Ethnobotanical study in the Madonie Regional Park (Central Sicily,Italy)—Medicinal use of wild shrub and herbaceous plant species

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Ethnopharmacological relevance: This paper illustrates the results of an ethnobotanical study carried outin the Madonie Regional Park (Central Sicily, Italy). It specifies the medicinal uses of plants in the studyarea and contains the results of a quantitative analysis carried out for the first time in an area noted forits high degree of biodiversity. It also introduces 28 species not previously accounted for in the area ofstudy for their medicinal uses, highlighting Silene flos-cuculi L. Greuter & Burdet, little known asmedicinal in the Mediterranean area.Aim of the study: To understand to what extent current knowledge on medicinal-use plants is still anelement of the culture within the elderly population of the Madonie Regional Park.Methodology: The information was obtained using a semi-structured interview format performed on150 informants over the age of 60 who were considered experts in plants and rural traditions. The taxawere identified and the results were analysed also using a range of quantitative ethnobotanical indices.Results: A census was made of 174 wild plant species, 100 of which with medicinal and veterinary uses,belonging to 49 botanical families. Of the 170 endemic species found in the Madonie Regional Park,only 2 species were cited in this study for medicinal purposes. Most of the species were used againstdermatological diseases, general health and metabolic disorders. The leaves were the most-used partsof the plant and the most common preparation methods were decoction and infusion. The level ofknowledge on medicinal uses of the plants was not found to be high within the elderly population,demonstrating an ongoing process of cultural erosion.Conclusions: Only very few medicinal uses are widely known by all the informants and, on manyoccasions, a specific medicinal use was cited by only very few people. Further study is required in orderto find out to what extent knowledge on the medicinal use of plants is still present in the youngergenerations in this area of Sicily, and what methods might be adopted in order to halt this gradual lossin knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-112
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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