” classification and beliefs in supernatural forces. Local medicinal plant knowledge is rich in the High Atlas, where local populations still rely on medicinal plants for healthcare. We found experimental evidence of safe and effective use of medicinal plants in the High Atlas; but we highlight the use of eight poisonous species.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:65608


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