Author(s): Pieroni A, Giusti ME, de Pasquale C, Lenzarini C, Censorii E,
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Abstract During the years 2003-2005, a comparative ethnobotanical field survey was conducted on remedies used in traditional animal healthcare in eight Mediterranean areas. The study sites were selected within the EU-funded RUBIA project, and were as follows: the upper Kelmend Province of Albania; the Capannori area in Eastern Tuscany and the Bagnocavallo area of Romagna, Italy; Cercle de Ouezanne, Morocco; Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche Natural Park in the province of Huelva, Spain; the St. Catherine area of the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt; Eastern and Western Crete, Greece; the Paphos and Larnaca areas of Cyprus; and the Mitidja area of Algeria.One hundred and thirty-six veterinary preparations and 110 plant taxa were recorded in the survey, with Asteraceae and Lamiaceae being the most quoted botanical families. For certain plant species the survey uncovered veterinary phytotherapeutical indications that were very uncommon, and to our knowledge never recorded before. These include Anabasis articulata (Chenopodiaceae), Cardopatium corymbosum (Asteraceae), Lilium martagon (Liliaceae), Dorycnium rectum (Fabaceae), Oenanthe pimpinelloides (Apiaceae), Origanum floribundum (Lamiaceae), Tuberaria lignosa (Cistaceae), and Dittrichia graveolens (Asteraceae). These phytotherapeutical indications are briefly discussed in this report, taking into account modern phytopharmacology and phytochemistry.The percentage of overall botanical veterinary taxa recorded in all the study areas was extremely low (8\%), however when all taxa belonging to the same botanical genus are considered, this portion increases to 17\%. Nevertheless, very few plant uses were found to be part of a presumed "Mediterranean" cultural heritage in veterinary practices, which raises critical questions about the concept of Mediterraneanism in ethnobotany and suggests that further discussion is required.Nearly the half of the recorded veterinary plant uses for mammals uncovered in this survey have also been recorded in the same areas in human folk medicine, suggesting a strong link between human and veterinary medical practices, and perhaps also suggesting the adaptive origins of a few medical practices. Since most of the recorded data concern remedies for treating cattle, sheep, goats, and camels, it would be interesting to test a few of the recorded phytotherapeuticals in the future, to see if they are indeed able to improve animal healthcare in breeding environments, or to raise the quality of dairy and meat products in the absence of classical, industrial, veterinary pharmaceuticals.
This article was published in J Ethnobiol Ethnomed
and referenced in Journal of Biodiversity, Bioprospecting and Development