Special Issue "Insights into Ethnobotanical Research: Linking Tradition, Innovation, and Sustainability"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ana Maria Carvalho
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Escola Superior Agrária (ESAB) & Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal
Interests: ethnobotany; agroecology; plant resources conservation; sustainability; innovation and rural development

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

In the last decades ethnobotanical research has received some attention. However many uses and practices linked to plants from all over the world are still unknown, not documented or evaluated. Such relevant and particular knowledge is facing different threats and on the brink of disappear.
This Special Issue will promote multidisciplinary approaches to applied plant science, focusing plants, environment, sustainable uses, and people (e.g., human interaction with plants, history, heritage, culture, sovereignty, and well-being), as well as linking traditional/local plant-use to innovation and sustainable development. We invite scientists and researchers to provide new insights into ethnobotanical research focusing on socio-cultural and multiple evidence bases for plant resource management and conservation, agricultural innovation, natural products research, and sustainable development

Prof. Dr. Ana Maria Carvalho
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)
  • Wild foods
  • Medicinal plants
  • Plant use dynamics
  • Natural products
  • Tradition vs. innovation

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
The Role of Botanical Families in Medicinal Ethnobotany: A Phylogenetic Perspective
Plants 2021, 10(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010163 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1634
Abstract
Studies suggesting that medicinal plants are not chosen at random are becoming more common. The goal of this work is to shed light on the role of botanical families in ethnobotany, depicting in a molecular phylogenetic frame the relationships between families and medicinal [...] Read more.
Studies suggesting that medicinal plants are not chosen at random are becoming more common. The goal of this work is to shed light on the role of botanical families in ethnobotany, depicting in a molecular phylogenetic frame the relationships between families and medicinal uses of vascular plants in several Catalan-speaking territories. The simple quantitative analyses for ailments categories and the construction of families and disorders matrix were carried out in this study. A Bayesian approach was used to estimate the over- and underused families in the medicinal flora. Phylogenetically informed analyses were carried out to identify lineages in which there is an overrepresentation of families in a given category of use, i.e., hot nodes. The ethnobotanicity index, at a specific level, was calculated and also adapted to the family level. Two diversity indices to measure the richness of reported taxa within each family were calculated. A total of 47,630 use reports were analysed. These uses are grouped in 120 botanical families. The ethnobotanicity index for this area is 14.44% and the ethnobotanicity index at the family level is 68.21%. The most-reported families are Lamiaceae and Asteraceae and the most reported troubles are disorders of the digestive and nutritional system. Based on the meta-analytic results, indicating hot nodes of useful plants at the phylogenetic level, specific ethnopharmacological research may be suggested, including a phytochemical approach of particularly interesting taxa. Full article
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Article
Antinociceptive Effect of an Aqueous Extract and Essential Oil from Baccharis heterophylla
Plants 2021, 10(1), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010116 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 811
Abstract
Infusions and poultices prepared from the aerial parts of Baccharis heterophylla Kunth (Asteraceae) are widely used in Oaxaca (Mexico) for relieving painful and inflammatory complaints. Therefore, the antinociceptive potential of an aqueous extract (31.6–316 mg/kg, p.o.) and essential oil (30–177 µg/paw, i.pl.) of [...] Read more.
Infusions and poultices prepared from the aerial parts of Baccharis heterophylla Kunth (Asteraceae) are widely used in Oaxaca (Mexico) for relieving painful and inflammatory complaints. Therefore, the antinociceptive potential of an aqueous extract (31.6–316 mg/kg, p.o.) and essential oil (30–177 µg/paw, i.pl.) of the plant was assessed using the formalin test. Both preparations inhibited the formalin-induced nociception response (100–316 mg/kg and 100–177 µg/paw, respectively) during the test’s second phase. Chemical analysis of the aqueous extract revealed that the major active components were chlorogenic acid (1), 3,4-di-O-(E)-caffeoylquinic acid (2), 3,5-di-O-(E)-caffeoylquinic acid (3), 4,5-di-O-(E)-caffeoylquinic acid (4), 3,5-di-O-(E)-caffeoylquinic acid methyl ester (5), apigenin (6), genkwanin (7), acacetin (8). Compounds 15 and 8 are new for B. heterophylla. A high-pressure liquid chromatographic method for quantifying chlorogenic acid (1) and di-caffeoylquinic acids 24 in the plant was developed and validated. Analyses of the essential oil and the headspace solid-phase microextraction products, via gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry, revealed that the major volatiles were β-pinene, myrcene, D-limonene, β-caryophyllene, and α-caryophyllene, which have demonstrated antinociceptive properties. Full article
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Article
Quantitative Ethnobotanical Study of Indigenous Knowledge on Medicinal Plants Used by the Tribal Communities of Gokand Valley, District Buner, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Plants 2020, 9(8), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9081001 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2042
Abstract
The current study on the traditional use of medicinal plants was carried out from February 2018 to March 2020, in Gokand Valley, District Buner, Pakistan. The goal was to collect, interpret, and evaluate data on the application of medicinal plants. Along with comprehensive [...] Read more.
The current study on the traditional use of medicinal plants was carried out from February 2018 to March 2020, in Gokand Valley, District Buner, Pakistan. The goal was to collect, interpret, and evaluate data on the application of medicinal plants. Along with comprehensive notes on individual plants species, we calculated Use Value (UV), Relative Frequency of Citation (RFC), Use Report (UR), Fidelity Level (FL), Informant Consensus Factor (FCI), as well as Family Importance Value (FIV). During the current study, a total of 109 species belonging to 64 families were reported to be used in the treatment of various ailments. It included three families (four species) of Pteridophytes, 58 families (99 species) of angiosperm, one family (three species) of Gymnosperms, and two families (three species) of fungi. The article highlights the significance of domestic consumption of plant resources to treat human ailments. The UV varied from 0.2 (Acorus calamus L.) to 0.89 (Acacia modesta Wall.). The RFC ranged from 0.059 (Acorus calamus L. and Convolvulus arvensis L.) to 0.285 (Acacia modesta Wall.). The species with 100% FL were Acacia modesta Wall. and the fungus Morchella esculenta Fr., while the FCI was documented from 0 to 0.45 for gastro-intestinal disorders. The conservation ranks of the medicinal plant species revealed that 28 plant species were vulnerable, followed by rare (25 spp.), infrequent (17 spp.), dominant (16 spp.), and 10 species endangered. The traditional use of plants needs conservation strategies and further investigation for better utilization of natural resources. Full article
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Article
Utilization Pattern of Indigenous and Naturalized Plants among Some Selected Rural Households of North West Province, South Africa
Plants 2020, 9(8), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9080953 - 28 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1207
Abstract
Globally, a substantial proportion of existing indigenous and naturalized foods are often neglected thereby narrowing the food-base available to humans. The current study explored the use and contribution of indigenous and naturalized plants to the households’ food-pool among 12 communities in the North [...] Read more.
Globally, a substantial proportion of existing indigenous and naturalized foods are often neglected thereby narrowing the food-base available to humans. The current study explored the use and contribution of indigenous and naturalized plants to the households’ food-pool among 12 communities in the North West Province of South Africa. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted among 133 rural households across the 12 selected communities from the four district municipalities in North West Province, South Africa. We analyzed the utilization patterns for 31 selected indigenous and naturalized plants (grains, fruits, and vegetables) among the 133 households using two ethnobotanical indices. In reference to the checklist of 31 plants, the sampled households utilize approximately 94% (29) as staple foods, beverages, fruits and fodder. Sorghum bicolor, Vigna unguiculata, Amaranthus sp., Sclerocarya birrea, Persea americana, and Mimusops zeyheri were among the top-six plants based on the Relative Frequency of Citation (RFC, 40–83%). In terms of the different crop-types, Sorghum bicolor (grain), Amaranthus sp. (vegetable), and Sclerocarya birrea (fruit) were the top-ranked plants based on the Species Popularity Index (SPI, 0.53–0.83) among the participants. Overall, there is a need for a renaissance of indigenous and naturalized plants, which has the potential to encourage rural farmers to further embrace the cultivation of these plants on a larger scale so as to enhance food security in the rural communities. Full article
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Article
Using ICPC-2 Standard to Identify Thai Zingiberaceae of Pharmacological Interest
Plants 2020, 9(7), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070906 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
The Economic Botany Data Collection Standard (EBDCS) is a widely used standard among ethnobotanists. However, this standard classifies ethnomedicinal uses into categories based on local peoples’ perception. It is difficult to apply in pharmacological research. The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC), now [...] Read more.
The Economic Botany Data Collection Standard (EBDCS) is a widely used standard among ethnobotanists. However, this standard classifies ethnomedicinal uses into categories based on local peoples’ perception. It is difficult to apply in pharmacological research. The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC), now updated to ICPC-2, is more related to medical terms, but is rarely used among ethnobotanists. This study aims to apply the ICPC-2 to classify metadata of the ethnomedicinal uses of Zingiberaceae plants in Thailand, in order to identify important medicinal taxa for future research. Data on the ethnomedicinal uses of Thai gingers were collected from 62 theses, journal articles, scientific reports and a book, published between 1990 and 2019. Scientific plant names were updated using The World Checklist of Vascular Plants (WCVP) website. Informant Consensus Factor (ICF) was used to identify the medicinal issues commonly treated with gingers, and the Cultural Importance Index (CI) was used to identify species that might have pharmacological potential. We found records of 76 ginger species with ethnomedicinal uses, and together they had 771 use reports. The gingers were commonly used for treatments related to digestive system conditions, particularly abdominal pain and flatulence. Gingers remain exceedingly important in Thai ethnomedicine, with a high number of useful species. They are used to treat a variety of health conditions, but most commonly such ones that are related to the digestive system. Apart from the popular studied ginger, Curcuma longa, we identified a number of other useful gingers in Thailand. Full article
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Article
Ethnomedicinal Plant Knowledge of the Karen in Thailand
Plants 2020, 9(7), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070813 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1141
Abstract
The Thai Karen, the largest hill-tribe in Thailand, guard substantial ethnomedicinal plant knowledge, as documented in several studies that targeted single villages. Here, we have compiled information from all the reliable and published sources to present a comprehensive overview of the Karen ethnomedicinal [...] Read more.
The Thai Karen, the largest hill-tribe in Thailand, guard substantial ethnomedicinal plant knowledge, as documented in several studies that targeted single villages. Here, we have compiled information from all the reliable and published sources to present a comprehensive overview of the Karen ethnomedicinal plant knowledge. Our dataset covers 31 Karen villages distributed over eight provinces in Thailand. We used the Cultural Importance Index (CI) to determine which species were the most valuable to the Karen and the Informant Consensus Factor (ICF) to evaluate how well distributed the knowledge of ethnomedicinal plants was in various medicinal use categories. In the 31 Karen villages, we found 3188 reports of ethnomedicinal plant uses of 732 species in 150 plant families. Chromolaena odorata, Biancaea sappan, and Tinospora crispa were the most important medicinal plants, with the highest CI values. The Leguminosae, Asteraceae, Zingiberaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, Acanthaceae, Apocynaceae, and Menispermaceae were the families with the highest CI values in the mentioned order. A high proportion of all the 3188 Karen use reports were used to treat digestive, general and unspecified, musculoskeletal, and skin disorders. Full article
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Article
Traditional Uses of Medicinal Plants by Ethnic People in the Kavrepalanchok District, Central Nepal
Plants 2020, 9(6), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060759 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1833
Abstract
In rural areas of Nepal, where it is difficult to get access to Government health care facilities, people depend on medicinal plants and local healers for health problems. This study concerns an ethnobotanical survey of the Kavrepalanchok District, reporting some unusual uses of [...] Read more.
In rural areas of Nepal, where it is difficult to get access to Government health care facilities, people depend on medicinal plants and local healers for health problems. This study concerns an ethnobotanical survey of the Kavrepalanchok District, reporting some unusual uses of medicinal plants and original recipes. A total of 32 informants were interviewed, 24 of them being key informants. Ethnobotanical uses concerned 116 taxa, of which 101 were medicinal plants, with the most representative species belonging to Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, and Zingiberaceae. Ethnobotanical indexes were used to evaluate the ethnopharmacological importance of each plant species and the degree of agreement among the informants’ knowledge. Informant consensus factor (Fic) showed that the fever category had the greatest agreement. Highest fidelity level (FL) values were found for Calotropis gigantea used for dermatological diseases, Drymaria cordata for fever, Mangifera indica and Wrightia arborea for gastrointestinal disorders. Data document the richness of the local flora and the traditional knowledge on medicinal plant species used by ethnic communities in rural areas. The active involvement of local populations in the conservation and management of medicinal plant species will encourage future projects for the sustainable development of the biological and cultural diversity of these rural areas of Nepal. Full article
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Article
Ethnobotanical Survey of Plants Used for Treating Cough Associated with Respiratory Conditions in Ede South Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria
Plants 2020, 9(5), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050647 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1313
Abstract
In many developing countries, community members depend on their local flora for treating diverse ailments including those affecting the respiratory system. This is often attributed to the high cost and limited access to health care facilities. This present study focused on the documentation [...] Read more.
In many developing countries, community members depend on their local flora for treating diverse ailments including those affecting the respiratory system. This is often attributed to the high cost and limited access to health care facilities. This present study focused on the documentation of plant species used against cough associated with the respiratory diseases in Ede South Local Government Area of Osun State. The survey was conducted using semi-structured interviews among 100 participants. Information obtained was analyzed using different ethno-botanical indices including relative frequency of citation (RFC) and fidelity level (FL). A total of 87 plant species from 39 families, which was mostly represented by Fabaceae, were reported in the study area. Crinum jagus was the most popular plant used against cough and approximately 32% of the plants have been reported as cough remedies for the first time. However, some of the documented plants have been reported for the treatment of cough and related respiratory diseases in several countries. In terms of the life-form, trees constituted the highest proportion of the medicinal plants (37%), while leaves (36%) were the predominant plant part prescribed for cough. Decoction was the main method of preparing the plants, which were all administered orally. Approximately 63% of the plants were exclusively sourced from the wild. The current study revealed the richness and widespread use of plant species for managing cough associated with respiratory diseases in the study area. The generated inventory contributes to the expanding database of valuable plant resources with medicinal potential in Nigeria and Africa. Full article
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Review

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Review
Understanding the Ethnobotany, Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Distribution of Genus Hydnora (Aristolochiaceae)
Plants 2021, 10(3), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030494 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
The genus Hydnora (Hydnoraceae) is one of the basal angiosperms in the order Piperales, found in the semi-arid regions of Africa, and the Southern Arabian Peninsula. Plants in this genus play essential roles in communities around the world as revealed by various studies. [...] Read more.
The genus Hydnora (Hydnoraceae) is one of the basal angiosperms in the order Piperales, found in the semi-arid regions of Africa, and the Southern Arabian Peninsula. Plants in this genus play essential roles in communities around the world as revealed by various studies. Currently, there are eight species of the genus Hydnora; seven in Africa and one in the Arabian Peninsula. Notably, Hydnora abyssinica A.Br. and Hydnora africana Thunb. are widely distributed compared to other species. They are widely used for their medicinal and nutritional values. The information on ethnobotany, chemistry, pharmacology, and distribution of genus Hydnora was gathered using phytochemical and ethnobotanical books, electronic sources, and published articles. Preliminary phytochemical screening shows that flavonoids, phenolics, proanthocyanidins, and tannins are the main compounds in H. abyssinica and H. africana. Furthermore, 11 compounds have been isolated from H. abyssinica. The biological activities of H. abyssinica and H. africana have been reported. They include antibacterial, antiproliferative, antioxidant, antidiarrhea, and antifungal potentials. Despite the Hydnora species being practiced in ancient folkloric medicine, their traditional uses and pharmacological value are poorly documented. Based on the available information on ethnobotany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and distribution, we aim to provide research gaps and challenges for a better understanding of this genus. This may be resourceful in the development of effective phytomedicines, and aid in conservation. The available studies on this genus on some aspects such as phytochemistry, pharmacological activities, and distribution are under-reported hence the need for further research. Full article
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Review
Potential Application of Some Lamiaceae Species in the Management of Diabetes
Plants 2021, 10(2), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020279 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 795
Abstract
Diabetes is one of the most dangerous metabolic disorders, with high rates of mortality worldwide. Since ancient times, medicinal plants have been used in traditional medicine to treat many diseases, including diabetes and its related complications. Plants are widely accepted, affordable, and perceived [...] Read more.
Diabetes is one of the most dangerous metabolic disorders, with high rates of mortality worldwide. Since ancient times, medicinal plants have been used in traditional medicine to treat many diseases, including diabetes and its related complications. Plants are widely accepted, affordable, and perceived to have minimal adverse side effects. The Lamiaceae family is a potential source of therapeutic agents for the management of metabolic disorders, including diabetes. Hence, this review paper summarizes the antidiabetic use of Lamiaceae species in folk medicine globally. Furthermore, we present the antidiabetic activities and phytochemical constituents of twenty-three (23) Lamiaceae species and the antidiabetic activity of some notable chemical constituents isolated from some of these Lamiaceae species. Full article
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Review
Dactylorhiza hatagirea (D. Don) Soo: A Critically Endangered Perennial Orchid from the North-West Himalayas
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1644; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121644 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 911
Abstract
Dactylorhiza hatagirea (Orchidaceae) is a perennial herb inhabiting sub-alpine to alpine regions, ranging at elevations between 2500 and 5000 m.a.s.l. With palmately lobed rhizome and lanceolate leaves having a sheathing leaf base, it bears pink flowers with purple-colored notches and a curved spur. [...] Read more.
Dactylorhiza hatagirea (Orchidaceae) is a perennial herb inhabiting sub-alpine to alpine regions, ranging at elevations between 2500 and 5000 m.a.s.l. With palmately lobed rhizome and lanceolate leaves having a sheathing leaf base, it bears pink flowers with purple-colored notches and a curved spur. It finds wide use in ayurveda, siddha, unani, and folk medicine in curing disorders of the circulatory, respiratory, nervous, digestive, skeletal, and reproductive systems, besides boosting the immune system to fight infectious diseases. Secondary metabolites such as dactylorhins A–E, dactyloses A–B, and others exhibit a wide spectrum of pharmacological activities (antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anticancer, and immune enhancing activities). Its use as a dietary supplement was found to be beneficial in increasing testosterone levels, resulting in improved sexual desire and arousal. Incessant overexploitation of this medicinally important herb has resulted in the dwindling of its populations in the wild, which has resulted in its classification as a critically endangered plant species. Efforts involving mass reproduction through in vitro (through tissue culture) and in vivo (by vegetative propagation) means are currently being made to maintain the germplasm of this critically endangered orchid. Holding immense significance in clinical research and drug discovery, work on the genomic front (transcriptomics) has recently been carried out to discover the wealth of unexplored genetic information for this perennial herb. The present study is aimed at reviewing different aspects of the orchid to present collective (summarized) information on this medicinally important herb in the present, particularly its botany, ethnobotanical uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacognosy, along with the strategies that need to be adopted to prevent its overexploitation in natural habitats. Full article
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Review
Exploring the Resource Value of Transvaal Red Milk Wood (Mimusops zeyheri) for Food Security and Sustainability: An Appraisal of Existing Evidence
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111486 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
Many African countries are endowed with rich biodiversity with enormous nutritional and economic prospects, but the majority of these resources are not fully harnessed. Exploring these neglected resources, for example, the Transvaal red milkwood tree [(Mimusops zeyheri) Sond. family: Sapotaceae] is [...] Read more.
Many African countries are endowed with rich biodiversity with enormous nutritional and economic prospects, but the majority of these resources are not fully harnessed. Exploring these neglected resources, for example, the Transvaal red milkwood tree [(Mimusops zeyheri) Sond. family: Sapotaceae] is of paramount importance for food and nutritional security as well as economic prosperity. This review provides a critical appraisal of the nutritional and health benefits as well as the economic potential of Mimusops zeyheri. The plant is known for its diverse uses among rural communities. In folk medicine, the decoction from the bark and leaves of Mimusops zeyheri are used for treating wounds and ulcers, while the root is used as an infusion taken to treat candidiasis and other health issues. The nutritional profile of the fruit tree is similar to popular exotic fruits and richer in vitamin C when compared to guava and orange. Mimusops zeyheri is a rich source of vitamins, protein, and fatty acids. Based on the rich chemical pool, especially in the fruit and seeds, it has the potential to provide an accessible, readily available, and affordable enriched functional food with valuable health benefits. However, the successful exploration of Mimusopszeyheri for food security and sustainability requires multidisciplinary research. This will help achieve the envisaged food-nutrition security and poverty alleviation potential of the plant, especially among local communities. Full article
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